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All Things Roman (History)
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Wile E. Coyote


In: Arizona
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If a Roman wanted to get from Winchester to Cirencester they would take the Chute Causeway, the road is the shape of an irregular semi circle. The argument is that it was Roman, so was straighter in parts than it would have been. That is horseshit, it is the shape of a horseshoe.
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Mick Harper
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In: London
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For there is good news yet to hear and fine things to be seen,
Before we go to Paradise by way of Kensal Green.

The reference is to Kensal Green, my local cemetery! In general Chesterton's poem echoes some posts I made about and as a precursor to The Megalithic Empire. It arose from the bus route from Dorchester to my mum's cottage in Winterbourne Abbas (that went all round the houses) as opposed to the direct route which is pretty straight (and probably based on the turnpike road but now the A35). However, on the direct route, at a certain point, the main road curves round a hill but the 'old' road continues as a cart track straight as a die up the hill (and probably down dale, I've never looked). All this led to the theory set out in The Megalithic Empire.

Where Roman roads come into all this we never quite worked out although Dorchester is itself a main Roman centre. Not as central as Maiden Castle, just outside Dorchester, is to Megalithia, but the coincidence is presumably not accidental.
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Wile E. Coyote


In: Arizona
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Theoretical Structural Archaeology is running videos on Hadrian's wall.

Lots of independent original thought on the archaeology. History is taken as given.

http://structuralarchaeology.blogspot.com/
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Wile E. Coyote


In: Arizona
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It is a bit surprising that King Offa, given his military stature, connections with Europe, currency reforms etc, did not appear to see or hear about the value of military roads. He was fixated by a earlier earthen barrier defensive mentality. So we are led to believe.
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Mick Harper
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In: London
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I was impressed with this Geoff Carter chap, Wiley. The first YouTube is especially good, the second one a bit technically obtuse and the denouement Part 3 seems not to be available yet so I still don't know what his theory is. The part about the ditch being an unfinished Roman road is ingenious but obviously wrong -- nobody digs a hundred miles of trench and then decides to give up on it but doesn't fill the ditch in. Though I suppose it would have been useful in preventing drunken soldiers roaming off into the night. I regret this because a Roman Road from Newcastle to Carlisle could be for no other purpose than my theory -- to facilitate an intensive coast-to-coast transit trade. Nobody wants to go to Newcastle or Carlisle for their own sake, and definitely not both. Unless Carlisle get into the Premiership.

He's very disappointing about the Stanegate unless that features in Part 3. He did emphasise the difference between pack animals and wheeled transport which is a first in my experience for any writer about the ancient(ish) past. Speaking of which he is very sound on the primacy of archaeology over history when history is scarce -- though he is very trusting when it comes to Roman history. As you say, he's a bit orthodox for our tastes but he's certainly got the same enemies as we have, which puts us on the same side. Even if he might shudder to think so.
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Wile E. Coyote


In: Arizona
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Mick Harper wrote:
He did emphasise the difference between pack animals and wheeled transport which is a first in my experience for any writer about the ancient(ish) past.


Presumably you are writing, and he was talking of gradients/straightness.

Another factor is that folks settle close to water sources, on dry ground.

Soldiers/travellers/mules move along the shortest route carrying their water with them.
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Wile E. Coyote


In: Arizona
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He's very disappointing about the Stanegate unless that features in Part 3


Folks do prefer the military stuff.

Wiley is taking a look at the aqueducts. Alongside Aesica there was a six mile long Roman aqueduct used to supply water to the fort. There were also Roman aqueducts in the region at South Shields, Chester-le-Street and at Lanchester.

I haven't forgotten Frontinus.


https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Frontinus#De_aquaeductu
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Mick Harper
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Presumably you are writing, and he was talking of gradients/ straightness.

No, except indirectly. One needs roads, the other doesn't. It's a critical distinction that archaeo's and historians never recognise.

Another factor is that folks settle close to water sources, on dry ground.

I've never heard this one before, leastways not in Britain where everywhere's dry land and you can get water any which way.

Soldiers/travellers/mules move along the shortest route

You must be joking. They move along the best route, the easiest route, which might (wonders will never cease) occasionally be the shortest route. Romney Marsh maybe.

carrying their water with them.

You must be joking. They wouldn't be able to carry anything else! I suppose you might have a canteen with a bit of wine to wet your whistle but otherwise you (and Muffin) drink when you get there or at a pitstop along the way.

He's very disappointing about the Stanegate unless that features in Part 3
Folks do prefer the military stuff.

Yes, he shares this general delusion. Imagine a History of Britain (AD 1500 - 2000) which was ninety-five per cent about Catterick and Aldershot.

Wiley is taking a look at the aqueducts. Alongside Aesica there was a six mile long Roman aqueduct used to supply water to the fort.

You must be joking. Who builds a six mile aqueduct to supply a fort?

There were also Roman aqueducts in the region at South Shields, Chester-le-Street and at Lanchester.

You might do to supply towns but I find it very surprising. Unless these places had special reasons for needing water over and above.

I haven't forgotten Frontinus.

Thank God for that. I'd forgotten all about her.
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Wile E. Coyote


In: Arizona
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You must be joking. They move along the best route, the easiest route, which might (wonders will never cease) occasionally be the shortest route. Romney Marsh maybe.


Difficult to argue against the best.

Major William Caulfeild wrote:


‘Had you seen these roads before they were made, You would lift up your hands and bless General Wade!’
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Mick Harper
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In: London
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A case in point. I doubt if there was anything that we would call 'a road' north of Perth before Wade. There would be drovers' routes since fattening cattle for the lowland markets was a cash crop. (Interested to hear what came back, and how.) Drovers' routes can involve a bit of engineering but the need (up slopes with steps, across bogs with corduroy) would probably not appeal to a road surveyor who would probably take the long way round. Nevertheless, these roads would follow the general line of drovers' routes, with a bit of straightening out. Especially with the power to insist on it where necessary cf the railways. But not, I would have thought, 'straight' for any distance.
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Hatty
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In: Berkshire
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If a Roman wanted to get from Winchester to Cirencester they would take the Chute Causeway

Not sure if it's significant but a straight line between Winchester and Cirencester, according to Google Earth, goes through Mildenhall and Ogbourne St George (the only village on the Ridgeway).
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Hatty
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In: Berkshire
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I've happened to take the M4 turn-off to Ogbourne St George and it's a dead straight road until it gets to OSG at which point it suddenly turns into a normal bendy road.

But the map shows the road continuing as a trackway, heading straight as a die to Mildenhall. The straight bit is labelled 'Roman road'. The trackway is just a dotted green line.
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Wile E. Coyote


In: Arizona
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Bits of aqueducts appear there.

https://bit.ly/2MLN5BW

Would a archaeologist know the difference between a road bed and a siphon aqueduct?

https://bit.ly/2MLNmVt
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Wile E. Coyote


In: Arizona
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Frontinus' De Aquaeductu, provides not just a overview of the various Roman aqueducts..... it is in part a circular history of Rome as seen through the supply of water. Roma regina aquarum.
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Wile E. Coyote


In: Arizona
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Of course De Aquaeductu might have been written by a Charles Bertram in which case this a false trail.
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