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A sophisticated Roman town once home to wealthy settlers has been discovered underneath Britain's longest road.

Archaeologists found a treasure trove of objects including shoes, pens and ink and even coin factories at the ancient site.

The 2,000-year-old town was found in North Yorkshire by construction workers rebuilding the A1, the long road that connects London to Edinburgh.

Sophisticated 2,000-year-old Roman settlement is discovered underneath Britain's longest road


Objects found include Roman shoes, keys, pens and ink and an amber figurine

Team also found the most northerly-located Roman coin factories in Europe

Wealthy settlement was found under the A1 at Scotch Corner in North Yorkshire


By Daisy Dunne For Mailonline
7 April 2017

A sophisticated Roman town once home to wealthy settlers has been discovered underneath Britain's longest road.

Archaeologists found a treasure trove of objects including shoes, pens and ink and even coin factories at the ancient site.

The 2,000-year-old town was found in North Yorkshire by construction workers rebuilding the A1, the long road that connects London to Edinburgh.


A silver ring shaped like a snake which was found at the settlement discovered underneath the A1, the longest road in Britain

The finds hint at a far more sophisticated industrial centre in Yorkshire than had previously been known to scientists.

They also point to wealthy citizens having lived in the area, researchers said.

Neil Redfern, principal inspector of ancient monuments at Historic England, said: 'The sheer amount of exceptional objects found on this road scheme has been extraordinary.

'Through them we are learning more and more about life here in the Roman period.


A number of well-preserved Roman leather shoes (pictured) have been found in Catterick, a town south of Scotch Corner known by the Romans as Cataractonium

'This project has given us a unique opportunity to understand how the Romans conducted their military expansion into Northern England and how civil life changed under their control.'

The settlement was unearthed at the Scotch Corner highway in North Yorkshire and pre-dates other Roman towns in York and Carlisle by 10 years.

A number of well-preserved artefacts were also found in Catterick, a town south of Scotch Corner known by the Romans as Cataractonium.

The settlement was unusually large for the north of England, stretching just under a mile from north to south - roughly the size of 13 football pitches positioned end to end.


The figure of a toga-clad actor carved from a block of amber which was recently found at Scotch Corner. Nothing like this has ever before been found in the UK


A rusted key found at the site, which is believed to have been the home of wealthy Roman settlers

The finds uncovered at the site, from broaches to gaming counters, suggest the people who lived here were wealthy, the researchers said.

The settlement seems to have only been occupied for a short period, perhaps no more than 20-30 years.

Highways England project manager Tom Howard said: 'Throughout this project we have been working alongside archaeologists as we make this major improvement to one of the UK's most historic roads.


Archaeologists working on a well preserved section of the Roman road. Since these excavations began in 2014, archaeologists have discovered thousands of artefacts

'It is fascinating to discover that nearly 2,000 years ago the Romans were using the A1 route as a major road of strategic importance and using the very latest technological innovations from that period to construct the original road – the very same thing that Highways England is doing today.'

Works to upgrade the A1 through Yorkshire over the last 20 years have resulted in more than 60 miles of the road being investigated by archaeologists, from Ferrybridge near Leeds up to Piercebridge.

Since these excavations began in 2014, a team of around 60 archaeologists has discovered thousands of artefacts from a range of different periods, demonstrating that this area has been part of England’s story for thousands of years.


The settlement was unearthed at the Scotch Corner highway in North Yorkshire and pre-dates other Roman towns in York and Carlisle by 10 years


At 410 miles long, the A1, linking London and Edinburgh, is Britain's longest road


TOP SEVEN DISCOVERIES

1. Amber carving: The figure of a toga-clad actor carved from a block of amber was recently found at Scotch Corner. Thought to have been made in Italy during the 1st century AD, a similar example was also found at Pompeii. Nothing like this has ever before been found in the UK.

Its presence at Scotch Corner, along with a large number of other high status imported items suggests this was an early site furnished with the finest Roman goods.

2. Coin Workshops: Workshops for making gold, silver and copper coins found near Scotch Corner represent the most northerly example of coin production ever found in Europe.

They demonstrate that the Romans were carrying out significant industrial activity in this part of England and potentially producing coins of high value.


3. Roman shoes: A number of well-preserved Roman leather shoes have been found in Catterick, a town south of Scotch Corner known by the Romans as Cataractonium.

Large sheets of leather have also been found in the town, perhaps used for producing clothes, indicating that the town was an important leatherworking centre possibly supporting the Roman military.


4. Roman keys: Many keys have been found at Catterick, from small keys on rings to larger ones for lifting latches.

The amount found is unusual for a northern suburb, suggesting people who lived in the town were conscious of protecting their valuable possessions.


5. Silver ring: A silver ring shaped like a snake which wraps around the finger has also been found in Catterick.

This is a rare find and like the amber figure, it hints at the great wealth of the people who lived here.


6. Pen and inkpot: A pewter inkpot and a number of styli, Roman pens, have also been discovered at Catterick, telling us that the town was a key administrative centre.

The sheer amount of pens found suggests that a significant proportion of the population were able to read and write.


7. Lead plumb bob: A lead plumb bob from Cataractonium gives us evidence for construction methods used within the town and was perhaps even used in the construction of Dere Street and other Roman roads at the site, giving us a fantastic insight into the engineering technologies of the time.


Source: Historic England


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Last edited by Blackleaf; 2 weeks ago at 06:18 AM..