Our current research phase sees us investigate the Roman road between Southwell and Osmanthorpe Fort, near Kirklington. We are conducting fieldwalking and geophysics, kindly supported by a grant from the Nineveh Trust, in fields adjacent to the road, and have already recovered lots of Roman pottery.
Our wider research has suggested that the road (which runs southwards to Ad Pontem Fort) continues northwards to Bilsthorpe and beyond, eventually leading to Gleadthorpe Camp near Warsop. This is contrary to previous beliefs, which suggested the road reached Osmanthorpe and then veered westwards and lead to Farnsfield Camp.
However, to further support our belief that the road continued to the north (as opposed to running to the west) we have been examining the 1978 excavations that took place at Farnsfield Camp (see Transactions of the Thoroton Society, Volume 86, 1982), which identified the bank and ditch earthworks of the camp and two terminals that formed the entrance. Interestingly, this aligned perfectly with the modern road, suggesting it still lies on the same route as the Roman road almost 2000 years previously!
Figure One: Plan of the 1978 excavations at Farnsfield Roman Camp, showing earthwork defences and entrance that aligns with the modern road to Farnsfield. The entrance terminals can be seen in Trenches 1 & 2. (Source: Transactions, Vol. 86, 1982)
With this in mind, it becomes clear that the alignment out towards Osmanthorpe (the previously projected line of the Roman road) is completely wrong. Instead, both roads lead directly to Hexgreave Park (where a Roman lead ingot was recovered many years ago as an isolated find), where they would in fact converge.
So, it seems we may have another target for future research! This is another example of how the Roman Southwell Community Project is changing what we know about the Roman landscape of the region.
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Figure Two: Aerial view showing Farnsfield Camp plan in the landscape (top left) and a close-up of how the profile fits the modern road layout (bottom left). Viewed in the wider landscape, it can be seen that both roads are leading towards Hexgreave Park (©MBArchaeology, 2016)