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Two sections of Roman road on Barrow Hill and Corfe Hills

A Scheduled Monument in Corfe Mullen, Dorset

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Coordinates

Latitude: 50.7751 / 50°46'30"N

Longitude: -2.01 / 2°0'35"W

OS Eastings: 399390.685116

OS Northings: 97283.055384

OS Grid: SY993972

Mapcode National: GBR 31Z.8NG

Mapcode Global: FRA 67P1.6RX

Entry Name: Two sections of Roman road on Barrow Hill and Corfe Hills

Scheduled Date: 23 February 1962

Last Amended: 24 July 1998

Source: Historic England

Source ID: 1018195

English Heritage Legacy ID: 29587

County: Dorset

Civil Parish: Corfe Mullen

Built-Up Area: Poole

Traditional County: Dorset

Lieutenancy Area (Ceremonial County): Dorset

Church of England Parish: Canford Magna

Church of England Diocese: Salisbury

Details

The monument includes two separate sections of Roman road, 500m apart, on
Barrow Hill and Corfe Hills, part of the road from Poole Harbour (Hamworthy)
to Badbury Rings. In the post Roman period the parish boundary between the
Borough of Poole and the parish of Corfe Mullen followed the line of the road
on its western side.
For the majority of its course within this scheduling the Roman road survives
as a raised agger (embanked road), 8m wide and rising to a maximum height of
0.5m above the surrounding ground level, flanked by `V'-profiled drainage
ditches on each side 2m wide, clearly visible in places as a depression up to
0.6m deep. In other places over the years the ditches have silted up and the
western ditch has been covered by a trackway, but they will survive as buried
features. In parts of the northern section, on Barrow Hill, there is a bank on
the eastern edge of the ditch, up to 2m wide and 0.4m high. The northern
section survives as an earthwork where it crosses a ridge of high ground
disappearing at both ends as it descends into valleys. The road has been
truncated by trackways and fences in several places and the southern end has
been disturbed by quarrying. In the southern section, on Corfe Hills, while
the agger is well preserved, the flanking ditches are not clearly visible but
will survive as buried features. The earthwork of this section disappears at
its northern end, where it descends into a valley and at its southern end it
has been destroyed by the construction of housing and roads.
The parish boundary is marked by a bank and adjacent track running parallel to
the Roman road on its western side. These features are not included in the
scheduling.
All fence posts, the surfaces of tracks and paths, the telegraph pole and a
man hole are excluded from the scheduling, although the ground beneath these
features is included.

MAP EXTRACT
The site of the monument is shown on the attached map extract.
It includes a 2 metre boundary around the archaeological features,
considered to be essential for the monument's support and preservation.

Source: Historic England

Reasons for Scheduling

Roman roads were artificially made-up routes introduced to Britain by the
Roman army from c.AD 43. They facilitated both the conquest of the province
and its subsequent administration. Their main purpose was to serve the Cursus
Publicus, or Imperial mail service. Express messengers could travel up to 150
miles per day on the network of Roman roads throughout Britain and Europe,
changing horses at wayside 'mutationes' (posting stations set every 8 miles on
major roads) and stopping overnight at 'mansiones' (rest houses located every
20-25 miles). In addition, throughout the Roman period and later, Roman roads
acted as commercial routes and became foci for settlement and industry.
Mausolea were sometimes built flanking roads during the Roman period while, in
the Anglian and medieval periods, Roman roads often served as property
boundaries. Although a number of roads fell out of use soon after the
withdrawal of Rome from the province in the fifth century AD, many have
continued in use down to the present day and are consequently sealed beneath
modern roads.
On the basis of construction technique, two main types of Roman road are
distinguishable. The first has widely spaced boundary ditches and a broad
elaborate agger comprising several layers of graded materials. The second
usually has drainage ditches and a narrow simple agger of two or three
successive layers. In addition to ditches and construction pits flanking the
sides of the road, features of Roman roads can include central stone ribs,
kerbs and culverts, not all of which will necessarily be contemporary with the
original construction of the road. With the exception of the extreme south-
west of the country, Roman roads are widely distributed throughout England and
extend into Wales and lowland Scotland. They are highly representative of the
period of Roman administration and provide important evidence of Roman civil
engineering skills as well as the pattern of Roman conquest and settlement. A
high proportion of examples exhibiting good survival are considered to be
worthy of protection.

The sections of Roman road on Barrow Hill and Corfe Hills represent a well
preserved example of this monument. The road will contain archaeological
deposits providing information about its construction, contemporary and
subsequent use and associated environment.

Source: Historic England

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