30 June 2021

the Roman road

 When I had attended an online lecture about the archaeology of the Carneddau, there was also a lecture chat. Nothing interesting was happening there. However; towards the end of the lecture I suddenly realised there were two chat channels; one for general issues, and one for questions about the content. And I did have a question about the content! At the end, one of the speakers skipped over a slide because he had run out of time, but it looks really interesting. He was just talking about the Roman Road, and there clearly was something interesting to see in this direct environment. But what? By the time I had realised there was a chat for this sort of questions, he was done, thanked everybody, and closed the call. Too late for my question!

This same speaker was one of the leaders of the archaeology walk some two weeks later. And at some point I found myself walking downhill with him. I saw my chance! I reminded him of that one slide he had skipped over. Fortunately, he knew what I was talking about. So now I got a private mini-lecture about that very slide! It turned out that there are very old field enclosures in that area, and that the Roman Road cut straight through it. I thought it was hilarious and bitter at the same time! On the one hand, it is a nice confirmation of the cliché that the Romans were ruthlessly efficient engineers. If you want a road between A and B, you draw a straight line and follow it, whatever is in the way. But on the other hand; imagine you are some poor Welsh farmer, squeezing a living out of the land with difficulty (and if you don't believe me; go there), and then some huge army comes along and thrashes your farm. They wouldn't have paid much attention to any protestations.

I wanted to illustrate this post with a screenshot from Google Maps or Zoom Earth or something like that, but if there is a way of moving sideways (or any other direction) in there without using your hands, I haven't found out what it is. And I am not going to compromise my arms for this. So if you want to look it up: I suppose that what I refer to here is "the Roman Road" is a stretch of ancient road between a parking lot on the ESE outskirts of Abergwyngregyn and the remotest parking lot west of Rowen. I suppose it's best to look at the zoom Earth images as they have higher resolution than those of Google Maps, and I suppose you need all the resolution you can get. It would be cool to find exactly what he was talking about. As soon as my arms are better I will have a look myself!

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