Wednesday, 18 July 2012

The Maiden Way Roman Road at Whitley Castle

In July 2011, over a period of nine days, a group of keen Altogether Archaeology volunteers excavated three sections of the Maiden Way Roman Road which lies immediately to the south-east of Whitley Castle Roman Fort near Alston in Cumbria, under the supervision of NP Archaeology Ltd in consultation with the AONB and English Heritage.

The three trenches were located on unscheduled land and therefore were not subject to Ancient Monument consent.

A great time was had by all despite the fact that it rained and rained almost relentlessly.  On occasions it was necessary to pump water out of the trenches each morning before the dig could continue but spirits certainly weren’t dampened as everyone was keen to see what was to be found.

All three trenches contained archaeological features in the form of metalled road surfaces on the line of the Maiden Way.  It was revealed that there were different forms of road construction in various states of preservation.  The road in Trench 2 had the remains of an earth bank and a large ditch on its western edge.  Crossing the ditch and cutting through the bank was a stone delineated track way.  No Roman material culture was recovered from the evaluation, all the finds being ascribed to a post medieval date, which could relate to the later re-use of the road.

It is hoped that as more funding becomes available there may be further opportunity to continue the work on The Maiden Way but in the meantime it can be said that this was a very interesting nine days which was enjoyed by all who took part.


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