Excavations carried out at Tarmac?s Bayston Hill Quarry, in Shropshire, by environmental consultants SLR suggest that the Romans may have used existing roads engineered by Iron Age Britons.
The find at the quarry shows that a metalled, cambered roadway was constructed in the first century BC, 100 years before Emperor Claudius sent Roman legions to conquer Britain. The road is more than 1.5m high and 6m wide, and was constructed in three phases and surfaced with imported river cobbles. So far, 400m of road has been unearthed and it is thought that it may have connected the capital of the Cornovian tribe at the Wrekin with the Old Oswestry hill fort near Oswestry.
?The age and location of this find suggests that Iron Age Britons were sophisticated road engineers in their own right and had developed the technological expertise to build sophisticated all-weather roadways for wheeled traffic,? said Tim Malim, who directed the SLR archaeology team.
Tarmac estates manager Malcolm Lawer declared the find ?an exciting discovery? which ?may change the accepted view that the Romans built the earliest roads in Britain?. He added that it also provided ?a fitting continuity with the ancient past?, as the high quality stone currently being extracted at Bayston Hill is used in roads and motorways across the UK, as well as in Grand Prix circuits such as Bahrain and Abu Dhabi.