Roman roads are the backbone of British history. This book examines the questions that never seem to be asked about Roman roads. Whilst new routes are traced and theories propounded about how they were surveyed, the important issues like Why? and When? have been neglected. How does an animal track turn into a major military highway? Were there any roads in the prehistoric period? How the Romans built their roads is assessed using comparative information (such as the detailed 18th-century records of Highland military road construction). The way the system functioned is examined and most particularly the often-ignored point of how it developed and changed in the Roman period. Change is a theme pursued for the early medieval period, as the importance of some parts of the system ensured their continuation whilst others were abandoned. What processes preserved a road, and what made it decay? Finally the book looks at the legacy of Roman roads now and the way in which they have been viewed and studied in recent times is considered.
The book can be purchased from all worthwhile bookshops (thereby making it easy for you to determine which ones are a waste of space) or online from Pen and Sword or from Amazon and the Book Depository.
This lively and though-provoking read instills a new appreciation of the wheels of history.
Bishop provides interesting insights into the peculiar world of Roman road studies in Britain. He demonstrates that our knowledge about the number, location, form and use of Roman roads in Britain is fare more fragmentary than we might like to believe.
A useful volume which pulls together many disparate threads and which provides the basis for a new phase of study.
The book is richly illustrated throughout with black and white photos, pen and ink maps and line drawings. The maps and line drawings are especially informative and sync well with the text.
The book is a valuable resource for anyone with a serious interest in British history from Roman times through the Middle Ages and beyond.
M. C. Bishop, The Secret History of the Roman Roads of Britain, Pen & Sword, Hbk 210+xiv pp ISBN 9781848846159
Page last updated 18th August 2016