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Background Information and Progress Reports

1994

THE BIRMINGHAM ROMAN ROADS PROJECT
BIRMINGHAM, Selly Park Recreation Ground (SP 053 324)

1995

BIRMINGHAM, Edgbaston (SP 0479 8475)
BIRMINGHAM, Metchley Roman Fort (SP 042 836)
BIRMINGHAM, Selly Park Recreation Ground (SP 053 824)

1996

BIRMINGHAM, Selly Park Recreation Ground (SP 053 824; SMR 20428120352)
BIRMINGHAM, Wood Brook (SP 034 815)
SUTTON COLDFIELD, Sutton Park (SP 088986; SMR 02006)

1997

BIRMINGHAM, Aerial Survey
BIRMINGHAM, Holford (SP 074 920)
BIRMINGHAM, Moseley Bog Burnt Mound (SP 093 820; SMR 02263)
BIRMINGHAM, Selly Park Recreation Ground (SP 053 824; SMR 20428120352) and Elmdon Road Playing Fields (SP 052 828)

1998

BIRMINGHAM, Aerial Survey
BIRMINGHAM, Selly Park Recreation Ground (SP 053 824; SMR 20428/20352)
LICKEY HILLS, Rose Hill (SO 994 753-SO 995 757)

1999

Lickey, Rose Hill (SO 994 753-SO 995 757)

From "West Midlands Archaeology" issue 37, 1994, page 9.

THE BIRMINGHAM ROMAN ROADS PROJECT

Peter Leather
School of Continuing Studies
University of Birmingham

The Birmingham Roman Roads Project began in Spring 1994 as an adult education class of the University of Birmingham School of Continuing Studies. Members of the class were invited to join a project team investigating the course of Roman roads crossing the City of Birmingham. The problem is that the medieval core of Birmingham, represented by the present-day city centre, has been the focus of local roads for at least 800 years and possibly much longer. Consequently, the preceding Roman roads, which had other destinations, have been out of use for a very long time. This can of course be a good thing - witness the surviving road in Sutton Park - but elsewhere in the city it has led to the total obliteration of the old line. Roman roads approaching the city from the north (Wall), south (Alcester) and south-west (Droitwich) can be traced up to and, in some cases, across the city limits, but are then superseded by medieval and post-medieval routes into the city centre. Linking up these known roads is the first task to be undertaken by the Project.

There is no shortage of theories about how this might be done, as the problem has exercised the minds of local historians since the days of William Hutton, who wrote the first History of Birmingham (1783). Indeed, Hutton's shadow has loomed large over the subject with his views accepted as gospel well into this century. It was on his authority that Icknield Street in Hockley received its name in the 19th century, leading to many modern misconceptions that this must be the ancient line. The present orthodoxy, as represented in general works such as Margary (1973), is largely based on Walker's refutation of Hutton (1936), arguing for a straighter and more topographically correct route. However, Walker, like Hutton before him, was concentrating on only one road - that from Alcester to Wall - which, for little understood reasons which may boil down to no more than historical accident, has received the unifying name Icknield or Ricknield Street. Both ignore the arguably more significant route from the south-west with its links along the Severn Valley to Droitwich, Worcester and Gloucester. The primacy or otherwise of this route is clearly significant to the question of its junction with the "Ricknield Street" roads from Alcester and Wall.

Fieldwork by Whitehouse (1959) established the line of the Droitwich road as it approached the Rose Hill gap in the Lickey Hills. Later attempts to find it farther north along its presumed line following the Bristol Road led to the discovery and sectioning of a possible road surface between Swarthmore and Bryony Roads in Weoley Hill (Hetherington and Whitehouse 1966-67). This seemed to be heading in an unexpected direction (see below). The key point in the coming together of these three roads must be the fort at Metchley, established in the 40s AD and occupied on and off until the 1 20s (Rowley 1969). During this period it provides the sole known focus and raison d'Ítre of the local road network. While this does not necessarily mean that the roads must be heading straight for it, they must certainly respect it. What, if anything, fulfilled this focal role after abandonment of the fort remains unknown. There is no evidence as yet of avicus developing into a civilian settlement or the presence of any other settlement nearby. Pottery kilns at Perry Barr and Mere Green do not in themselves prove the existence of associated settlements (although there is a long tradition of a Roman site at the Tame crossing in Perry Barr), while the occupation site at Parsons Hill seems more dependent on the adjacent road than vice versa. The Roman building found beneath the medieval castle at Castle Bromwich (just outside the city) may indicate that in Roman as in medieval times this was an important crossing point of the Tame. This is hardly an impressive catalogue of sites when it comes to considering the post-Metchley development of the area and its road network - it might simply be argued that any roads which survived were simply "passing through" - but the lesson of Coleshill and its unexpectedly discovered Roman temple complex should warn against too quickly drawing negative conclusions.

In order to provide a working model for the Project's fieldwork - but in no way attempting to prejudge what may be found - a few tentative lines have been drawn on the map linking together the known stretches and fragments of Roman road. Some of these reflect previous theories such as Hutton's and Walker's while others simply follow straight lines. For example, it seemed worthy of note - but certainly nothing more at this stage - that a prolongation of the modern line of the Bristol Road south of Northfield would pass just west of Metchley and eventually join Hutton's Icknield Street far more straightforwardly than any route from Alcester could. This line is of course contrary to the discoveries at Swarthmore Road which indicate a route heading much more easterly. There is however no reason why alternative or successive road lines should not have existed - an idea advanced by Cadbury (1920) - with the extra possibility that this may have related to changes following the abandonment of Metchley. Both Walker (1936) and Hetherington & Whitehouse (1966-67) identified the area of Selly Park Recreation Ground (SP 053 824) as a key link in their theories, while other sources have claimed a settlement in the vicinity. The site is a well-drained sand and gravel plateau, attractive, one might suspect, both to settlers and road builders. For this reason it was chosen as the first focus of the Project's fieldwork, details of which can be found in the reports section.

While concentrating on the three known roads from Droitwich, Alcester and Wall, the Project will also be looking for evidence of roads coming from other directions. A whole network of roads focused on the Birmingham area would only seem likely at the moment for the military phase of the 1st and early 2nd centuries when Metchley was an important link in the Midland garrison. (see map). At this time it would be possible to argue a case for roads coming to Metchley from a variety of different directions, the most feasible of which might be a Tame Valley route from Penkridge, a road from Mancetter via Coleshill and Castle Bromwich (currently under investigation by the North Arden Local History Society), and a link to the south-east, possibly via the Monkspath Street alignment of the A34. Any other suggestions of Roman roads heading our way would be much appreciated!

Thanks are due to Ivor Hayes of the School of Continuing Studies for help and guidance in the production of maps, and to all local SMR officers for information about military sites in the area.

References

Cadbury, G, 1920, The Roman Roads of South Birmingham. Trans. Birmingham Warwickshire Archaeol Soc 46, 22-35

Hetherington, R J and Whitehouse, D B, 1966-67, The Roman Road between Gloucester and Birmingham, North of the Lickey Hills. Trans. Birmingham Warwickshire Archaeol Soc 83, 180-187

Hutton, W, 1783, An History of Birmingham

Margary, I D, 1973, Roman Roads in Britain

Rowley, R T, 1969, Metchley Roman Fort, Birmingham West Midlands Archaeol 12, 24

Walker, B, 1936, The Rycknield Street in the Neighbourhood of Birmingham. Trans. Birmingham Warwickshire Archaeol Soc 60, 42-55

Whitehouse, D B, 1959, The Roman Road between Bromsgrove and the Lickey Hills. Trans. Birmingham Warwickshire Archaeol Soc 77, 18-24

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From "West Midlands Archaeology" issue 37, 1994, page 103

WEST MIDLANDS

BIRMINGHAM, Selly Park Recreation Ground (SP 053 324)

A resistivity survey was undertaken by the Birmingham Roman Roads Project. The site was chosen because it had been identified by previous researchers as a key link in the local Roman road network.

Walker (1936) saw it as the point where Ricknield Street changed its alignment for the one and only time between the known stretches in Stirchley and Sutton Park (a-b on map), but the observation in 1955 of a thick gravel layer in foundation trenches at Farquhar Road, Edgbaston (anon 1965) re-established the idea of a straight continuation of the Stirchley line passing much nearer Metchley fort (a-c on map). Hetherington and Whitehouse (1966-7) suggested that the Roman road from Gloucester, which they may have located in a section cut beside the footpath beteen Swarthmore and Bryony Roads, Weoley Hill in 1963, was also heading for Selly Park (d on map).

These possibilities were assessed on the ground using an RM4 soil resistivity meter on loan from the West~Midlands SMR., A series of W-E transects were made at 20m intervals taking readings each metre. The results were analysed using a Surfit programme and a radius-I spatial filter devised according to the ideas of Clark (1990) by the team's computer programmer, Simon Herron. The data were inputted by Anne Baker.

No clear conclusions can be drawn from the printout, although a number of possible linear features suggest themselves, some correlating to a certain extent with the projected roadlines. Work in 1995 will concentrate on a more detailed survey of the NW comer of the site.

Peter Leather, Birmingham Roman Roads Project

References

anon 1965 Trans Birmingham & Warwickshire Archaeol Soc 82, 94

Clark, A J, 1990 Seeing beneath the soil

Hetherington, R J & Whitehouse, D B 1966-7 The Roman Road between Gloucester and Birmingham, North of the Lickey Hills Trans Birmingham & Warwickshire Archaeolo Soc 83, 180-7

Walker, B, 1936 The Rycknield Street in the Neighbourhood of Birmingham Trans Birmingham & Warwickshire Archaeol Soc 60, 42-55

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From "West Midlands Archaeology" issue 38, 1995, page 108

BIRMINGHAM, Edgbaston (SP 0479 8475)

Foundation trenches at 15 Farquhar Road were observed because of the proximity of the site to a gravel road observed by Adrian Oswald in 1955 and interpreted by him as part of the Roman Ryknield Street (Trans Birmingham Archaeol Soc 8Z 1965, 94). A gravelly deposit up to 0.28m thick overlay the clay subsoil in one of the trenches, but it was not clear whether it was a natural or artificial deposit. This casts some doubt on the interpretation of Oswald's observations.

Mike Hodder. Birmingham City Council & Peter Leather, Birmingham Roman Roads Project

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From "West Midlands Archaeology" issue 38, 1995, page 109

BIRMINGHAM, Metchley Roman Fort (SP 042 836)

A small-scale resistivity survey was undertaken of land south of Vincent Drive with a view to locating the road leaving the Porta Principalis Dextra of the Roman fort. Three 20m grids were.)aid out across the predicted line of this road (two in November 1994 and one in June 1995) and readings taken every metre with an RM4 resistivity meter on loan from West Midlands SMR. Results show no obvious features but may merit further analysis. The survey was discontinued for the time being due to the difficulties of the heavily-overgrown terrain and the possibility of a development proposal for the site which would allow for more intensive archaeological evaluation.

Peter Leather, Birmingham Roman Roads Project

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From "West Midlands Archaeology" issue 38, 1995, page 109

BIRMINGHAM, Selly Park Recreation Ground (SP 053 824)

A resistivity survey of the park was begun in 1994 in an attempt to establish the line of one or more Roman Roads believed to cross it (WMA 37, 102-3 for background and results). This was continued in f995 with more intensive coverage of the area opposite the junction with Bournbrook Road, which map-work suggests may be part of the medieval successor to the Roman route.

A grid was laid out consisting of five by four 20m squares and readings taken every metre with an RM4 soil resistivity meter on loan from West Midlands SMR. Readings were not taken in the bottom left-hand corner square which was largely taken up with modern temporary buildings.

Theoretical road-lines drawn from the work of previous researchers placed the grid astride a possible NNE route to Sutton Park but away from the direct line between Stirchley and Farquhar Road. Results were not supportive of the former (although a high resistance anomaly on the NE side of the grid may merit further investigation) but did seem to identify an irregular NW-SE running feature which could conceivably relate to an alternative route for the latter. However, the clearest correlation between the resistivity readings and a known feature would seem to be with a boundary line shown on the 1884 OS map. Work will continue in 1996.

Peter Leather, Birmingham Roman Roads Project

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From "West Midlands Archaeology" issue 39, 1996, page 100

BIRMINGHAM, Selly Park Recreation Ground (SP 053 824; SMR 20428120352)

A third season of resistivity survey was undertaken on the site which is seen by previous researchers as the key to the Roman road network in this area (WMA 37, 7-11). Results from the Bournbrook Road end of the park proved inconclusive (WMA 38, 109-110) and it was decided to concentrate on the Warwards Lane end, astride the hypothesised line of road shared by 'both theories (1996a on plan). Results indicate many features identifiable on 19th and 20th century maps but nothing which could be interpreted as a Roman road.

The opportunity was also taken to survey a disused bowling green adjacent to Raddlebarn Road (1996a on plan). The most obvious feature here was a diagonal cross- shape joining the four comers of the green and believed to be part of the drainage arrangements. However, this modern pattern overlay older features, the most intriguing of which ran obliquely across the green and aligns with a ?path shown on an 1835 sale plan.

Concurrent with the resistivity survey, a watching brief was undertaken of a car park extension and building work taking place at St Mary's Hospice. This was carried out under the guidance of the city's planning archaeologist, Mike Hodder. The most telling observation here was that, as soon as topsoil was removed, undisturbed natural was encountered, suggesting that the park has been levelled at some stage in the past, thus destroying any archaeological features which may once have existed. This may well explain the "blank" areas encountered in the 1995 resistivity survey. Two finds were recorded: a piece of Neolithic worked flint and a tiny fragment of pottery later identified as probably Iron Age. The latter would be a particularly significant find in the context of Birmingham where virtually nothing of this date has previously been recorded.

A final season of work will take place in 1997 to re-examine and extend the area of the 1995 survey. As always, thanks are due to West Midlands SMR for loan of resistivity meter. Results were processed using Geoplot 2.01 software.

Peter Leather, Birmingham Roman Roads Project

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From "West Midlands Archaeology" issue 39, 1996, page 104

BIRMINGHAM, Wood Brook (SP 034 815)

A resistivity survey was undertaken of open space adjoining the Wood Brook between the Bristol Road and Fox Hill to investigate the possibility of the Roman road from Droitwich to Metchley crossing the stream at this point. Eleven 20 metre square grids were surveyed, covering much of the available area. Initial analysis of results would seem to indicate the presence of landscape features possibly relating to previous farming and/or drainage activities but nothing which could be construed as the line of a road.

Peter Leather, Birmingham Roman Roads Project

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From "West Midlands Archaeology" issue 39, 1996, page 109

SUTTON COLDFIELD, Sutton Park (SP 088986; SMR 02006)

In order to test the effectiveness of the resistivity methods being used to try and detect the lines of Roman Roads in Birmingham (see Selly Park Recreation Ground and Wood Brook above) a 20m x 40m grid was laid out across the known line of the Roman Road in Sutton Park at a point where, although clearly visible, it was not particularly pronounced. The results show that, here at least, the road shows up very clearly on the resistivity printout processed using Geoplot 2.01 software) and should therefore be detectable where it survives elsewhere in the city.

Peter Leather, Birmingham Roman Roads Project

resistivity grid
Sutton Park: test resistivity grid

 

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From "West Midlands Archaeology" issue 40, 1997, page 99

BIRMINGHAM, Aerial Survey

This is a joint project funded by the University of Birmingham School of Continuing Studies and Birmingham City Council, designed on the one hand to aid in the identification of Roman roads crossing the city and on the other to enhance the SMR in general. Flights are undertaken by Peter Leather of the Birmingham Roman Roads Project and Mike Hodder of Birmingham City Council in a "high-wing" Cessna 172 piloted by Richard Hardy (also of the Birmingham Roman Roads Project).

The first two flights in July and December 1997 had the aim of familiarising the participants with known sites on the ground and establishing the best flight patterns.

The July flight focused on the south side of the city, following the Roman road from Weatheroak Hill, through Walkers Heath and Stirchley to the geophysical survey site at Selly Park Recreation Ground (see separate report), then over the University for Metchley Roman Fort, the Woodgate Valley and Weoley Castle.

In December we flew over the north side of the city from Coleshill via the area covered by the Sutton Survey (see separate report) to Sutton Park (where the Roman road was photographed in detail) and Perry Barr (for the Holford geophysical survey and watching brief site - see separate report). Copies of photographs will in due course be made publicly available through the Birmingham SMR.

In 1998 it is intended to undertake at least four further flights at different times of the year, with application being made for funding which might allow us to bring this up to a near monthly schedule in future.

Peter Leather, Birmingham Roman Roads Project and Mike Hodder, Birmingham City Council

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From "West Midlands Archaeology" issue 40, 1997, page 102

BIRMINGHAM, Holford (SP 074 920)

Resistivity surveys were undertaken on sites either side of the point where the Roman road from Wall to Metchley is thought to cross the River Tame. Interest had been aroused by news that a new pipeline was to be laid to the south of the river in 1998, with the near certainty that it would cut across the road at some point. In light of doubts being cast on the 'orthodox' view (Walker 1936) of the road's course in this area, it seemed a good idea to do some preliminary work to inform the pipeline watching brief.

The first site to be investigated was Pembroke Fields to the north of the Tame (access by permission of the Pembroke Fields Trust). Although the line of the road at this point is clearly indicated on old maps and aerial photographs, the site has been considerably altered this century by, among other things, the embankment of the M6. The one place where the road might have been detected proved inaccessible without considerable clearance of dense undergrowth (remnants of a hedge-line following the road?) and a 20 metre grid on adjacent open ground proved negative.

The second site was on wasteland immediately south of the river (access by permission of IMI). The "Walker" road-line only shaved the top comer of this before disappearing under a modern industrial development (plot-holders in allotments to the south did not recall any finds during building work, nor were they able to identify any "hard" areas on their land, where the "Walker" line might be expected to continue).

A series of complete and partial 20 metre grids laid down the fence line between the industrial estate and the wasteland and then right across the open area yielded nothing which could relate to the "Walker" line but did produce some low resistance features running parallel with the site's east boundary.

It was decided to postpone any further investigation until after the results of the pipeline watching brief are known.

Peter Leather, Birmingham Roman Roads Project

References

Walker, B, 1936 The Rycknield Street in the Neighbourhood of Birmingham Trans Birmingham & Warwickshire Archaeol Soc 60, 42-55

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From "West Midlands Archaeology" issue 40, 1997, page 103

BIRMINGHAM, Moseley Bog Burnt Mound (SP 093 820; SMR 02263)

This site was discovered in 1980 when it was recorded as exposures of heat-shattered stones and charcoal in both banks of a stream. Heat-shattered stones are also visible on the surface of a path adjoining the stream and one edge of the mound is indicated by a rise in the path.

A measured survey in advance of proposals to protect the site from both stream and path erosion located a hollow in the path surface which may indicate a pit or trough under the mound, and revealed that the site also survived as a low but prominent mound on the opposite side of the stream, where it was shielded from stream erosion by a sandbank. Probing and a small excavation revealed compacted heat-shattered stones just below the present surface. The results of the survey suggest that the mound measures about 13m across and is approximately circular.

A resistivity survey revealed that the mound extends about 3m from the stream on the side where it is crossed by the path. On the surviving mound, however, the resistivity results were surprisingly unclear: part of the mound produced the expected high resistance readings but there were also low readings which could indicate pits or troughs.

Mike Hodder, Birmingham City Council; Moseley Bog Conservation Group; Birmingham Roman Roads Project

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From "West Midlands Archaeology" issue 40, 1997, page 104

BIRMINGHAM, Selly Park Recreation Ground (SP 053 824; SMR 20428120352) and Elmdon Road Playing Fields (SP 052 828)

A fourth and, for the time being, final season of resistivity survey was undertaken on the site seen by previous researchers as the key to the Roman road network in this area (for background see WAM 37, 7-11). A further series of 20 metre square grids was laid out at the Bournbrook Road end of the Recreation Ground, this time placed at right angles to the "hard" feature detected here in 1995. Once more a variety of land features were identified but there was nothing to suggest anything older or more substantial than the line originally (and still) interpreted as a field boundary shown on the 1984 OS Map.

The opportunity was also taken to lay out a line of seven 20 metre grids across Elmdon Road Playing Fields, to the north of the Recreation Ground. Access to the site was by permission of Birmingham City Council Education Department. The very pronounced rectilinear features identified here (and also visible on an old aerial photograph supplied by a local resident) are most probably related to old sports fields on the site.

All in all, there has been nothing found in the last four years to support either the idea, of a straight line continuation of the Roman Road from Stirchley towards Metchley or the alternative Walker theory that the road realigned at this point to meet up with a line coming south from Sutton Park, although the latter seems increasingly the less likely of the two. In order to reassess the situation, my colleague, Anne Baker has undertaken a detailed regressive map/documentary analysis of the Selly Park and Stirchley areas, which we hope will cast some new light on this so far intractable problem.

As always, thanks are due to West Midlands SMR for loan of resistivity meter. Results were processed using Geoplot 2.01 software.

Peter Leather, Birmingham Roman Roads Project

Selly Park Survey

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From "West Midlands Archaeology" issue 41, 1998, page 105

BIRMINGHAM, Aerial Survey

For the background to this project see WMA 40, 99.

Plans for a series of flights in 1998 to examine possible Roman road lines and other archaeological sites within the city were hit by a string of setbacks, with the result that only one flight took place, in November. This focused on the Birmingham Roman Roads Project (BRRP) geophysical survey site in the Lickey Hills (see report under Worcestershire) and the excavations at Metchley (see separate report below). Copies of photographs are held by BRRP and the Birmingham SMR. Once again thanks are due to our pilot, Richard Hardy.

Peter Leather, Birmingham Roman Roads Project and Mike Hodder, Birmingham City Council

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From "West Midlands Archaeology" issue 41, 1998, page 107

BIRMINGHAM, Selly Park Recreation Ground (SP 053 824; SMR 20428/20352)

Following four unproductive seasons of geophysical survey on the site (for summary and map see WAM 40, 104-105) a regressive map analysis of the area was undertaken in an attempt to identify remnants of the Roman road line from Stirchley to Metchley in the medieval and later landscape. The work was carried out by Anne Baker and supervised by Peter Leather as a project for the CertHE Research in Local History of the University of Birmingham School of Continuing Studies.

Investigation into manorial court records seemed to confirm initial assumptions that the dog-legged route from Stirchley to Edgbaston via Warwards Lane (Horewode Lane 1447), Raddlebarn Road and Boumbrook Road (Hall Lane 1431) was one of some antiquity, traceable back to at least the 15th century. The deviation around Selly Park Recreation Ground, which makes no topographical sense, may represent a diversion of the route to avoid the estate (or a possible hunting park) of Selly Manor. Whether or not this interpretation is correct, it appears impossible to trace the road lay- out any farther back than this using documentary sources; and so the question of the Roman road line at this point remains unanswered.

Anne Baker and Peter Leather, Birmingham Roman Roads Project

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From "West Midlands Archaeology" issue 41, 1998, page 132

LICKEY HILLS, Rose Hill (SO 994 753-SO 995 757)

In order to shed new light on the course taken by Roman roads within the City of Birmingham, it was decided to pick up the Droitwich-Metchley road (Margary 180) at its last proven location outside the city and see if it could be extended within. The road had been traced by the cutting of a series of sections in the 1950s to a point just north of Monument Lane, where a realignment was suspected but never proven (Whitehouse 1959). Geophysical survey and observation in fields and gardens either side of Rose Hill failed to establish the precise location of the previous excavation (believed to have been cut away by road widening) but did establish a clear linear anomaly on a slightly different alignment from that to the south. It may also be possible that a short length of road ditch on this same alignment may survive in a back garden at the bottom of the hill (Site D). Furthermore, while surveying the field north of Monument Lane (Site A) it was observed that, from one point in particular, there was a clear line of sight through the gap in the Lickey Hills to the University of Birmingham, where Metchley is located.

The combination of all these findings suggests that the road did in fact re-align at this point to sight on Metchley, and that it should be possible to follow this line north of the Lickeys into Birmingham.

Acknowledgements

Thanks are due to Hillscourt Conference Centre for permission to work in their fields, Philip Duckworth, Peter and Sandy Leggatt, and Catherine and Ken Beresford for access to their gardens, and West Midlands SMR for the loan of a resistivity meter. Results were processed using Geoplot 2.QI software and maps drawn by Nigel Dodds.

Peter Leather, Birmingham Roman Roads Project

References

Whitehouse, D B, 1959, "The Roman Road between Bromsgrove and the Lickey Hills", Transactions of the Birmingham & Warwickshire Archaeological Society 77, 18

Rose Hill Survey Location Map

Rose Hill Survey

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From BRITANNIA, Volume XXX, 1999.

ROMAN BRITAIN IN 1998
5. THE MIDLANDS
345. WORCESTERSHIRE

Lickey, Rose Hill (SO 994 753-SO 995 757): geophysical and field survey has established the probable line taken by the Roman road from Droitwich to Metchley through the gap in the Lickey Hills. A realignment in the gap is supported by geophysical results.

Information from P Leather, Roman Roads Project.

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