Bury Archaeological Group

Est. 1953

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Roman Road (SD 77751003)

On leaving Radcliffe, the Bury section of the Manchester-Ribchester Roman Road ran North West across Spen Moor and Haslam Hey, in West Bury, to Affetside.

Part of the alignment from Bury Bolton Road in the south (SD 77950965), to Starling in the north (SD 77551040), had been allocated for housing development.  This prompted B.A.G., jointly with Radcliffe Local History Society, to determine the true position and structure of the road before its destruction.

Two sections were cut, trenches 1 and 2.

Trench 1, at (SD77751003) 130m above OD, revealed a foundation of flat sandstones covered with shale and surfaced with rammed gravel.  The road was 6.45m wide by 0.22m deep.  A ditch, 0.75m wide by 0.34m deep, ran down each side.

Trench 2, sited 300m north from trench 1, was a similar construction but with a foundation of pebbles in stiff clay instead of sandstones.

Environmental evidence from the pre-road surface showed a predominance of tree pollen, mostly alder and hazel with a very dense matrix of granular charcoal, implying a largely wooded landscape which had been cleared by burning.

Refs:  Just. J. ‘The Roman Road in the vicinity of Bury’.  Manchester Literary  & Phil. Society Memoirs. S2. 6. (1839)

 Tyson. N. ‘Excavations of the Roman Road near Radcliffe, Lancashire’.  Greater Manchester Archaeological Group Publications. No. 1 (1980)  23-28.

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