Proof of the past is under your feet

People like to travel. It has always been true, and is the reason we no longer live in Africa as a species. The easiest way from one place to another is via a path. If enough people use that path and it becomes a road. Eventually, the people will spend their own time and effort to make their road easier to use.  It gets straighter and flatter and more damage resistant over time. This is the life of a road.

So when did we first start using roads?  In the UK, we were always taught it was all due to the Romans.  They brought the roads and built them nice and straight from one town to another. As these roads wore out, we rebuilt them and made them better. A great example is the A5 from London to Holyhead in Anglesey.  A real Roman road that still exists and is full of traffic every day. The problem is that Roman road isn’t actually Roman.

There is a story that the road was built by King Belinus, who was a King of the Britons around 400 BC. His brother, Brennus was said to have sacked Rome with the Gauls in 390 BC. However, this was practically 2500 years ago, so any evidence has gone through a number of hands so reliability is hard to gauge.

This map is a good example of how Roman roads looked

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Notice how those black lines follow the same paths as modern roads. The A5 is obvious, but so is the A1 and the A4.  You can almost see the A49.

Hopefully this is a good introduction into a subject that interests me a great deal.

If the Romans came to Britain and found a bunch of roads ready for them, how far back do we need to look into history before there were no roads?  Secondly, who did build the first British roads?

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