History revealed on the Great North Road
Archaeologists working at a construction site to upgrade the A1 to motorway standard in North Yorkshire have uncovered more than 177,000 artefacts dating back to Roman times and beyond.
A joint venture of Morgan Sindall and Carillion is main contractor on the £380m Highways England A1 Leeming to Barton widening scheme.
An archaeological team of around 60 people has spent two years scouring the site and has sieved more than 50 tonnes of sediment samples. The Great North Road, on which the current A1 is based, has been an important strategic route for centuries.
In a first for the UK, the team discovered a Roman cicada brooch (pictured below) made in Pannonia – a region that today includes parts of Hungary, Austria, Slovenia, Croatia and Serbia – which provides evidence of a multi-national population or long-distance trade with Catterick.
Another rare find was a miniature sword, complete with iron blade, copper alloy scabbard and bone handle, recovered during excavations at Scotch Corner (below).
At a Roman cemetery at Bainesse, ceramic pots and personal possessions were found alongside the human remains, thought to have been gifts for the dead.
The archaeologists leave the site later this month but will continue to study the findings, some of which will go to the York Museum Trust and go on display within North Yorkshire.
Dr Hannah Russ, from Northern Archaeological Associates, said: “The quality and preservation of the artefacts and environmental remains from this scheme is outstanding. We are learning so many new things about the people who were living in the vicinity of the A1 in the past.”
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This article was published on 15 Jan 2016 (last updated on 18 Mar 2016).