Or to put it another way, who really built that road? The March edition of the BBC History magazine has an interesting article which suggests that excavations in Shropshire, England, point to a ‘beautifully crafted’ road having been built up to 100 years before the Romans arrived in Britain. It also seems that the Iron Age Britain’s engineering prowess was probably home grown rather than a result of early contact with the Roman Empire.
It’s an interesting article and well worth a read. Such developments may mean some reappraisal of other ‘Roman contributions’, as well as opportunities to revisit a certain Python sketch. I was also fascinated by the comment from Tim Malim, the archaeologist who co-directed the Shropshire excavation: ‘The traditional view has often been that Iron Age Britons were unsophisticated people who needed to be civilised by the Romans. It’s an attitude that has its roots in the late 19th century when Britain saw itself as the new Rome, bringing civilisation to the rest of the world’.