Contact, Concord and Conquest: Britons and Romans at Scotch Corner
Road construction works associated with upgrading of the A1 to motorway status around Scotch Corner exposed an extensive 1st century BC and AD settlement that was focussed around a major prehistoric and Roman road junction. The settlement, which was occupied by native Britons and Romans, stretched along the roads for a distance of at least 1.3km,making it one of the largest known settlements of the period. Archaeological work, which began in autumn 2014, has uncovered an impressive assemblage of finds including rare and unique objects including part of an amber statuette and a miniature sword, rare imported pottery and glass vessels, examples of Roman metalwork, but also the most northerly and latest evidence for gold, silver and copper alloy native coin blank production. Analysis of the features that made up the site, along with specialist examination of exotic objects and the large volume of animal bone, pottery and environmental evidence, may support the possibility that the settlement functioned as a trading and supply centre in the years leading up to Roman annexation during the early Flavian period. The project considers an apparent association between Scotch Corner and the native tribal centre at Stanwick, some 5km to the north-west, as well as other sites in the vicinity including Melsonby and Rock Castle. It may also be possible to investigate what, if any, role the settlement performed at the Roman north-west frontier during a period of political instability and military advance northwards.
David Fell is a Fieldwork Manager at Northern Archaeological Associates (NAA) and is responsible for fieldwork at Scotch Corner and other sites along the A1. NAA are undertaking archaeological works for Carillion Morgan Sindall Joint Venture on behalf of Highways England during the A1 Leeming to Barton motorway upgrade scheme.