Roman Road Ownership

All Roman roads so far traced across the landscape have been painstakingly researched by at least one person in the past. The researcher has spent hours looking at maps, aerial photographs, and has spent days in the field looking for traces. This research has sometimes been fruitless, with no evidence of a road being found. But where evidence has been found, and has been published to the world, we must be grateful. They have not only found a road, but they have consequently announced it to the world. In a sense they have ‘owned’ the road when researching it, but they are generous enough to share it with the world by publication of its route.

I certainly value the contribution of their discovery, but I also appreciate the public disclosure of it. I intend to highlight who has discovered a particular road (where an individual is known), and when this occurred. This is highly important as it is part of the roads’ provenance; like an old master or a Ming vase, this provenance is every part of the road’s history. After all, a new Roman road discovered and added to the canon of known routes is a big event. We must encourage discoveries, and publication of Roman road discoveries by mentioning who discovered it in the first place. It is almost like citing the author of a reference work.

If you have discovered a Roman road but have not yet gone public, let me know, and I will publish the details, and make sure you are cited as its discoverer. If two or more researchers have independently found the same road, they should all be classed as the road’s discoverers as they each reinforce the efforts of the other.

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One thought on “Roman Road Ownership

  1. Roger says:

    I think roman roads should be named after the discoverer, like ‘Margary Road’ or ‘OGS Crawford Highway’. That would engender more research, and some could even be sponsored by companies. That way you could have ‘Coke Road’ or ‘Facebook Avenue’ etc.

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