LiDAR scans are finding hidden Roman roads and cutting crime

What does this LiDAR map of London have to do with the rediscovery of a centuries-lost Roman Road in Lancashire, connecting Ribchester and Catterall?

Back in 43AD, after the Roman conquest of Britain, the Emperor Vespasian sent governor Quintus Petilius Cerialis to what’s now Lancashire, Yorkshire and Cumbria to wrestle control of the north of England from a Celtic tribe called the Brigantes and put down a rebellion that had erupted after the breakdown of the marriage between Queen Cartimandua and her husband Venetius (she eloped with a ‘common soldier’). These roads were an important part of connecting buildings and settlements to consolidate territory up north.

LiDAR mapping has helped to find four lost Roman roads so far, and there are hopes it will enable archaeologists to find many more – this ‘light detection and ranging’ laser mapping technology can be used to ‘prove’ the course a road took where before it was only suspected. LiDAR enables them to spot ‘aggers’ – Roman ramparts – running straight for a few kilometres, where a road must have been.

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