Site of Ermine Street

What we now call Ermine Street was the main Roman road running up to the north from the Roman capital Londinium.

Much of its route follows the present A1 but just south of Wansford the Roman road can still be seen to the east of the modern road. Air photographs and crop markings show where it ran straight across the land .

The roads were first built by the Roman army. They dug drainage ditches at the sides, put down a foundation of large stone then covered these with gravel. The roads were well-drained and kept in good repair so that people could travel long distances and goods could be taken to markets in other towns. Several digs across Ermine street had shown how frequently it was repaired and resurfaced.

Where there was a Roman town today all it is, is just plain green grass. Over these years it has changed a lot. The town has gone because all of the soil and grass has gone and grown over it. But you can still see the traces of Ermine street

Daily Life

In Roman times people travelled on foot or horse back, and goods were carried in carts pulled by oxen or horses.  Many goods were  traded up and down Ermine Street: crops, pottery, iron, charcoal, olive oil, fish, raw material, gold, marble, wine, meat and salt.

Romans usually walked to places but the rich Romans had chariots and horses. Travellers in Britain had roads to carry heavy wagons and marching soldiers. The Romans had large ships to cross seas like the channel, but they usually sailed in sight of land rarely sailed in the winter months unless they had to. They used smaller boats for fishing.  They also used to transport goods by boat up rivers like the Nene.

When Romans were here they didn’t have cars, buses, taxis and especially lorries .

Character Biographies

merchantEgo sum Johan,

I am a Roman merchant who deals in iron goods.  I have many  black smiths who work for me producing all sorts of ironwork such as nails, hinges, brackets, and many other things that people want.  I also make iron swords and other iron weapons for the Romans. My goods can be sold in Durobrivae or taken by road or sailing barge to other towns

Hi- ego sum Kellius

I am 29 years old. Because I am successful business woman I have quite a lot of money. I love oysters for breakfast and I will have spicy food with fish sauce for dinner. We Romans love to use herbs and spices with our food.

I have 3 children they are all girls two of them are twins and the other is much younger. The twins are both 6 years old and the other is 1 years old. The twins are called Lurvi and the other Sophius my one year old is called Candicia. They are very well behaved and always doing chores for me even when I don’t ask them. My husband works in the army and is coming home in 1 week I am so excited to see him .

I live in quite a big house just across the road from where I work for a living. I am a merchant. I enjoy my job very much especially when I make money. I sell wheat, olive oil, salt, herbs and spices to all the smaller traders in the town. Some of these things are grown locally but some –like the wine and the fish sauce come all the way from Gaul. These have to be carried in special containers called amphorae.

merchant_wifeHi I am Luchius,

I’m a trader and I live in a town called Durobrivae with my two children, one is called Milkasa, she is very active and brilliant at growing things and doing chores , she’s 7 years old ( VII ).  My other child is called Lavia, she is a little lazy but she loves to play with Milkasa, she is 8 years old (VIII ). We all live in a small wooden house with our own little vegetable garden and sell what we grow in our shop on the main street.

We eat food such as rabbit, poultry or lentils for dinner and olives on dry bread for breakfast. My husband died in a battle against the Celts and he is buried in a field, his name was Tomchas. Luckily he left me some money to set up our shop

I always wear tunics made out of wool with a leather apron, while Milkasa and Lavia wear the same.  I am  25 years old so I was married very young , but that was not unusual for us Romans . Me and my children absolutely LOVE oysters. We have them for a treat every now and then because they’re very expensive!

I sell all sorts of food, olive oil, salt, wheat and corn in our shop. The main street gets very busy with all the people passing through the town and very noisy with all the traders selling from their stalls.

A Plan of that part of the Pottery through which the pld Roman road passes A Plan of that part of the Pottery through which the pld Roman road passes