The Romans In LondonLondon Grid for Learning

Towns, small settlements, farms, villas and religious sites grew up alongside the new roads that the Romans built. Some settlements, built where roads crossed a river or stream, acted as local markets which could be reached by both road and water. The Romans used the land west of London mainly for keeping cattle. The land to the east was best for agriculture and growing food and this is where most of the villas, the big farms, are to be found.

Enough evidence for London's Roman roads has been recorded to make it possible to plot where they once were and some modern roads still follow the line of the original roads. In the London area the roads were made of thick layers of gravel laid over layers of sand and clay. The roads were slightly curved so that the rainwater could drain off into roadside ditches and, if the ground was wet and likely to flood, the road was built over layers of wooden logs laid on a sand base. Sometimes archaeologists only find things like broken pottery, brooches or coins scattered about or burials which show that people must have been living in the area but they still have to find where. When Roman objects are found by Londoners in Greater London today, they are reported to the national Portable Antiquities Scheme through London's local museums.

The Greater London Map shows the probable routes of the main Roman roads. See what sort of evidence for the Romans has been found in your borough.