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Durham e-Theses
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Roads and Routeways in County Durham: 1530-1730

HUTTON, GILLIAN,MARIA (2011) Roads and Routeways in County Durham: 1530-1730. Doctoral thesis, Durham University.



Roads and routeways, whether engineered or created ad hoc, create a dynamic element to the lives of those who use them and facilitate many features of day to day life. As such they have been a fundamental and powerfully ideological part of human existence. This thesis shows the causes and effects of road and transport network development in County Durham in the period from 1530 to 1730, and challenges the commonly made assertion that routes changed little from the Medieval period until the Industrial Revolution.

Drove routes, lead mining routes and the infrastructure of re-used Roman roads are viewed holistically and considered as individual and integrated networks over a broad time period. These networks are analysed and compared using quantitive spatial analysis and GIS (Geographic Information System) techniques to examine which factors were pivotal in the creation of each road or routeway system. In addition, factors such as consumption patterns, shifts in population and funding mechanisms are drawn upon to examine roads as artefacts and cultural markers. Thus the roads and the roadscapes are used to study the identities of those who used them. A trial of dating techniques with which to date roads, with the use of optically stimulated luminescence (OSL) infra-red stimulated luminescence (IRSL) and radiocarbon dating, was also completed.

It will be shown that different factors influenced the placement of the different routes. Distance and slope being of prime importance for the Roman network; land use type, distance and visibility for the drove routes and land use type and slope for the lead routes. These routes formed part of an holistic network which, through using different network types for different tasks and purposes, gave strength to the overall transport system of County Durham. Thus the network helped to drive new aspirations and patterns of consumption, facilitated the exchange of information and fashions and helped to provide new sources of wealth. The connectivity that the roads and routeways brought created a county with greater geographical, cultural and social knowledge that stimulated an increase in class consciousness, in so doing they also provided the means by which these new ideals and ideas could be expressed.

Item Type:Thesis (Doctoral)
Award:Doctor of Philosophy
Keywords:Road, Routeway, County Durham, Archaeology, Lead, Drove,
Faculty and Department:Faculty of Social Sciences and Health > Archaeology, Department of
Thesis Date:2011
Copyright:Copyright of this thesis is held by the author
Deposited On:09 Jun 2011 11:56

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