Margaret Edwards writes:
What a splendid February meeting the Society had! A large number of visitors swelled the audience to about 60 people and it was clear that everyone was enthralled: nobody moved or stirred for over an hour! We were absorbed in David Ratledge’s lecture on his recent researches relating to the Roman roads of Lancashire made using LIDAR equipment. David’s flawless lecturing and his smooth presentation of images via Powerpoint were impressive. Showing a LIDAR image, then fading it to reveal an image of what was now visible on the ground, made it easy to follow how the roads had taken their courses and gave admirable authority to the points which he made.
It is almost two years since David sent me, in my capacity as the Editor of the Newsletter of the Lancashire Local History Federation, an illustrated article on a Roman road; I found it fascinating. I was delighted to agree to print the article; but I recognised at once that David’s work must be offered to academic publications. I am glad to be able to report that papers have appeared in ‘Britannia’ and are pending in the next issue of the Transactions of the Lancashire & Cheshire Antiquarian Society.
Archaeologists have long puzzled over Roman routes through Lancashire and seemingly convincing lines have been drawn; but the LIDAR images demonstrate that previously known features on the ground were not in fact joined up as had been thought. David offered us revelation after revelation – the evidence, which included previously unknown milestones, seemed incontrovertible, so much so that the post-lecture questions were remarkably few indeed.
We witnessed what will no doubt prove to be a highly memorable meeting; in fact, if it were not for the sake of avoiding a pun, I might say that the occasion was truly a ‘milestone’ in the Society’s record! Ben would have been delighted.
Full details of the routes, with the Lidar images (including the ‘fly-throughs), can be found at