Friday, 25 January 2008

Corbridge bridge renovation completed

From the Hexham Courant

By Gemma Somerville

gemma.somerville@hexham-courant.co.uk

WORK to save part of a huge Roman bridge, which would have once spanned the River Tyne at Corbridge, has been completed.

The original bridge would have carried the main Roman road, Dere Street, from London to Scotland and a team of archaeologists have saved a portion of it from destruction.

The ruins of an enormous causeway or ramp, which would have been used to take the road from the flood plain on to the bridge, some eight metres above water, were uncovered when an excavation began three years ago.

After a wide-ranging consultation, it was decided the best way to protect the remains would be to dismantle and re-assembl e them on a site safe from erosion.

An ambitious £400,000 project funded by the National Lottery Heritage Fund got under way. This included a planning application submitted in 2006 for permission to rebuild the ramp just yards from where it would have once stood, at Dilston Haugh.

Around 300 blocks, each measuring about two metres in length, were recovered and have since been used to return the ramp to its former glory.

Evidence of the spectacular scale and decoration of the bridge slowly began emerge during the project, as the archaeologists discovered architectural fragments with decorative mouldings.

Its importance was reflected in the scale of its construction and decoration.

Dere Street was known as the Great North Road, and the bridge at Corbridge had more than a merely functional use.

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