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Friday, 22 July 2016

Conference. 'Roman Roads: Past, Present, and Future Research. 3 & 4 September 2016

I am writing to to let you know about a welcome and exciting development concerning the Conference at Portsmouth on the 3rd & 4th of September. A very private Roman roads enthusiast, who feels that the success of this first ever Roman roads conference is vitally important to bring together learning, enthusiasm and planning for the future for the study and interest in a key part of our national heritage, has stepped in to subsidise  ticket prices. Thanks to him, we are now able to provide places at the conference for all, whether members of the public or professional archaeologists and researchers, at a conference fee of £25 per person for the weekend, including two course buffet lunch on both Saturday AND Sunday and tea / coffee and biscuits provided at each break.

The Roman Roads Research Association is proud to host two conferences to mark the 40th anniversary of the death of Ivan D. Margary, whose name, through his work “Roman Roads in Britain”, has become synonymous with the study of Roman roads. Perhaps his best known legacy is the numbering system he devised for Roman roads which is still in general use today. In all, his contribution to British archaeology has been profound, and, we feel, not given the national recognition which it deserves. As far as we are aware, these conferences, in Portsmouth and in York, are the first ever conferences in Britain devoted to Roman roads, and the first to be dedicated to Margary’s memory.

The first of these events will be held at the University of Portsmouth on 3rd & 4th September. The conference has a number of nationally recognised expert and entertaining speakers contributing to a day and a half of lectures and discussion groups. This will be followed by an optional guided visit to Fishbourne Roman Palace,  the survival of which was due to Margary taking up the news of the discovery and enabling excavation and subsequent preservation of the site, where we have also arranged a finds handling session run by museum staff.  

We are keen that news of the conferences is broadcast as widely as possible to interested parties both Romanist and those with a more general interest in archeology and our history;  I would be extremely grateful if your society could distribute this email to your membership, affiliated societies and other contacts if possible  to ensure that as many people as possible are aware of these events.

Our website  gives more information about the RRRA. If you would like copies of the flyer, or any further information, please do not hesitate to contact me on  mike [at]  We will be communicating further with regard to the York conference in the near future.

With kind regards

Mike Haken

The Ivan D Margary Memorial Conferences 2016
Roman Roads: Past, Present & Future Research
Saturday 3rd & Sunday 4th September 2016, University of Portsmouth
(also Saturday 12th & Sunday 13th November 2016, Burn Hall Hotel, York)

Margary’s name is synonymous with the study of Roman roads, indeed he has had more influence over our understanding of the Roman road network in Britain than any other individual researcher. His gazetteer, “Roman Roads in Britain”, remains the most comprehensive and detailed work ever written, over 60 years since it was first published. Margary numbers, the system he devised for numbering and classifying Roman roads are still used by archaeologists today. Ivan Donald Margary died on the 18th February 1976 and to mark the 40th anniversary, the Roman Roads Research Association is hosting two conferences in Portsmouth and in York.

The conferences will examine just how much our knowledge of the Roman road network in Britain has developed since his death in 1976. Nationally renowned Roman archaeologists, researchers, and academics will describe some of their recent work and discoveries in this field and will demonstrate how new technologies and approaches have moved and will continue to move forward our understanding in the years to come. Speakers will show how Roman Roads research has delivered a great number of new discoveries, both roads and associated sites. The range of speakers and discussion groups will provide a stimulating and rewarding programme.

The Portsmouth conference comprises one and a half days in which five key themes are explored and a multiple choice discussion group.

What’s Included?

Access to all conference sessions, discussion groups, stalls and displays. A two course lunch is provided free of charge on both Saturday and Sunday and tea, coffee and biscuits at breaks throughout the conference programme. The cost is £65.00 per person. In addition there is an optional visit to the Roman Palace at Fishbourne with guided tour and finds handling session, and the optional Margary Memorial conference dinner on Saturday evening. Bookings can be made online or complete the form on the flyer.

En-suite accommodation can be booked through RRRA at Rees Hall, University of Portsmouth.

Displays/Stalls/Book Sales

There will be space in the Eldon Building for displays, stalls and posters for delegates to view during breaks. If any delegate, on behalf of their organisation, wishes to set up a stall, please let us know well in advance by email and we will contact you to discuss. There will be no charge for this facility, within certain guidelines.
Contact Details

If you have any queries, please contact Mike Haken, Chairman RRRA, mike [at] 

Ivan D Margary Memorial Conference, University of Portsmouth
Programme: Saturday 3rd September 2016
8.30  Enrolment, networking & coffee
9.00  SESSION 1 – Margary and his legacy
Prof. Anthony King, University of Winchester - ‘The importance of enhancing our knowledge of the Roman road network’
‘The Life and work of Ivan D Margary’
David Staveley – ‘Revisiting Margary’s network in Sussex’
11.00  SESSION 2 – Recent Research in Southern England
Prof. Mike Fulford, University of Reading – ‘Silchester and the development of the early Roman road network’
David Millum & Rob Wallace from the Culver Project - an update on their recent work in Sussex
12.40  LUNCH provided free to all delegates
13.30  SESSION 3 – New Technology, New Approaches
Graeme Erskine ‘GIS as a Predictive Tool in Roads Research’
David Staveley – ‘Geophysics in Roads Research’
Bryn Gethin, Warwickshire Archaeology – ‘LiDAR – The game changer’
15.40  SESSION 4 – New Thinking on Roman Roads
Dr. M.C. Bishop, University of St. Andrews - ‘Medieval Progresses, Military Campaigns, and the Roman Road Network’
Mike Haken, RRRA – ‘Margary Numbers – Fit for Purpose?’
16.40  QUESTIONS & Coffee, leading on to DISCUSSION GROUPS
Group 1. What questions remain to be answered by researchers in the field of Roman roads?
Group 2. What contribution can volunteers make to ongoing work on Roman roads?
Main Hall, Discussion Group Leaders report back to Conference
18.00  Close of Day One
19.30  MARGARY MEMORIAL DINNER. An optional two-course dinner with guest speaker

Programme: Sunday 4th September 2016
8.45  Coffee and welcome
9.00  SESSION 5– Roman Roads Planning and Surveying
Rob Entwistle – ‘Could Roman road alignments sometimes be boundaries?
Dr. John Peterson, University of East Anglia – ‘How was the course of a Roman road in Essex predicted by a land survey hypothesis?’
John Poulter – ‘The use of long-distance alignments in Roman planning’
10.50  SESSION 6 – The Road Forward – creating a co-ordinated approach and honouring the work of Ivan D Margary
Mike Turpin, Roman Roads Research Association, The RRRA Online Database and Archive – A Critical Resource for research
11.45  Discussion groups
Group 1. A Lasting Legacy to Ivan Margary – a Visible Reminder in the Landscape?
Group 2. Road Planning Alignments & Their Function
Group 3. Margary Numbering – the Road Forward to Meet Future Needs
12.45  LUNCH, provided free to all delegates
2.00  Optional Guided Tour of Fishbourne Palace, talk and finds handling session
5.00  Close of Portsmouth Margary Memorial Conference

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