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Year 2 History and Geography


Romans Roads, and Much More!

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After the Roman invasion of Britain, the Romans stayed in Britain for many years and left us with many things that have affected us even today. For instance, have you ever heard of Hadrian's Wall? Although the Romans gained control of the south of Britain, they eventually decided that Scotland was too cold and difficult a place to conquer. They decided to leave the north of the island and build a wall across Britain, which was called Hadrian's Wall. It stretched from one coast to the other with lots of Roman forts and soldiers along it. Do you see it on the map (click here for a larger version)? Because it was the edge of the Roman Empire, it had to be well-defended and there were battles along it. The wall was so well built that some of it still exists, and you can still see it today, thousands of years after it was built.

It was not just walls that the Romans built. They built roads and cities as well. Unlike the tribes who lived in Britain before them, the Romans lived in big towns and cities with lots of people, and many soldiers who needed somewhere to live. The Romans built big cities in Britain, including York (which they called Eboracum) and London (Londinium), where there are still Roman buildings that you can see. Some of the best preserved buildings are the Roman villa at Fishbourne and the Roman baths in the city of Bath. Do you see them on the map?

The Romans built roads to connect their cities, villas and baths. Before the Romans came, people in Britain travelled on dirt tracks or by boat. The Romans knew how to build long, straight roads that were made from stones so they were easier to travel on. This was important for the Romans to keep control of Britain because it meant they could march soldiers to different parts of the country very quickly.

The Romans also built canals and aqueducts to bring water to towns and cities and a sewage system to remove the smelly waste from these growing cities. These are all things that we now take for granted, but they were brought over by the Romans. Of all the things that the Romans brought to Britain, possibly the most important were reading and writing. Before the Romans, people in Britain did not write things down, but the Romans kept written records. This means we now have a better idea of what actually so long ago.

The Romans stayed in Britain for hundreds of years. Eventually, the Roman Empire collapsed and the Roman armies left Britain. But they left their influence on the way we speak, read and write; they also left behind the roads and buildings they had built.

This activity is adapted from pages 161 - 163 of What Your Year 2 Child Needs to Know, which can be purchased here. This activity has a connection:

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