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CORBRIDGE ROMAN BRIDGE

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The site of the Roman bridge (south abutment) across the River Tyne south of Corbridge. The threat of erosion led to a joint project between Tyne and Wear Museums and English Heritage, with funding from the Heritage Lottery Fund, to record, dismantle, and reassemble the remains of the bridge. The road ramp was excavated in 2004 and over 300 blocks were reassembled a short distance from the current river bank. The Roman bridge consisted of as many as 11 stone arches, standing to a possible 9 metres above the river. The ramp was built to take Dere Street across the bridge by a gentle gradient. The road approached the bridge at right angles from the east. The north side of the ramp was formed by a massive wall along the river bank made of stone blocks (an example of opus quadratum ' a Roman technique of fitting blocks together with very narrow joints and no mortar). The road ramp had been rebuilt during the Roman period, probably following a flood. The blocks were all reused in the revetting wall. The details of the parapet were very similar to those at Chesters, and they may have been built at the same time by the same masons or architect. No evidence for a pre- mid-Antonine river crossing was discovered. A mortared wall previously identified as late-Roman on the south side of the river, now seems to be post-medieval strengthening of the river bank rather than a secondary ramp. The bridge was probably built following the re-routing of the Stanegate to the north when its original line along the bank to the north end of the river bridge was destroyed by flooding, indicating resources were still being expended in keeping the main routes open in the last quarter of the fourth century. A horizontal-wheeled watermill of Anglo-Saxon date extensively reused stone blocks from the bridge in its construction, and lies on the north side of the river, downstream from the north abutment.

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