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PIERCEBRIDGE ROMAN BRIDGE

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The remains of a Roman bridge, formerly on the River Tees, probably built in the later 2nd to early 3rd centuries AD, later altered in the early- to mid 4th century AD by the addition of a causeway. The surviving remains comprise an abutment on the south side, a length of pavement, which once consolidated the river bed, four piers constructed of stone, along with part of the later causeway preserved as an earthwork bank. The bridge probably originally had 5 piers and may have had a wooden superstructure. Although the site has been excavated the northern abutment was not located and may have been destroyed as the river shifted is course. This structure was associated with a nearby fort and civilian vicus settlement at Piercebridge. It once formed part of the Roman road between York and Corbridge (on Hadrian's Wall); the route is now known as Dere Street. It was the second of two bridges over the Tees in the vicinity, the earlier bridge was thought have been built of timber and lay 200 yards upstream to the west. This earlier structure is likely to have gone out of use around 130-180 AD; potentially because it was poorly sited and subject to flooding, presumably necessitating the building of the second bridge. It has been conjectured, based on interpretations of antiquarian reports, that the second Roman bridge may have survived in some form until about 1500, when it was replaced by another structure. However this has neither been fully proven, nor accepted, by all authorities. The site is in the care of English Heritage.

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