Today has been all about maps. I plotted my 5-day London to Canterbury mostly-walking route on Google Maps, which you can see here. I’ll be updating this as I go along with photos, audio, and bits of text, and is a handy guide to the day-by-day activities of the walk.
I also received the Ordnance Survey historical map of Roman Britain, which is cool (if you think maps are cool. I do.). It details all the place names, roads, towns and cities, and interesting features alongside modern names and archeological finds. It’s huge and detailed, but light and fascinating so I’ll be bringing it along with me for sure.
Here’s the bit we’re interested in: London and Kent, or Londinium and Cantium. You can see the road from Shooters Hill (pretty much Greenwich on this map) to Durovernum Cantiacorum – or Canterbury – and beyond. That’s what I’ll be (mostly) walking. Compare it to today’s route!
How do people know where these roads and places are? A lot of Roman road history comes from the Antonine Itinerary, a list of places and distances in the Roman Empire – including in Britain. To the left is a map plotted by William Stukeley in the 1700s using the Itinerary as its source. You can see ‘Iter II’ there, which is our road. From the 1930s to 50s, Ivan D Margary went out to find evidence of many of these roads, and checking others efforts to do so. His 1955 book Roman Roads in Britain is the major work on this topic – and now sadly out of print.