It’s the weekend, so why not have a new Special Edition? (I’ll be honest, I didn’t actually write this today, I wrote it several days ago, as I’m revising practical papers this weekend). Anyway, the title of this post is of three things that seem pretty unrelated at first, so why a special edition about them? Well, one day, while procrastinating, I noticed something interesting, a correlation between them. Also, it’s a little taste of home, which is nice to remember in the midst of all these dastardly exams.
First of all, we need a geological map of Britain. The area with the box is what we’re looking at today. Look at the arrow. You see there is a horseshoe shape of greens and blues in that region? Good! Make sure you remember that shape:
Right, now that we’ve got the geological basis of the post laid down, I’d better get on with the snow (appalling pun intended)! (I know it’s hard to imagine snow in June, with its (occasional) warm sunny days, but give it a go). Earlier this year, there was a lot of snow across our verdant isle, and a satellite picture was taken by those chaps over at NASA:
What do we see? That same horseshoe shape. Why is it there? It’s fairly straightforward. There was a large fold present originally, but now the centre part has eroded away. As a result, there are now two series of hills that meet in the west (the North Downs – known to me as “home”, and the South Downs). Snow settles more easily on higher ground, because it’s colder, so it stays on these hills for longer.
Now, let’s move onto where the Romans come into this. “What have they got to do with this geology?” I hear you ask. Well, let’s have a look. The Romans were a busy bunch, first invading properly in 43, and not withdrawing until around 410 or so. As a result, there is a lot of Roman archæology knocking about. A while ago, I came across a map of where Roman coins had been found over the past 20 years or so, and noticed an interesting pattern. Yes readers, that horseshoe is back once more (highlighted below).
Not being a Roman expert, I can’t really make any solid argument as to why more coins may have been found here relative to the centre of the area. Maybe my sister (if she’s reading this) could elaborate, as Classics is her thing. Perhaps the Romans preferred the hills for their strategic value? Either way, it’s an interesting example of how geology can shape a civilisation.