Something has always fascinated by roads, causeways, trackways, especially of prehistoric nature. People first choosing where to lay these tracks, what routes were important to them and why? How much do you know about your locals roads or paths? How old they are? Who originally built them? How long that route has been used for? Why? I find it is an often overlooked part of archaeology, but a fundamental one.
I am going to pick a few of my favorite and dedicate a few articles to exploring them and their significance. I am going to start of with the predecessor to the Sweet Track, The Post Track.
The Post Track is a Neolithic causeway in the Somerset Levels, dated to around 3838BC. This makes it about 30 years older than the Sweet Track of the same area.
It was constructed from long ash planks, with lime and hazel posts spread out down its length at 3 meter intervals. The trackway follows closely to The Sweet Track and was originally interpreted as construction platform.
It is thought that the trackway was a permanent fixture in the landscape, being maintained, updated and finally replaced by the Sweet Track. Some of the planks were reused on the making of the Sweet Track. It also speculated that it may have a special ritual significance mainly based off evidence found at the later Sweet Track.
So what makes the The Post Track significant? It survives! For me this is the main thing, the waterlogged and peaty conditions of the Somerset Levels are excellent for preserving wood/timber. The Post Track is one the oldest examples in this country of a purpose built trackway.
The subject of the next post (no pun intended 😉 ) will be the Sweet Track.
(Please note featured image is just a stock image and is not any form of interpretation about what the Post Track might have looked like)