The presence of Romans in the area is indisputable
Aldbrough is possibly one of the most important unexcavated Roman sites in the UK, and is certainly the most Northern city in the whole Empire to contain such wealthy citizens.
Mosaics and villas support the theory that Aldborough was a country retreat for weathy Romano-British tribal leaders, who probably reflected from their centrally heated luxury villas that perhaps the Roman way wasn't so bad after all!
Rich agricultural land such as that surrounding Marton Cum Grafton would have not been ignored by the Romans.
York and Aldborough would have needed feeding, leading to farms springing up all along Dere Street (todays A6525) to feed the hungry city folk and the Legions stationed from York to the wall.
Many land owners living in the region of Marton Cum Grafton would have grown rich from having such a close, wealthy customer base to supply.
Evidence for this comes from finds in the previously mentioned Deiul Hill Tumulous (Neolithic Chapter). When the tunulous was dug out to relay the Roman Road in the 17Th century a large number of Roman coins and buriels were identified.
Even though the tumulous has gone, who knows what lstill lies on the site, waiting to be discovered? And who knows where the villas of these rich land owners were located?
The history group have identified a number of possible sites for these villas, and hope to carry out further investigations in 2008.
The historian Hargrove records the finding of the engraved Roman Stone, that now resides in the Aldbrough Museum, as follows: “In the year 1776, was found, at about 200 yards distance from this tumulus, a votive stone, of a very coarse grit, seven feet long, and 18 inches in diameter; inscribed:
Various have been the conjectures, concerning this inscription; which has proved, hitherto, a cruz criticorum. A learned antiquary, in a late periodical publication (Vide Gent Magazine, August, 1787) has given it to Decius, the successor of Philip, in the empire: says, it is evidently a military stone; and fills up the void in the Roman History of Britain, in those disordered times of the roman empire, where history itself is almost silent. MANY coins were found in this tumulus, of various emperors; particularly of Vespasian, Domitian, and Trajan”
All the above indicates that Roman Marton cum Grafton was a well off place, next to an important road and therefore cosmopolitan enough for its largely British inhabitants to have aspired to Roman ways, dress and possessions.
Other minor finds of the Roman period are:
1. A coin found in 1939 near the current site of the Water Tower.
2. Pottery fragments have been recorded between Marton and Arkendale
It has further been suggested that the Romans were particularly attracted to this area by their love of fish - it is certain that the Marton Carrs were then significantly larger in extent and easily able to support a healthy fishing community.
There have been finds of "boats" in the area, but none have survived to be assessed and dated.