Prehistoric and Roman Perry Barr
Pollen and beetles
Pollen in a layer of peat and clay on a site in College Road showed that there was birch and pine woodland about 8900BC. It was replaced by alder and grassland by about 4400BC, with lime, alder and oak trees on higher ground.
Pollen and beetles from a former stream bed near the River Tame revealed how this part of Perry Barr looked in prehistoric and Roman times. The earliest level was dated to about 2750 BC by radiocarbon dating. This is during the Neolithic period or New Stone Age. Pollen from this layer was predominantly from trees and shrubs, mainly lime, Scots pine, alder and hazel. The later level dates to about 330 AD, towards the end of the Roman period. By this time the pollen is predominantly from herbs and the beetles are species that live in damp, open grassland. There were also dung beetles indicating grazing animals nearby.
Ryknield Street Roman road
Part of the Roman Ryknield Street is extremely well-preserved in Sutton Park where the road surface, side ditches and quarry pits can be seen. It was constructed in the first century AD to link the fort at Metchley with another fort at Wall near Lichfield.
Although some modern roads in south Birmingham such as Pershore Street and Bristol Road South follow the lines of Roman roads, the exact line of Ryknield Street through what is now north Birmingham was unclear. Excavations near Wellhead Lane in Perry Barr revealed a ditch which would have been on the eastern side of Ryknield Street and showed that part of Wellhead Lane itself follows the Roman road line. More of the roadside ditch was found near Stoneleigh Road further south. Ryknield Street would have crossed the River Tame east of Perry Bridge.