Excavations 2018: The Silchester bath house

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Thanks to everybody who visited the bath house excavation over the summer. Our discoveries far exceeded expectations and we are already planning and looking forward to our 2019 season. We’ll be updating our website and social media feeds with lots more discoveries as we begin to analyse and put together all the evidence uncovered over the past few months.

First dug by Edwardian archaeologists in 1903-04, the bath house is located near a natural spring in the southeast of the town and is thought to be one of the earliest post-conquest masonry buildings in Calleva. Built askew to the later city street grid, the baths lie at the edge of the town’s early inner earthwork – using the spring as a source of water and the large defensive ditch for drainage. Trench 1 aimed to uncover much of the northern end of the building – the peristyle, associated colonnade and latrine – to see how it developed over time with the installation of the street.

Location of the baths

To the south, trenches 2 and 3 looked to reveal the relationship of the bath’s eastern wall to the ditch and nearby brook with this area providing one of the few unexcavated spaces within the Roman town. Trench 3 also focussed on one of the rooms on the eastern side of the building; thought to be the a tepidarium heated by an underfloor hypocaust system. The Edwardian excavation of the bathhouse also yielded one of Silchester’s first Nero tiles so we’ll be looking in post-ex for further evidence of the infamous first-century emperor’s influence in the town.

The 1905 plan

Visit our blog for more information about the trenches and what to expect in a Roman bath

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