Archaeological dig uncovers new details about Roman Baths
An archaeological dig at the world-famous Roman Baths in Bath has uncovered new details about the history of the baths – including the remains of red paint on the outside Roman wall of the Great Bath, which implies that the building was red!
The dig took place underneath York Street and Swallow Street, in an area of the Roman Baths not currently open to the public.
This area will form part of a new Roman Baths Learning Centre, due to open in 2019, and the work was carried out to find out more about the archaeology of the site.
Highlights of the dig included:
• Discovering wall plaster with a red painted finish still adhering to the outside of a Roman wall of the Great Bath, which implies that this part of the building was painted red.
• Investigating a Roman bath from the earliest phase of the Roman Baths
• Investigating a second Roman Bath beneath York Street
• Finding the footings of the Roman walls of the Great Bath
• Establishing the height of the Roman floors to the south of the Great Bath
• Identifying a pre-Roman land surface beneath York Street
• Gaining a better understanding of the extent of disturbance to the area during Georgian and Victorian times
Samples have been taken for analysis by scientists at Bournemouth University, who will try to work out where building materials used in the different phases of construction of the Roman Baths came from.
The Archway Centre project
The work is all part of the Archway Centre project, which will create a Roman Baths Learning Centre above the former city laundry in Swallow Street and a World Heritage Centre at 10 York Street.
Visitors will be able to walk through spaces beneath York Street excavated by City Architect Major Davis in the 1880s, and see parts of the Roman Baths that have never before been open for regular public access!
School groups will have access to state-of-the-art new spaces, including a digging pit where children can uncover replica Roman objects.
For more information about the Roman Baths visit www.romanbaths.co.uk
Remember: If you are a member of a local YAC club, you can get free entry with your YAC Pass Card.
Blog by Hannah Collingbourne, Roman Baths