Silchester Bath House 2018 – Final Weeks and Pack Down
After the first half of Archaeology at the University of Reading Field School 2018, it’s clear to see that Silchester was a booming success. Three trenches filled with multi-phase archaeological features and masonry, with wonderful finds and environmental preservation to match, the bath-house was a site that just kept on giving.
These photographs show the final weeks of the excavation, including the hard-working team who shifted so much earth to uncover the ruins.
Archaeologically, the excavation improved, corrected and built upon the earlier Edwardian excavations in 1903-04. Trench 1 revealed a columned facade to the entrance of the complex, closely located to a latrine, a street and an exercise yard. Also, multiple walls showing repairs and extensions during the (potentially 3 centuries) of spatial use. Trench 2’s complicated stratigraphy unravelled to provide crucial information on the intervention impact of Medieval robbing and Edwardian excavation on areas such as the changing rooms and drainage systems. Beautiful finds from both areas in Trench 2 will no doubt make the publication. Trench 3 helped to decipher the composite hypocaust and its stratigraphic position within the wider landscape of room additions and abandonment. The ever-elusive Iron Age ditch may not have revealed it’s cut, but the slumping opus signinum and charcoal heavy layers suggest there is more excitement to come from that area…
For some, Silchester 2018 was a revival of old and well-loved digs, but I would dare say that for all, it was a pleasant combination of the old and the new. There was a huge amount of interaction from a range of people with equally diverse backgrounds and experiences. The growing interest of the local inhabitants saw visitor numbers soar and the excitement of future students was infectious. From the high work rate to the high-quality teaching, the modern methodologies and the plans of the last century, Silchester was a multi-faceted success.
If you would like to hear more about Silchester, look at the projects page for the full photo album. Or, if you have an interest in joining us next year, head over to Silchester Archaeology and the UoR Archaeology department page (above) for further details.