Silchester Bath House 2018 – Week 2
All three trenches are now open and have had two weeks of excavating students uncovering their archaeological remains.
Trench 1: Has uncovered the suspicious decorative tiles in the south side to reveal an intact archway at the end of the latrine. Large amounts of standing masonry has also been uncovered, the alignments of which suggest multiple building phases of the latrine. In the central area, there are also stratigraphic suggestions of an entrance leading to what the Edwardian excavators called the palaestra (exercise courtyard). Excitingly, a partially intact Roman column has also been found and thought to be one of three acting as a frontage to the Bathhouse! A full update on this next week. Evidence for the Roman street and further architecture is also being uncovered to the west of this trench so watch this space!
Trench 2: Some complicated stratigraphy has revealed multiple walls and floor surfaces within trench 2. The apodyterium (changing room) has been clearly identified, but the surrounding remains are as of yet undated. The complexity of this area will no doubt become unravelled over the coming weeks.
Trench 3: This trench has now uncovered the extent of the hypocaust area, which excitingly included a handful of pilae (stacks of tiles for controlling heat and airflow beneath floors). It will be interesting to see how many of these stacks remain under the plough damage. At the eastern end of the trench a large ditch, thought to be an Iron Age defensive boundary has been planned and next week the excavators will open it up!
So much excitement this week and the excavation is only halfway through!