A Tour of the Trenches day 5

I’m having the day off tomorrow so I promised Nancy to do a catch up on the blog.

I left my glasses in Gloucestershire so apologies for any blips..

Time to tour the trenches as we had a trench each on day five. Today was a cloudy still and warm day. Ideal digging weather.

Luke's trench A at the west end of the late 4th century North Baths Room 21. Lots of sand with some stones. Looking east towards Robs trench B

Luke’s trench A at the west end of the late 4th century North Baths Room 21. Lots of sand with some stones. Looking east towards Robs trench B

We have three trenches now in Room 21 which is the late 4th century changing room for the baths. It lies above a 2nd century set of baths so we are peeling off the layers to see what lies beneath. Luke has trench A in the NW corner and he has found sand beneath the 4th century brick cement floor. Rubble and sand and…more sand. The potentially fabulous 2nd century mosaic of the early baths was not reached by the end of Luke’s last day with us. Come back next week Luke..we will find it.

Trench B Rob lifted the hoof print tile and cleaned around it and found that our random scatter of stones is a stone structure surrounded by tiles...

Trench B Rob lifted the hoof print tile and cleaned around it and found that our random scatter of stones is a stone structure surrounded by tiles…

To the east in the NE corner of 21, Rob is finding stuff. against the east wall. The apparently random scatter of stone and tile has turned out to be a small stone structure surrounded by clay floor tiles. Not sure what it is yet..

Tony's trench C started today to find the other side of the blocked doorway.Looking north east towards B and overlooking Room 24 and trenches E top left and D bottom right.

Tony’s trench C started today to find the other side of the blocked doorway.Looking north east towards B and overlooking Room 24 and trenches E top left and D bottom right.


The new trench started today is C in the SE corner of 21 and Tony took off the modern gravel and cleaned up the opus signinum (brick cement floor). We hope to find a flight of steps below this which lead through the blocked door clearly visible on the other side of the wall.

East of 21 is the apsidal room 24. It has a curving end and we wondered whether there would be a mosaic in this room. There are two trenches D across the south side below and aligned with B and trench E which is examining the curving end.

The west end of trench D Room 24 looking down from B in Room 21. The stony layer bottom right is the inside of a 2nd century room  to the left is a clay layer which is where a wall once ran. Later Room  24 was created with its underfloor heating . If you look carefully you can see patches of pink plaster and mortar where the hypocaust pillars once stood.

The west end of trench D Room 24 looking down from B in Room 21. The stony layer bottom right is the inside of a 2nd century room to the left is a clay layer which is where a wall once ran. Later Room 24 was created with its underfloor heating . If you look carefully you can see patches of pink plaster and mortar where the hypocaust pillars once stood.

Nancy dug the west end of D and Fay the east. The earlier villa walls are emerging and they ignore and run under the later 4th century rooms. Nearly all have red stones, evidence of a fire that destroyed the 2nd century villa.

Trench E where we are  ;looking at the curving apse.. Another stony surface and the inside of a 2nd century room perhaps. The apse seems all to be a Victorian rebuild nothing Roman there.

Trench E where we are ;looking at the curving apse.. Another stony surface and the inside of a 2nd century room perhaps. The apse seems all to be a Victorian rebuild nothing Roman there.

No mosaic left in 24 because it collapsed from a height through the hypocaust pillars to become a jumbled heap below. Fragments survive and the sites of the pillars marked out as plaster foundation pads which had been built along the line of a robbed out 2nd century wall.

In E traces of an earlier room but the surviving curving wall is four courses of Victorian rebuild with no Roman foundations.

Trench F in the cold plunge room 25c. Early days.

Trench F in the cold plunge room 25c. Early days.

Trench F was my trench today .It is a revisit of the 2nd century cold plunge pool uncovered last year. Still into the upper rubble infill at the moment..

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