Bath house found in villa dig

By Emily Pearce

Wednesday, August 12, 2009


Bath house found in villa dig

Briony Lalor taking part in The Big Dig at Brading Roman Villa. Picture by Robin Crossley.

THE Big Dig excavation at Brading Roman Villa has unearthed an exciting new find.

A team of professionals and volunteers, led by leading British archaeologist Prof Sir Barry Cunliffe, has discovered a full Roman bath suite — complete with hot baths and a cold plunge pool.

"We are extremely pleased with the find," said Sir Barry.

"It’s slightly ruined around the foundations, but you can clearly see the baths. The suite is tucked well away from the rest of the villa, so I think it might pre-date the villa to when there was a timber house on the site."

The Big Dig team, who will be at the villa’s south range until next Saturday (August 22), hope to discover how the baths were plumbed in and heated, and learn more about the history of the suite.

"We are hoping to find some really tight evidence for dating the bath suite," said Sir Barry.

The first Big Dig, held at the north range last summer, unearthed fascinating discoveries including a bracelet, several rings, a fibula brooch and a second century coin.

Providing funding can be obtained, it is hoped the Big Dig programme, run jointly by the Oglander Roman Trust, which manages the villa, and the Friends of Brading Roman Villa, will run for five years.

The Big Dig site is currently open to the public, who can visit Brading Roman Villa to watch the team in action.

Sir Barry said: "I very much hope the Big Dig will encourage interest in the villa. It’s a fabulous site and we are constantly finding out more about the people who lived there. It really is a living archaeological site."


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