The Bath and Camerton Archaeological Society have been busy under York Street – helping prepare a part of the Roman Baths complex – normally unseen by the public – for upcoming excavations. However, during February, there will be special tours for people to watch the ‘dig’ in action.
Volunteers from BACAS have been carrying out geophysical survey work – using various techniques including resistivity profiling – to try and locate the route of a Roman culvert and identify any other underground features.
They have also been using temperature measurements to try and identify any hot spots on the ground that might suggest the presence of hot spring water beneath.
The survey work has revealed some interesting results. There is a lot of variation in materials below the Roman floor levels, which suggests the Romans were doing a lot below ground in this area of the site. This includes the presence of drains that would have drained water from the baths.
The results are currently being analysed and interpreted.
Meanwhile this month, as part of the Archway Project – new tours will take visitors behind the scenes to see the largest archaeological excavations at the Roman Baths for more than 30 years.
Highlights will include:
- Trenches that are being excavated by the archaeologists
- A Roman exercise area
- An in-situ stylobate – a colonnaded walkway which contains a Roman doorway leading through to a possible row of shops, where traders might have sold memorabilia to visitors, oil for the sauna, or food and drink
- The other side of the south wall of the Great Bath, behind the curved alcoves (exedra) where people relaxed
The areas being excavated will be transformed as part of the Archway Project into an exciting archaeological investigation zone where schoolchildren will be able to participate in hands-on archaeological activities, due to open in 2019.
The tours, that will run every 30 minutes throughout February from 10.10am-3.40pm, will be free with admission to the Roman Baths. Please give a small, optional donation to the Roman Baths Foundation to support the excavations. (Charity number: 1163044).