Cotswold Archaeology has been working behind the scenes at the Roman Baths to re-expose elements of the complex not seen since excavations in the 1960s. Below you can see some of the results of the investigations so far in three dimensions.
Here, the archaeologists have partially excavated the infill of an early plunge bath. You can see the level to which the bath had been filled in back in the 1960s, as this is represented by the darker stonework towards the bottom of this 3D photograph. Towards the lower part of the image you can see Roman stonework representing the corner of the bath, with holes punched through the side walls through which a modern ceramic pipe passes. One of these holes may be an original Roman outlet allowing water from the Bath to flow away into a drain to the north. Much of the original flooring has been damaged or removed, but we know it was formed by pitched limestone blocks covered by a surface of hard red mortar. We also know from the 1960s excavation by Professor Barry Cunliffe that the mortar floor was not finely finished, and Cunliffe speculates it may have originally been lined with lead sheets.
We know from the 1960s investigation that this bath had a floor of limestone covered in a thick layer of red mortar, and that steps led down into the bath from the north. The steps are unfortunately not visible here, as they are obscured by the brick pillar sitting on a concrete base that you can see extending into the bottom corner of the trench. On the lower part of the bath’s wall you can see remnants of a thick layer of render, represented by the darker red staining. The Roman masonry continues to just above the top of the trench, above which is all Victorian masonry. In the base of the trench you can see a lump of fallen masonry. This may be the remnants of an earlier stone-built arch originally forming the roof of the vault (potentially medieval in date), before it was replaced in the 19th-century with the concrete roof you can see now. www.cotswoldarchaeology.co.uk
This photogrammetric model is of the Roman Baths – Archway Project Area. This archaeological dig took place underneath York Street and Swallow Street, in an area of the Roman Baths not currently open to the public. This area will form part of the new Access and Investigation Zones in the Roman Baths Learning Centre, and the work was carried out to find out more about the archaeology of the site.