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THE ROMANS

Plan of Wroxete r baths showing the swimming bath (piscina)

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Inn makes total excavation impossible.) The shape is very different from normal baths, being long and narrow, 135 feet by 18 feet, similar in fact to the shape of the bath discovered in the Palaestra at Herculaneum. The depth of the bath was 3.5 feet. It appears to have been more successful than the two previous examples for it was twice altered, the floor being raised 18 inches and the length decreased to 109 ft. The date of the original bath is uncertain but appears to be second century. It is not known how long it lasted but it was certainly out of use by the end of the third century.

Wroxeter

Another attempt to build a swimming bath was made at Wroxeter, the Roman town near Shrewsbury,

but in this case the attempt was abortive for the baths were never even finished. The swimming bath at Wroxeter was, in fact, designed to be part of the great public baths which form the major part of the known site today, having been excavated in the nineteenth century and re-excavated by Kathleen Kenyon in 1937-8. Graham Webster is now extending the area of excavation and has uncovered a swimming bath 43 by 23 feet, with a 5 foot apse at the north end. The bath was situated in an open courtyard some 40 feet from the main bath block. The depth of water could not have been more than 3 feet; the flooring is unfinished and a half-finished paving slab incised with guide lines for the masons was found abandoned. The site was later used as a town rubbish dump and includes late Antonine pottery and burnt material from the Praefurnium of the adjacent smaller bath suite.

Eccles

Yet another swimming bath was discovered in 1962 in the villa at Eccles near Maidstone in Kent. This is a very interesting example of a bath on the borderlines between an ordinary plunge bath and a swimming bath. The excavations at Eccles have so far revealed an elaborate series of baths spanning at least three periods, the swimming bath being constructed in the latest major period known so far (180-290). In its size it is much smaller than the previous examples, being only 44 feet by 11 feet, and it is placed at one end of the bath complex. However, it has

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