wrote Sir Ian Rich¬ mond in his Pelican on Roman Britain, "has not received the attention it deserves".The root cause of the trouble was that although the City of Bath magnanimously purchased the site of the great Roman bath in 1882, sufficient funds were not available for the City engineer, Major Davies, to carry out excavations. Consequently clearance work had to be undertaken on a shoestring, and he even had to sell the Roman lead that lined the reservoir in order to raise money. He was strongly criticised for this, and no detailed account of the work was ever published. The first proper plan in fact was that published by Haverfield in the Victoria County History of Somerset in 1906. But this, though useful, was inadequate. Professor Richmond, appreciating the importance of the site, decided to do something about it, and from 1954 onwards he began a study of the bathing establishment, supplemented by small scale excavation. In 1964, shortly before his death, he had to give up the project only partly finished, and he handed over the work to Barry Cunliffe who was already working on the other Roman monuments in the town. A summary of the work up to now, to be published as a report of the research committee of the Society of Antiquaries, has just been finished; this account here is merely a brief foretaste of the feast that is to come, and is based on a lecture given by Professor Cunliffe to the Society of Antiquaries.
Bath is the site of the most notable hot springs in Britain, where the water emerges from the ground at a temperature of 120 deg. F. In the 18th century these springs led to the construction of the finest of our
Among the many antiquities of Roman Britain that Professor Sir Ian Richmond studied, none was more important than Bath. The Society of Antiquaries, therefore, have dedicated to him the research report on Bath that they are publishing early next year. These illustrations are taken from the report in which the work of Sir Ian is completed by Professor Barry Cunliffe.
Georgian cities; but in Roman times it was no less a centre of health and culture. The Celts worshipped such springs and, although we have no archaeological evidence for the Iron Age inhabitants, yet the Roman name of the town, Aquae Sulis, reveals the name of the deity to have been Sulis, whom the Romans conflated with Minerva. The Romans with their passion for bathing, would not only have appreciated an endless supply of hot water, but would have also valued it for its medicinal and curative qualities.
Bath lies on the Fosse Way, and in the early days of the occupation it may well have been a military fort—though here again evidence is lacking. Soon, however, it was established as a town straggling along the Roman road, and when, towards the end of the 3rd century, it acquired walls, these enclosed an area of some 23 acres. Yet, although numerous casual finds and tombstones prove Bath to have been a town of great culture and wealth, only one site, the heart of the City has been adequately explored. This was a large complex that consisted of three great buildings surrounding a central spring. To the north was the temple, recently described by Professor Cunliffe in Antiquity 1966, while to the south were the baths, and to the east a corner has been found of a building of a monumental nature that might possibly have been a theatre. Of these, the spring and most of the baths are laid open to the public. The temple, however, and most of the possible theatre are hidden under modern buildings, where parts of them are, nevertheless, accessible to the determined archaeologist, provided he is prepared to dig small trenches in the vaults beneath the cellar floors, amidst the high temperature and sweltering humidity of the swirling steam.
Two main sources of new information have been used. First, there were the modern excavations, mostly narrow trenches, put down first by Professor Richmond at the east end of the baths, and later by Professor Cunliffe at the south and west ends of the baths and to the north under the modern cellars in the temple area. But secondly, and perhaps even more important
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