Phil Barker ( bottom left) shows the s ite t o a v is itor. Th e surv iv ing Roma n wall know n as the 'Old Work' can be see n cent re left. with t he w alls of t he bath laid ou t to its left. The 'grav el street' can be seen top right of t he exc avated area. Just beyond it is the new museum, surrounded by a w ide corridor.
Photo: Sidney Renow.
VVROXETER A T last, af ter seven yea rs of excavation by up to 80 people a year, Phil ip Barker ha s completed the excavation of Layer 1 of the Baths Basilica at Wro xeter. In the process 5-6,000 tons of soil ha ve been removed, most of them by tr owelling . The top soil over the whole area has been removed ; the surface ben eath ha s been scrupulou sly brushed clean; ever y stone has been dr awn ; and a thous and vertical photograph s pro vide a photographic mosaic of the whole area. As a result, a la rge a rea of rub ble has been r evealed and recorded, appare ntly th e destru ct ion debr is of th e stone building that lies beneath it. Is all th is effor t worth while ?
Although at first sight , the whol e operation seems unp romising, yet meticulous excavation ha s r evealed differences withi n th e rub ble. Some areas are worn smooth show ing the y were used as pat hs. In oth er places, the rubble ap pears to have been deliberately laid . Then there are sto nes symm etri ca lly placed as if to serve as pad stones on which the door posts of a bu ildin g could be set. From th e slight hints it has gra dually becom e clear th at the who le area was covered by t im ber buildings, some of them larg e. T he pictur e that is reveale d is ofa completely un expected vigour in the last days of Roman Bri tain .
Although the whole ar ea of th e