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Archaeologia Cantiana -  Vol. 80    1965  page 72

Excavations at Eccles, 1964: Third Interim Report.
By A. P. Detsicas, M.A., F.S.A. Scot

rooms, rendered necessary mainly by the disuse of one of the furnaces (Room 46) and the construction of another (Room 65) for the hot plunge-baths, and also by the need to provide an adequate furnace-room for the laconicum (Room 32).
   The position of the laconicum, projecting beyond the main line of the bath building, and the absence, owing to methodical demolition in later periods, of any evidence for a main entrance into the baths, make it difficult to reconcile the plan of the earliest Eccles bath building entirely with either of Krencker's two main types.4 It is clear, however, that the bath suite provided two alternative kinds of bathing practice, dry heat and damp heat and, if the second alternative were to be adopted by the bather, then the plan of the first bath building could be considered as conforming in general with Krencker's Ringtyp.5 In this case, the bather would progress, at any rate in Phase A, from the apodyterium (Room 49) into the frigidarium (Room 30) before entering the tepidarium (Room 28) and the caldarium (Room 39); from these rooms, he would be expected to pass through Rooms 55-57, before the main hot plunge-bath (Room 58), and emerge either directly through the frigidarium into the apodyterium or, first, by means of the tepidarium and, next, through the frigidarium.
From Phase B, however, it is quite clear that, with the commissioning of Room 50, the baths would be entered through the long corridor (Room 59) and the apodyterium (Room 60); and, if the bather should adopt the alternative of dry heat, he would then visit the laconicum before proceeding into the frigidarium and its cold plunge-bath (Room 31) where the colder temperature and immersion into the cold water of the plunge would be expected, by closing the pores of his skin opened in the very hot temperature of the laconicum, to protect him from chilling.
   The walls of the bath building were built, with a few exceptions such as the wall of the laconicum and others mentioned below, to a standard thickness of 2 feet with ragstone set in a bright yellow mortar which, when dry, is almost the same colour as the mortar used for the construction of the third baths in Period V.

   Room 47 was in this phase 6 feet wide, narrower than in later phases, and is interpreted as a corridor leading towards the main rooms of the baths; there is a slight possibility that at least part of this area was associated with the furnace-room (Room 48), and some soot
   4 D. Krencker, Vergleickende Untersuchungen romischer Thermen, in D. Krencker and E. Kruger, Die Trierer Kaiaerthermen, Augsburg, 1929, 117-8.
   5 ibid., 178.

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