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Archaeologia Cantiana -  Vol. 80    1965  page 73

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

found by the north-west wall of Room 48 and extending some way towards the north-west would support this, but demolition in the later reconstruction has not allowed this to be established beyond doubt. The corridor was floored with a layer of hard white mortar, varying in thickness from 2 to 4 inches; its full length is not yet known as its north-west wall lay beyond the excavated area.
   Room 48 (6 by 6 feet) was intended, in the original design of the bath-building, to function as the furnace-room serving the large laconicum (Room 32); it was floored with bridging-tiles, which were laid directly on the subsoil and projected into the flue to form the latter's floor as far as the under-floor of the hypocaust in the laconicum (Fig. 3, Section A-B, Layer 31). This floor soon perished, however, and the furnace-room was re-floored with opus signinum, which varied in thickness from 1 to 4 inches (Fig. 3, Section A-B, Layer 28) and was laid down over some debris layers (Fig. 3, Section A-B, Layers 29 and 30) resulting from the wearing of the flue and also from a partial reconstruction of the flue towards the east in order both to shorten its rather extended length and to avoid the excessive loss of heat supplied by the furnace; no direct evidence for such a reconstruction was found, but that this must be the case is inferred from the complete absence of any cheeks at the higher level in the exposed section. No entrance into Room 48 was found (cf. Room 46, below), and all its enclosing walls were undoubtedly of the same construction and showed no signs of any entrance blocked in a later reconstruction; the logical position for such an entrance would be where shown in the plan (Fig. 2), through the south-west wall of the room, which would allow the furnace to be tended from the open courtyard to the south-west. The area to the south-west of Room 48 was completely exposed to the subsoil, but no evidence was found either of walls, or even construction trenches, to suggest that Room 48 may have projected into the courtyard. There is also the slight possibility, already mentioned in connection with Room 47, that an entrance into Room 48 may have been sited in its north-west wall rather than in its south-west wall. The surprising feature, however, of this room is its small size; for, even if allowance is made for an extension some 2 feet to the north-east at the time of the shortening of the flue into the laconicum and laying down of its opus signinum floor, an area of 8 feet by 6 feet is scarcely a sufficiently large space for the furnace of a laconicum the size of Room 32, a fact which appears even more surprising when one considers the design of the bath building as a whole. In the event, it was found necessary to build, in Phase B? a new and larger furnace-room, Room 50, beyond the north-west wall of Rooms 47 and 48.
   Room 49 measured 13 feet 6 inches by 8 feet and was floored with a layer of hard yellow mortar to a thickness of some 3 inches (Fig. 3,

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