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Archaeologia Cantiana -  Vol. 80    1965  page 74

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

Section A-B, Layer 12), which was laid partly upon clay and partly upon the pre-existing plough-soil (Fig. 3, Section A-B, Layers 26 and 27); this floor may have been the under-floor of a hypocaust. Its depth, which is about the same as that of the under-floor in Room 32, would suggest this; on the other hand, no direct evidence was found for a flue through its north-west wall, and to supply heat to yet another room would further strain the likely output of Room 48. It is more probable therefore, that this room was not heated, which would also suit better its presumed function as an apodyterium. No entrance into this room, through its south-west wall from the open courtyard, has been found, nor a doorway into the frigidarium.
   Room 30,
the frigidarium of the suite, has now been confirmed to occupy a total area of very nearly 19 by 29 feet 6 inches and containing its cold-plunge bath, Room 31. Mention was made in the 1963 Report6 that both the frigidarium itself and its plunge-bath were floored with mosaic pavements, which had been removed presumably in order that their tesserae might be re-used. By a stroke of very good fortune, it became possible this season to recover a large part of this material in Room 46, obviously surplus to requirements, and to reconstruct, thanks to the painstaking efforts of Mr. David S. Neal, sufficient of these rejected fragments so as to learn something of their patterns (see Appendix, and frontispiece).7
The following additional points about these mosaics may be made here. The fact that the backing of the gladiatorial mosaic was as much as 3 inches thick is quite consistent with the evidence of excavation; for this mosaic pavement occupied a rectangular portion of the frigidarium, some 15 by 19 feet in size and excluding the area immediately south-west of Room 31,8 and was laid down on a bedding of compact yellow mortar and gravel whereas the thickness of 1 inch for the backing of the 'dolphin' mosaic is due to the fact that this pavement was laid down on the bottom of the plunge-bath, which consisted of 1 foot of opus signinum (see Fig. 3, Section K-L, Layer 25 in the 1963 Report). The difference, both in consistency and in thickness, of the bedding of these mosaics also accounts for the great variation in the size, of the recovered fragments; the gladiatorial fragments are' generally much larger than the 'dolphin' ones as the former could be removed much more easily from their relatively less solid foundations. The point made below (see Appendix), that the 'dolphin' mosaic fragments seem to have been subjected to water action, is wholly consistent with the position of the mosaic on the bottom of a plunge-bath.
6 Arch. Cant, lxxix (1964), 124.
   7 1 am indebted to Professor S. S. Frere, V-P.S.A. and to Mr. A. J. Taylor, F.S.A., through whose good offices this work has been undertaken; also, to Dr. D. J. Smith, F.S.A., for expert advice.
   8 Arch. Cant, lxxix (1964), 125.

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