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Archaeologia Cantiana -  Vol. 80    1965  page 75

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

   Room 28, which was excavated in 1963, must have obtained its supply of heat through Room 39, though demolition and further building in Period IV have prevented the discovery of a flue connecting these two rooms; it is now very probable that this room, too, was a hot plunge-bath which, less hot than Room 58, would have become the main hot plunge-bath from Phase B onward (see also Room 39, below). The evidence for this is a large drain which, beginning from the west corner of this room, passed underneath the floors of Rooms 58, 55, and 56, and thence to the north-west of the site below the courtyard wall and the tessellated floor of Room 51.
   This is the main drain of the bath building, fed by the drains serving Rooms 31 and 58. It was very solidly constructed, with walls of ragstone set in bright yellow mortar to a thickness of 1 foot 6 inches; the bottom consisted of roofing-tiles set with their flanges uppermost in bright yellow mortar directly upon the subsoil and overlapped by the sides of the drain. To the south-east of Room 51 and under the courtyard wall, the drain was arched and this would probably have been the case as far as the north-west wall of the main range of rooms; the depth of the drain, from the top of the arch to the top of its tiled floor, was a little over 3 feet, and the arch was constructed of bonding-tiles set in opus signinum (Plate IIB). There were no traces of any rendering, either in opus signinum or mortar, on the sides of the drain, and it may be concluded that it contained lead piping.9
Room 39 was completely cleared where not covered by the massive north-west wall of the baths in Period V; the full size of the room was 32 by 12 feet 6 inches, excluding the apse, Room 38, which was fully excavated in 1963. The south-west wall of Room 39, which abutted against the wall of Rooms 53 and 54, was only 1 foot 6 inches thick whereas its north-west wall was the standard thickness of 2 feet; to the south-west, this room terminates against an earlier wall, 2 feet 6 inches wide, which may have continued further to the north-west beyond its present termination at the south-west wall of Room 57 where it was found removed. The floor of Room 39 was of opus signinum, 2-3 inches thick, upon which were found slight traces of its hypocaust-pilae. Heat for the hypocaust was provided through a flue at the southeast end of the south-west wall of the room from its own furnace-room (Room 52). The function of this room, certainly in this phase and probably throughout the whole period, was that of a caldarium.
   Room 52,
the praefurnium of Room 39, was only partly exposed. It was 11 feet 6 inches wide and had walls of standard construction, except for the south-east wall which was only 1 foot 6 inches thick.
   9 A few courses of bonding-tiles found in 1963 in a narrow trench outside the north-west wall of Room 28 and thought then to be part of a drain are now known to belong to the foundation courses of the walls forming the east corner of Room 68.

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