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Archaeologia Cantiana -  Vol. 80    1965  page 77

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

present case, the flue arch below Rooms 58 and 46 is well preserved because it was blocked (Plate IIIA), and its top is 2 feet higher than the bottom of the aperture for the bath drain, leaving room for a testudo of 2-feet radius. On either side of the testudo arch, there was a chimney set in the thickness of the wall (Plate IIIB). On the basis of the testudo tank and the drain, the height of the hypocaust would have been about 3 feet.
   The two chimneys (Plate IIIB), built inside the north-west wall of Room 58 and intended for the dispersal of smoke and gases from both the furnace and the hypocaust it served, were rectangular and quite enclosed within the bonding-tile courses of the wall: they showed no traces of rendering, which would have been necessary had they been intended as water conduits, nor of soot which must have been cleared away when, in Phase B, the south-east face of the wall was cut back thus exposing the two chimneys.
   A vertical water-conduit (Plate IIIB) was constructed inside the north-west wall of Room 58; it was rounded, rendered with opus signinum and contained clay-pipes, the lowest of which curved beyond the inner face of the wall to project into the hypocaust space. Clearly, the clay-pipes would be needed as a shield for the lead-piping, which is assumed to have been placed inside them in order to feed water from the boiler into the plunge-bath, passing below the hypocaust and entering the plunge through an inlet duct, which would have been provided for this purpose.12 Excavation has provided no apparent reason for this circuitous way of supplying hot water to the plunge rather than through a normal inlet directly from a higher level, but the interpretation suggested above would seem to fit best the excavated evidence.
   The plunge-bath was drained by means of an outflow drain through its north-west wall (Plate IIIB and Fig. 1), which had sides rendered with opus signinum; free-standing roofing- and bonding-tiles were placed inside this channel to form the bottom, sides and top of the drain, but no trace remained either of its lead-piping or its connection with the plunge, both presumably had been removed and destroyed in the later reconstruction of the area. The water from this plunge-bath was drained directly into the main drain, which the drain from Room 58 joined below the tessellated floor of Room 51 and a little outside the limits of the excavated area.
   Room 46 was the furnace-room supplying both the hypocaust in Room 58 and heating the water for the plunge-bath. It measured 11 feet 6 inches by 10 feet 6 inches, and its walls were of the standard build and thickness (Plates IIIA and IIIB), except for the wall separating it from Room 58; these walls were constructed inside a rectangular excavation cut into the subsoil for the purpose of building the praefurnium
12  I am indebted to Professor S. S. Frere, V-P.S.A., for visiting the site and discussing with me the problems of water-supply in this room.

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