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Archaeologia Cantiana -  Vol. 80    1965  page 79

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

height cannot be accurately deduced but, from the measurements of its emplacement, its diameter could not have been much more than 6 feet, a size commensurate with the volume of hot water needed in a plunge-bath the size of Room 58.
   Room 46 did not continue in use after the reconstruction of part of the bath building which marked the end of this phase but, though it was neither destroyed, demolished nor entirely abandoned, it is impossible to suggest what use it could have been put to; it remained intact, however, until the very end of Period III as the mass of mosaic fragments from the destroyed frigidarium pavements and much building debris, containing two coins of Nerva, lay directly upon the soot and ash inside the furnace-room.
   At the close of this phase, the boiler and the testudo tank were removed, and the arch of the testudo was blocked with bonding-tiles in the usual bright yellow mortar (Plate IIIA); this helped to preserve the south-east wall of the furnace-room in such good condition that it was retained and incorporated into the bath building in Period IV; it survived to a total height of some 7 feet.
   At some time within this period, the dating of which is still to be established, the bath building underwent one major addition (Room 50) and several reconstructions of its existing rooms in the course of the subsequent Phases B-E of Period III; and, though the reasons for the addition of Room 50 are fairly obvious, it is not possible to say what caused the major reconstructions affecting the middle range of the bath building to the south-east of the disused Room 46. No evidence was found for any destruction by fire or decay in the structure of the walls; quite to the contrary, the overall impression gained is one of methodical reconstruction rather than piecemeal repair. It could be that the size of Room 58 proved too large and uneconomic, and it was decided to convert Room 28 into a hot plunge-bath replacing Room 58; all this, however plausible, can only be conjectured since excavation has provided the facts only but no clues to their causes.

   During these two phases, steps were taken to provide an adequate supply of heat for the laconicum, and Room 48 was then abandoned. The flue into the laconicum was blocked with mortared ragstone. The north-west wall of Room 48 and the north-east wall of Room 47 were demolished and levelled down before the laying of an opus signinum floor, some 4-5 inches thick (Fig. 3, Section A-B, Layer 12), at the same level as the floor of Room 60; this floor was extended to the south-east as far as the south-east wall of the old Room 48 and, to the north-east, up to a newly-built north-east wall, of standard thickness and construction, continuing the alignment of the north-east wall of the baths.

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