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Archaeologia Cantiana -  Vol. 84    1969  page 96
Excavations at Eccles Roman Villa, 1968: Seventh Interim Report.
By A. P. Detsicas, M.A., F.S.A. Scot

have been lower than 4 ft. 6 in. from the present surface; it is scarcely deep enough to indicate the presence of a cellar.
   On this basis, what was thought in 1967 to be the floor-level could be tentatively re-interpreted as the top of the uppermost of a number of steps such as would be found inside a bath. Support for this suggestion can be found not only in the fact that the debris filling in the 1967 trench dropped below the opus signinum then considered as the bath-floor but also, and much more to the point, in the opus signinum rendering on the inner surface of the north-west wall, which had survived, and the painted wall-plaster debris present in the backfilling, which would have rendered the wall above the opus signinum, i.e. above the water level. The alternative possibility that the room was first robbed of its materials and then excavation continued at depth for the purpose of obtaining clay can be discounted on the grounds that clay could be had more easily elsewhere and that it formed much of the back-filling. Furthermore, the subsoil material used to back-fill this feature argues that the area occupied by it was being levelled.
   Immediately beyond the line of the north-east wall in the larger of the two new trenches was found a layer of whitish mortar deposited directly upon the subsoil; its full extent is not known but, as it did not appear in the 1967 trench further to north-west, it is unlikely that it represents anything more than mortar being mixed at the time of the construction of Room 94. A large part of a small, carinated reeded bowl, normally datable from Flavian times to the early second century A.D., was found embedded in this mortar deposit. It seems now clear that this feature was not built as early as provisionally suggested on the previous report and that the early-Flavian samian found below the level of the opus signinum step must be considered as rubbish-survival.
   The function of this long feature is still far from certain, though the suggestion put forward above that it may have been an open-air bath docs fit all the known facts of the excavation. Its proximity (about 28 ft.) to Room 93, the fronting corridor of the villa, makes it unlikely that it would have been retained beyond Period IV; it certainly had been demolished before Period VI as the cobbling, extending to south-east from the outer wall of Room 15, the corridor leading to the baths of that period, had been carried over the line of the feature's south-west wall.

Period IV, c. A.D. 65-120
Examination of the central range of rooms in this period of the villa's occupation continued and two further large rooms were added to its plan.

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