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Archaeologia Cantiana -  Vol. 89    1974  page 125
Excavations at Eccles Roman Villa, 1973: Twelfth Interim Report.
By A. P. Detsicas, M.A., F.S.A. Scot

unaltered, but the length of Room 11 is extended to 15 ft. 9 in. (4.725m.). 18
    Room 132 belongs to this reconstruction, too. It was a small compartment, measuring internally 5 ft. 3 in. by 4 ft. 6 in. (1.575 by 1.35 m.), excluding the corners reinforcing its abutment on the southwest wall of the baths, and very solidly built. Its north-west wall was ft. 5 in. (0.625 m.) thick and the south-west one 3 ft. 3 in. (0. 975 m.), with a 9 in. (0.24 m.) offset; the south-east wall was overbuilt by the Period V baths' wall, but examination at depth showed that it was of the same width as its north-western counterpart. This room was floored with opus signinum, which had been carried up to the face of its walls; this floor was 5 in. (0.125 m.) thick and laid on a solid foundation of mortared ragstone resting on the subsoil (Plate IIA).
   During the construction of this room, the south-west wall of the bath-house was breached to allow for the insertion of an arched opening through it, and the new foundations went deeper into the subsoil than before; this opening, rather more than 1 ft. (0.30 m.) wide and 1 ft. (0.30 m.) high, was corbelled with bonding-tiles laid well below the level of the room. The opus signinum was continued into this opening and smoothed upward at its junction with the underfloor of Room 11 (Plate IIA); the floor in Room 132 was some 10 in. (0.25 m.) lower than the hypocaust underfloor in Room 11.
   The thorough demolition in the area of this room, which resulted in the loss of essential details, presents many problems of interpretation, and the suggestions put forward below cannot, therefore, be regarded as conclusive.
   It is not doubted that Room 132 was intended to contain water: the solidity and thickness of its walls, clearly intended to withstand considerable internal pressure, their surfacing with opus signinum and the thickness of its floor show this quite clearly. What are debatable, however, are the purpose of this room and the nature of its water supply. The opening into Room 11 is obviously functional as is shown by the care taken in its construction. It was thought, at the time of its excavation, that the downward smoothing of opus signinum from Room 11 to Room 132 was an indication that water was intended to flow from Room 11 into Room 132; but this is not necessarily so as it is more likely, as mentioned above, that the opus signinum was smoothed upward to seal the junction of the floors below the arched opening. That it is not likely that water flowed freely between Rooms 11 and 132 is further supported by the presence of soot and ash,19 deposited
   18 In the definitive report on the site, the opportunity will be taken to re-number these rooms.
   19 Arch. Cant., lxxviii (1963), 134.

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