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Archaeologia Cantiana -  Vol. 89    1974  page 131
Excavations at Eccles Roman Villa, 1973: Twelfth Interim Report.
By A. P. Detsicas, M.A., F.S.A. Scot

from the fact that both the arches and the passages had been deliberately filled-in to prevent their total collapse, that at least one later kiln must have been constructed on top of the original oven after the latter was beyond further repair.
   A narrow, gully-like trench was recorded, cut into the subsoil and filled with Romano-British debris, projecting beyond the east corner of the tilery and c. 1 ft. (0.30 m.) wide by 6 ft. 6 in. (1.90 m.) long; its purpose is not clear, but it may have resulted from industrial excavation rather than served a function in the tile-making process. Two post-holes were also recorded in the same area; they were both 1 ft. 4 in. (0.40 m.) in diameter and 6 ft. 9 in. (2.025 m.) apart. Neither the purpose nor the date of these post-holes could be established in the restricted area surviving, though they could belong to a shed or similar temporary structure connected with the industry on the site.
   As mentioned above, no direct dating evidence survived, and this tile-kiln can only be dated by the medieval tiles used in its construction; these were the typical medieval tiles, with rounded peg-holes, which first appear in use about the middle of the thirteenth century.34 This tilery must, therefore, date from about that time, a dating which accords well with much medieval pottery of this period found at the main villa site; on the other hand, it is impossible to estimate how long this industry may have continued though, clearly, it could have been prolonged.

In the courtyard area of the villa, enclosed by its south-west and south-east wings (Fig. 2), was found a circular pit cut into the subsoil and immediately against the inferred line of the Period V bath-house; in fact, part of the baths' south-east wall slightly projected into one of the trenches cut here. This circular pit had a diameter of c. 9 ft. (2.80 m.) and a maximum depth of 2 ft. 8 in. (0.70 m.) from the present surface; it had been lined with a 2-in. (0.05 m.) thickness of yellow mortar, laid directly on the subsoil, and was found filled-in with lumps of ragstone and burnt tufa. There was also a thick deposit of soot and ash at the north-west side of this pit; the truncated baths' wall was badly burnt at this point, which clearly indicates a stokehole pit beyond the excavated area.
   No dating evidence was recovered from the back-filling of this pit, but its location and cutting of the bath-house wall obviously demonstrate post-villa use; its purpose is not conclusively established either, but the presence of the burnt material strongly suggests that this pit may have been used as a furnace or kiln. If so, the only date acceptable for its use must be the middle of the thirteenth century when it
   34 1 owe this information to Mr, P. J. Tester, F.S.A.

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