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The Roman Bath House in Cathedral Yard

A photo essay

Page added 26th January 2015

Back to Places of Exeter

Also see History of the Bath House

All photographs are by Alan H Mazonowicz unless otherwise labelled.

Excavations from above July 1971Excavations from above July 1971
This photo shows how close the Devon War Memorial is to the excavations. Courtesy and © RAMM.

Spectators view the siteSpectators view the site
The excavation attracted a healthy number of spectators. © Alan Mazonowicz

East side of the excavationEast end of the excavation
The end of the bath house closest to the West Front. © Aan Mazonowicz

View towards the site officeView towards the site office
The archeologists had their own office to interpet the finds and provide a place for a quick coffee. © Alan Mazonowicz


Young archeologistsYoung archeologists
Most photos of the excavation indicate a sunny summer. The brown backs in this photo confirm the good weather.The young woman is sitting on the steps that led to the bath house–her body indicates how large each stone was for the steps. © Alan Mazonowicz

Hypocaust under the floorHypocaust under the floor
The floor of the bath house rested on the short pedestals of the hypocaust, creating an under floor space for the hot gases to flow, and heat the floor. © Alan Mazonowicz.

Hypocaust under the floorHypocaust under the floor
A different view of the hypocaust. © Alan Mazonowicz

Tunnel under a wallTunnel under a wall
This tunnel carried the hot gases from one section to another. Workmanship like this was lost after the Romans left, and their advanced technologies forgotten for a thousand years. © Alan Mazonowicz

Floor over the hypocaustFloor over the hypocaust
After St Mary Major Church was demolished in 1972, the archeologists removed the church's floor to expose pre Saxon remains. After their careful removal , the upper Roman archeology was found. This is probably the floor of the bath house, beneath which, was the hypocaust. © Alan Mazonowicz

Human remainsHuman remains
The human remains in the centre of this photo were probably at the edge of the site. They are fairly jumbled, as they were from the later Christian burial ground surrounding the Cathedral. © Alan Mazonowicz

Human remainsHuman remains
By 1637 the level of the burial yard around the Cathedral was up to the windows. St Batholomew Yard was opened and Cathedral Green lowered. The remains shown in this photo indicate many years of burials. © Alan Mazonowicz

Pre Saxon remainsPre Saxon remains
The skeleton behind the archeologist was under the Saxon church of St Mary Major. It was thought to be one of the earliest Christian burials in the city. © Alan Mazonowicz

Pre Saxon remainsPre Saxon remains
A closer view of the skeleton in the previous photo. © Alan Mazonowicz

Detail of the excavationDetail of the excavation
Planks are laid across parts of the site to ensure safe access for the workers. © Alan Mazonowicz

Detail of the excavation - bucketsDetail of the excavation
Many buckets were used during the excavation. © Alan Mazonowicz

WheelbarrowsDetail of the excavation
Wheelbarrows are another useful tool for archeologists. © Alan Mazonowicz

View to the southView to the south
A view across the site towards South Street. © Alan Mazonowicz

Roman stepsRoman steps
These steps led down to the bath house. Notice the base of a carved column to the left. © Alan Mazonowicz

Bricks and tilesBricks and tiles
Many Roman bricks and tiles were used in the construction of the hypocaust. © Alan Mazonowicz

View towards the Three GablesView towards the Three Gables
St Mary Major Church was built onto the side of the Three Gables. This photo shows the position of the excavation relative to these three houses. © Alan Mazonowicz

View to the north-eastView to the north-east
The steps previously mentioned are centre right in this view across Cathedral Green. © Alan Mazonowicz

Roman archRoman arch
A Roman arch constructed from bricks allowed the hot gases to pass through. © Alan Mazonowicz

View across to the West FrontView across to the West Front
It is easy to assume that the bath house is right in front of the West Front, from this photo. However, the angle of the towers indicate that the remains are well to the right of the steps down from Broadgate. © Michael T J Wride.

Covering the siteCovering over the site
Once the archeologists had thoroughly investigated the site it was decided to cover it over with sand to preserve it. The Cathedral's plans to expose the bath house and build an interpretation centre will be easier because of this foresight. Courtesy Express and Echo.

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