Canterbury Archeological Trust

No 20 St.Margaret's Street
Ian Anderson & Paul Blockley


Hillside Systems

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The final stages of excavating the cellar of 'Martins' took place between December 1986 and May 1987 (for details of the initial stages see Annual Report 1985-86, 17).

Map of baths

Further remains of the caldarium (hot room) of the Roman public baths were uncovered, including the apsidal south-east end of the building (which would perhaps have contained a hot plunge bath) and the praefurnium (stoke room). Within the main body of the caldarium much of the lower floor of the hypocaust system survived, including some of the supporting tile stacks and an underfloor partition wall. The lower floor was covered by a layer of carbon, which was in turn sealed by the collapsed remains of the tile stacks. bridging tiles and upper floor demolition deposits of crushed mortar, brick and tile fragments, painted plaster and box-flue tiles. The box-flue tiles would have been set against the internal face of the barrel-vaulted ceiling to take hot gasses up the sides of the caldarium to exit through holes in the vaulted roof. The praefurnium consisted of a room, attached to the apsidal wall, which contained a flue with a tile-on-end floor. A lead water tank would probably have sat above the flue, its heated waters flowing into the hot plunge. A drain built of mortared tiles took waste water from the plunge bath and fed it into a main drain which ran around the south and west sides of the baths complex.

The caldarium saw one major phase of rebuilding with the addition of a wall against its east corner perhaps representing an attempt to strengthen a faulty wall or even an addition to the range of rooms in the baths complex. Other modifications included the insertion of a flue extension from the stoke room into the hypocaust. The replacement of several tile stacks and the cutting of the underfloor dividing wall by tile stacks. These repairs point to a major alteration of the heating arrangement of the caldarium, including the replacement of at least parts of the upper floor and may coincide with the refurbishment and alterations to other parts of the baths complex which took place around A D. 300.

Some of the above work, which was supervised by Ian Anderson and Mark Houliston. was funded by Mr Phillips of `Martins' and by English Heritage, whilst the final stage had to be completed without funding. Our thanks are extended to Mr Phillips for allowing us access and especially to the staff of Cardys for their unfailing assistance and enthusiasm for helping our work in very difficult circumstances.

See this place today Click on the logo to see this place today.   The information on this page is Copyright © Canterbury Archaeological Trust Ltd. 1986 Reproduced with permission.
The text and pictures were taken from Canterbury's Archaeology 1986/1987, The 11th Annual Report of Canterbury Archaeological Trust Ltd.


Peter Collinson Last change: 7th September 2008