England: luxurious Roman old building renovation |

Who would have thought that the renovation of old buildings played a role back in Roman times? Archaeologists in England made exactly this discovery a few days ago. This is based on a building that was previously used purely for agriculture and which later became a luxurious steam bath.

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Fotos: Historic England / Facebook

The bath was part of a Roman villa complex in County Rutland in the East Midlands which must have been home to very wealthy owners some 1700 years ago. The villa was found a good two years ago after a walker in a field suddenly held fragments of Roman pottery in their hands.

The find made headlines at the time thanks to the house’s mosaic depicting Homer’s Iliad – which experts were quick to describe as one of the most exciting digs of its kind in the whole of the UK.

After that it became a little quieter around the object for a short time, although it was actually clear that something special would come to light again in subsequent excavations. This now appears to be the case.

“Find of utmost importance for understanding life in late Roman Britain”

According to the new findings, the owners at the time had said farm building, a simple wooden barn, converted at least in part into a luxurious side wing with a steam bath, warming room and a cold plunge pool.

The barn was originally supported by wooden posts and may have had two stories. It was then converted into a stone barn in the 3rd or 4th century, with one end converted into a multi-storey dwelling and the other continued to be used for farm work.

The main feature of the apartment was said Roman-style bathroom with ingenious underfloor heating and heating pipes built into the walls. A tank outside the building may have been used to collect water from the roof.

Commenting on the find, John Thomas, Assistant Archaeological Director at the University of Leicester: “The importance of this villa complex for our understanding of life in late Roman Britain cannot be overstated.

While previous excavations of individual buildings or smaller villas have given us a snapshot, this Rutland discovery is much more complete and provides a much clearer picture.”

Duncan Wilson, Director of Historic England, who also participated in the dig, agrees: “This site raises many exciting questions about life in Roman Britain.”

The importance of the villa as a whole will only become clearer in the next few years through further detailed investigations, Wilson said, according to a recent article in the Guardian.


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