Monument record MCC2969 - Roman building, possible bath-house


CAT building 212, a possible bath-house.


Grid reference TL 9929 2544 (point)
Map sheet TL92NE
County ESSEX


Type and Period (1)

Full Description

To the north of MON1074 in Insula 1a, another Roman building (CAT Building 212) was excavated that has been identified as a possible bath-house. The room excavated was sealed by two layers of Roman demolition material and defined by two adjoining partially robbed masonry walls, situated south and east, with the locations of the north and west walls defined by benches. These walls and benches provide surrounds to a rectangular-shaped space measuring 6.6m x4.25m. Unusually the walls were constructed of coursed stone and tile; most walls in the Roman town consisted of a rubble foundation and clay-blocked construction. The walls were 0.7m thick and survived up to a maximum height of 1.3m.

Extending around all four sides of the room was a series of 0.5m wide low benches, rendered in plaster that had been painted purple. The lower wall surrounds were painted pink-red, providing a slight contrast. One entranceway to the room was located in the north wall, indicated by the right-angled end of one bench. Directly opposite the entrance evidence was found for a niche set against the south wall, also rendered in plaster.

The floor of this room was particularly well preserved and consisted of a red tessellated pavement, measuring 4.75m x 2.85m. The tessellation of this pavement is coarsely executed, using mostly tesserae with coarse-cut edges (having been re-used from Roman tile), which are not precisely linear in their arrangement. There was a large rectangular cut in one area of this pavement, directly in front of the niche, which revealed sections of the floors tessellation, including underlying opus signinum bedding mortar. There is some evidence that a feature had originally cut into the pavement in this location, but had been subsequently robbed. This robbing activity had also exposed a timber water channel, aligned north-south.

The feature cut into the pavement may have a small basin of some sort, possibly decorated with a coloured mosaic, as a fragment from a black and white geometric design was found. There is also the possibility that the feature may have been a decorative mosaic panel inset into the floor, providing a focal point to the room. <1>

Sources/Archives (1)

  • <1> Watching Brief Report: Brooks, H., Clarke, W., Gorniak, M. and Pooley, L. (CAT). 2009. Roman buildings, the rear face of the Roman Town Wall and archaeological investigations in Insulas 1a, 1b, 9a and 9b, at the Sixth Form College, North Hill, Colchester, Essex April 2005-March 2006. pp.25-29.

Finds (0)

Protected Status/Designation

  • None recorded

Related Monuments/Buildings (0)

Related Events/Activities (1)

Record last edited

May 4 2018 11:06AM

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