Welcome to the Roman Baths Blog!

This blog is a behind the scenes look at the Roman Baths in Bath. We hope you enjoy reading our stories about life surrounding the Roman Baths.

Wednesday, 5 April 2017

Roman Architecture

For my part of British Science Week, I was given the task of designing a display revolving around the topic of my choice, Architecture. Rather than focusing on arches specifically, I decided to broaden the information and open it up to many different aspects of architecture.  

As I am particularly interested in the topic, I learnt that focusing on the science side of architecture more difficult that I had first thought. I found that I had to first wrap my head around how the Romans actually managed to get their constructions to stand, and then concentrate on simplifying and limiting what I had gathered. The aqueducts were fascinating to research, as the Romans had a considerable grasp of how they worked and how to create the perfect speed of flow, ensuring even the smallest of towns received water! One of the most difficult things to grasp was the materials used by the Romans, as this was particularly scientific involving the Calcination of Lime creating Mortar, which was then used in essentially all of their constructions.

A Successful Architect

On the day, I had a number of visitors who were particularly interested in the materials used, and were fascinated by how light and porous some of the materials actually were (i.e. the Tufa block). As my table was located beside the Great Bath, I was able to point out where they could find these materials, which are hidden unless you’re looking for it!

The small collection of columns which showed the differences between the column orders was a particular interest to many, as the intricate details on the columns astounded many people. I was able to have a small piece of a column on display too, showing the details and thickness of the columns that were used by the Romans. It was especially impressive how much of the columns capital remained prominent, specifically for how heavy the item was and how damaged the bottom part of the piece actually is.

As it is not common practice to touch items on display, many people were hesitant to touch the materials I had out, and were even hesitant to touch the arch activity. After watching other visitors try, more people (not just children) began approaching the table and were particularly interested in trying their hand at being a mini architect!

Lucy Pidgeon, Bath Spa University 

Wednesday, 29 March 2017

Roman Baths investigates science

As part of British Science Week, the Roman Baths organised a number of events to allow visitors to find out about the science behind some of our museum objects, for which I was project manager. The week started with Science Busking which consisted of three tables explaining the science behind pottery, such as how the pot was fired; metals, what metals the Romans made and worked and bone, showing how you can sex and age a skeleton. These tables mainly were visited by adults however some children also visited the tables. The arch model was also set up and this attracted the attention with visitors of all ages. Over the three hour period this event ran it attracted 547 visitors. The BRSLI Science Cadets also had a variety of geology based activities in the education room to find out about Bath’s hot spring. 

 Our successful Science Busking event

Throughout the week hands-on tables ran next to Great Bath to allow visitors to handle some of the museum objects. These ranged from human remains, coins, mosaics and Roman architecture. A volunteer or placement student compiled the information and stood with their table to answer any questions the visitors may have had. The tables all attracted interest from visitors with numbers ranging from 90 to 220 visitors wanting to find out more. The most popular day was Thursday, with over 200 people wanting to find out about mosaics and to look and touch a real skeleton.

The final two events were Bath Taps in Science organised by the University of Bath. The penultimate event was held at the University and was to encourage children to be interested in science, the Roman Baths took the table top arch and some x-rays and objects. The children enjoyed building the arch and couldn’t quite understand how it stood up without anything supporting it. 

The final event was held at Royal Victoria Park, where the Roman Baths set up the aqueduct and arch model. Both proved extremely popular with 370 people engaging either on one or both of the activities. 
Overall, Science Week proved a success with all the events catering to all age groups and engaging both children and families.
Katharine Foxton 

Bradford University Placement Student