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, 9 October 2019

Words on Wednesdays: Building

"Great buildings, like great mountains, are the work of centuries"
Victor Hugo

A couple of months ago I presented a handling table at the Roman Baths for the Words on Wednesday events.  This blog aims to give a general overview of the use of ceramic buildings materials (CBM), that is bricks and tiles, in Roman Britain, as well as how and why archaeologists continue to study these materials and what relevance they have to our modern society.

Owen manning the handling table at the Roman Baths

What are bricks and tiles?

Bricks and tiles are rectangular or flat blocks of red or white clay that have been shaped and fired at high temperatures to produce the hard and durable building blocks of homes and buildings across the world.

How were bricks and tiles used in Roman Britain?

While the Romans used bricks of a range of unfamiliar shapes, at least to our modern eyes, they employed a lot of their bricks and tiles in the same way that we do today. This includes in building walls and structures as well as in roofing. The Romans are also famous for the construction of heated floors, known as hypocausts, and channelling hot air through buildings using specialised hollow tiles. Examples of these can still be seen throughout the Roman Baths at Bath, so keep an eye out for them the next time you visit!

A hypocaust in the West Baths at the Roman Baths

Stay tuned for next week's blog, where we find out how and why Roman CBM is studied by archaeologists, and what relevance this has today.

Owen Kearn
Bournemouth University PhD student

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