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Roman Baths and the Water Technology of Ancient Rome. By Sam Cole 2 Introduction The baths of Rome were a spectacle to behold. Contemporaries marveled at their dimensions and technology, and even today the structures impress us. The Romans managed to invent floor and wall heating and figured out ways of efficiently moving water from faraway wells and streams. The baths were much more than a place to get clean, relax, and socialize. Many of the larger bath complexes had small amphitheaters, eateries, even libraries. In the baths even Romans who did not have a lot could bask in the power and luxury of the Empire. The Romans were ruthless and killed thousands in the name of the empire but they also contributed to the world many technological innovations. These ranged from massive buildings to aqueducts and sewer systems. The technology employed in the baths would remain the most advanced in its field for hundreds of years to come. I was drawn to this subject matter for several reasons. As a student of Latin I gained an interest in Roman society and technology. A trip to the baths of Bath, England, last winter stirred my curiosity about baths in particular. Baths were so central to Roman culture that wherever they went and conquered Romans built these complexes. Last summer I spent three weeks in Italy pursuing this topic. In Sicily I visited several bath sites, including one in the summer house of an emperor. I also visited several bath complexes in Rome and nearby Ostia Antica. In southern Umbria, I worked for two weeks on the excavation on a small bath complex in the Roman city of Carsulae. Finally, 3 I have supplemented these experiences by reading about the evolution of baths and their technology and social role. In this paper I draw on all these experiences to make sense of Roman baths. (I have documented my travels and excavation experience in a separate book.) The rest of this paper is divided into six sections. The first section describes bath technology and the layout of baths. The second section examines the evolution of the bath form from the early Greek examples to the large and complex Roman varieties. Because the baths were an integral part of any Roman’s day, in the third section I look into their social impact. The Romans constructed baths of many different shapes and sizes. I will take a closer look at several famous baths in the fourth section. In the fifth section I describe my experiences working on an archeological dig site of the bath at Carsulae. I conclude by summing up what I have learned about the baths of Roma and about the process of archaeological excavation. Bath Technology and Layout1 For all of their barbaric tendencies and callous indifference for human life, Romans created technology so advanced that it took the world nearly till the Enlightenment to catch up. The Romans made many structures that have lasted to these very days. Not only was their engineering incredibly sound and precise but it was also very innovative. They made aqueducts that ran through many of their grandiose cities carrying water to houses, fountains, and public facilities like the baths. The Romans got water from rivers and wells which they then directed into the reservoirs or the aqueduct system. The baths built by the Romans perfected and most likely invented the heating system called the 4 hypocaust. The word hypocaust means “burning underneath in Greek”. The Roman baths were not merely a building with a single bathing area but a complex array of many different rooms each with their own purpose, several baths of different temperatures and sizes, and the most advanced heating system to come for many years. The hypocaust system was truly an innovative approach to heating buildings made primarily of stone, the most common building material. Roman baths differed in size and shape but all shared a heating tecnology. In the hypocaust system, a raised floor allowed hot air from the furnace to flow throughout the building, heating the floor from underneath. The floor was supported by stacks of tile called pilae. The floor was not the only source of heating. There was also a system of terracotta piping that ran throughout the walls of the baths. The hot air would move from the open space below the flooring and heat the walls. The walls were constructed of several layers. In the first layer (in the middle of the wall) would be the tubuli (terracotta piping or duct work) followed by some cocciopesto (cement made with chunks of brick mixed in), then covered with a decorative slab of marble. The resulting wall was sturdy and efficiently transferred heat to the rooms of the bath and made the bathhouse structurally sound. The furnace was fed by means of the preafurnem, a stoke hole for the furnace that provided the bath with heat. The baths of ancient Rome were more than just places of cleansing. There were a variety of rooms for purposes that seem odd to us. For example, to the Romans having a library in the bath complex was perfectly acceptable and indeed common in the larger bath complexes. But all Roman bath complexes had three main rooms for bathing-- the frigidarium, the tepidarium, and the caldarium. 5 The caldarium was the hottest room in the bath and often the floor was so hot that the bathers had to don small wooden sandals to protect their feet. Sometimes there would be a fountain (labrum) of cold water in the middle of the room where bathers could splash water on their face and neck. This room was often stifling with the very hot water and the steam, and not many could stay there for a long period of time. Bathers used the caldarium sweat and thus open up their pores. To capture the most heat the caldarium is always the closest room to the furnace. The tepidaruim is neither a hot water pool nor a cold water pool; the temperature in this room is as its name implies, tepid. It was used to get ready for the caldarium. The size of the tepidarium varies depending on the specific bath. It is normally closer to the furnace than the frigidarium. The frigidarium normally consists of a large cold pool and sometimes included plunge baths. The frigidarium did not have tubuli in the walls, seeing as this room should remain cold. The frigidarium was where Roman bathers spent the most time after the caldarium or the tepidarium. The frigidarium was always the largest bath in the bath complex (disregarding the plunge baths). The floor was often decorated with colorful mosaics. But there was more to do in the baths than just these three main rooms. One room commonly found in bath complexes was a sudatorium, a dry bath where the patrons would go to sweat. It could be easily turned into a steam bath if water was poured on the floor. This room was mostly used after the bather had used the tepidarium. The sudatorium is also called the laconicum. There was a form of bathing called laconian bathing in which the bather went directly from the sudatorium to a cold plunge bath. 6 The alepidterion was a room that people were oiled up before exercising in the palestra. This room was sometimes heated by the hypocaust system. People would cover themselves in oil and dirt to wrestle, lift weights, run, and engage in all types of exercise. Many citizens would bring their own oil flask and strigil. The strigl was a tool used to scrape the oil off of one’s body before going into the baths. This process of strigling off the dirt and oil happened in the destrictarium. The large quantity of olive oil used in the baths was stored in a room called the Elaethesium. The Romans used olive oil much as we use soap today. The palestra (from the Greek word to wrestle) was where the patrons of the bath would exercise before using the bathing facilities. The bathers would remove their clothes in the apodyterium where slaves would guard their clothes. They would exercise in the nude or wearing a small garment called a subligaculum. If the bath was big enough it would have places for the people to exercise, from wrestling yards and running tracks to outdoor pools called natios. In some bath complexes there was a room called the sphaeristerium in which people would either toss weighted balls back and forth or do other exercises involving balls. This room was normally situated in an open courtyard or a hallway. The bath would provide separate weights for men and women, balls, and places to wrestle with other bathers. The palestra was a courtyard surrounded by porticos. Often the palestra would have access to some of the shops or restaurants set up around the bath complex. These shops and restaurants were called tabernae or popinae. Branching of from the palestra was a space called the exedra. This space had benches and was often devoted to philosophical discussions. 7 The baths were not only a place of exercising and cleansing the body but also for exercising the mind. In many of the larger baths there was even a full scale library (called bibliothecae) where patrons could go to read or research after the baths. Some of the bath complexes, such as the gigantic baths of Caraculla and Diocletion in Rome itself had full-scale libraries. The larger baths also had a room called a basilica thermarum which functioned as a large meeting hall. The basilica thermarum was an oblong hall separated into strips by rows of columns. This room was normally unheated and sometimes a substitute for a palestra in poorer baths. One room that was only found in a few baths is the heliocaminus, used for sunbathing. The heliocaminus had large windows along the walls facing the sun and sometimes was heated by the hypocaust. Baths also had lecture halls called akroaterion where people could go to converse. Some of the largest baths even had stadiums where there would be performances or sporting events. The Romans had very advanced waste disposal systems. The latrines were often connected to the palestra and situated close to the entrance. The latrines were usually rectangular in shape and often had a small vestibule. Some of the latrines even had a specific number of seats designated to each profession. Many latrines were close to the frigidarium so that waste could be flushed by the overflow from the frigidarium as it made its way to the sewers. This is clever example of water use. The baths completely emptied once or twice a day. Roman society used up a massive amount of water everyday. Where did they get their water?2 Rome got much of its water was from a web of aqueducts. The first aqueduct was built in 312 B.C.; water was moved to a system of tanks called catch basins through a system of under ground piping to a tank called a castellum. From the castellum the water 8 could be moved to the public holding tanks. The pipes in the Rome’s water system were called fistulae. The pipes were made out of lead (oval shaped with one end flared so that the pipes would fit snugly) or out of tile. The slope of the aqueducts was very gradual allowing them to cover long distances before they were built to close to the ground. Eleven aqueducts fed the city of Rome. Water was also furnished by the means of a bucket chain wells, often powered by slaves on a treadmill. These bucket chains were in essence a chain of buckets like a bike chain turning and refilling the buckets when they reached the bottom. These many advancements in water movement and bath technology are certain signs that Rome had started developing its technology for a long time Development of Baths3 The first buildings created for communal bathing were built by the Greeks were in use before Rome was a city. These early bath houses, called balnae, the Greeks also had yards called gymnasia for wrestling or exercise. The first time the two functions were mixed together was in the Greek colony of Campania, south of Rome. They colony of Campania extended a great influence over Roman culture, as was often the case with the Greeks. Roman religion, popular myths, and ideology all drew from the Greeks. Many times the Romans required help from Campania when there was a food shortage or some sort of crisis. The Romans started expanding and in 338 B.C. took the town of Latium. The Romans soon surpassed the Greeks, in part due to their technological superiority. The bath technology was like all Roman technology, a constantly evolving field of discovery. The Romans took the simple idea of balnea and gymnasia from the Greeks and turned them into the masterpieces of engineering that awe us to this day. The Stabian 9 baths, located in Pompeii, are thought to be the first and one of the best examples of Roman bath technology. This site is unique in that historians can describe with detail the development of the bath on the basis of a series of underlying floor plans. The Stabian bath was built in the fifth century B.C. and was primitive in that it only had a very simple floor plan. It had a small palestra and functioned as a balnea so it could be considered a thermae. The bathhouse had several small chambers containing small Greek style hip baths called pyeloi. The Greek style baths shows that the Romans were still very much influenced by the colonies like Campania. The bath was supplied with water by a small well close to the bath house. In the 4th century B.C. the hip baths were replaced with full immersion baths, a Roman innovation. The next major changes to the Stabian bath complex occurred in the second half of the third century B.C. Historians are able to tell what time these additions were made by observing the types of stonework used. Opus caementum and opus incertam, two types of stonework, are first documented in this time period. The baths were extended into the east. The rooms that were added possibly include a women’s apoyditarium (dressing room) and a women’s tepidarium. This shows that women now had their own facilities for bathing and that bathing was becoming entrenched in Roman culture. The palestra also had porticos added to it. The nearby well had a water wheel added to it to augment the water supply to the baths. The need for more water suggests the addition of a women’s tepidarium to the bath complex. In the second century B.C. tabernae (shops and restaurants) were built up around the bath. The tabernae show that the bath was becoming more and more integral to the Roman culture. A barrel vaulted chamber with a holding tank for water was added. A 10 treadmill attached to two noria chains (like bucket chains) was also built to bring in even more water from the well. The bath was also fully remodeled for both sexes. Hot and cold water were now available in larger quantities. Around the year 85 B.C. many important additions were made to the Stabian bath complex. The main change was the addition of the hypocaust system. This allowed the bath to be heated rooms at a time which allowed the use of a caldarium. The bath now had a caldarium, tepidarium, and frigidarium for each sex. The hypocaust system utilized oblong roof tiles used as pilae (stacks of tile used as floor supports). The use of roof tiles in place of the rectangular tiles that were later manufactured afterwards for the sole purpose of being pilae gives the historians solid chronological evidence that the bath had the hypocaust system put in not long after the innovation had truly hit the market. In this period another change occurred; like all baths, this one received a communal pool as the Romans could now heat whole rooms at a time. A few years after the hypocaust system was installed the laconicum was added to the bath complex. The laconicum is a stiflingly hot and dry room that could be turned into a steam bath if some water was poured onto the floor. The reason that the Romans could now make the laconicum was that the hypocaust system was so effective in providing heat to the baths. The laconicum was round in shape with four semicircular recesses and a dome. The laconicum was used after the tepidarium and thus there was easy passage from tepidarium to laconicum. The porticos around the palestra were repaired in this period. Another room that was added was the destrictarium (a room for scraping oil off of the exercisers before they bathed), which implies that the increase in bathers required a whole room just for the application and scraping off of oil. 11 The final stage of this bath’s enlargement took place around 35 B.C. The hypocaust system was upgraded and the temperature in the caldarium was raised ever more. In the frigidarium the temperature was lowered as cold water rinses had become popular in this time. Outside three new swimming pools were added, one large one in the middle flanked by two smaller ones. The two smaller pools were used for washing and the one in the middle was used for swimming. A new apodyterium was added with wooden shelves. Tubuli were added to the caldarium heating the room not only from the floor but from the walls and ceilings too. The laconicum was torn down because the hypocaust system with the new tubuli was so advanced that the caldarium was now hot enough to produce steam. All of the central heating was redone, large boilers were added into the preafurnia, and a maintenance corridor was constructed. The Stabian baths had reached the most advanced stage of development of the Roman baths. There was a palestra with porticos, an outside pool, a cold frigidarium, a slightly heated tepidarium, a hot steamy caldarium with tubuli running through the walls, and hypocaust system. Social Aspects of the Baths The people of the early Roman Republic viewed baths merely as way to satisfy the simple needs of hygiene and so they seldom bathed. Later, as the Greek customs started to influence them, they began to look at bathing as a daily ritual. Eventually the baths became a hive of activity with all classes intermingling and interacting. The baths had become a place for leisure as well as a place for cleaning the body. The baths served as a hub of Roman culture, much as the arenas did. The Roman Empire built its society 12 around the baths. People got off work in the late afternoon and spent the rest of their time socializing or relaxing in the baths until it was time for them to go home for dinner. Although the bath had many different classes, all were treated equally there. The management of the baths was a very different story. From the owners of baths to slaves that stoked the fires of the hypocaust there was a strict chain of command. The baths were expensive to construct, manage, and maintain. The baths were a main facet in the Roman culture and so towns were obliged to pay the considerable costs of constructing and maintaining baths. Private baths were called meritoria. The private baths were paid for by an induvidual and only a select clientele were allowed in. Public baths were called publica, and anyone could use them for a small fee. The publica were paid for by the town or the fiscus who would give out money to towns for public structures. The state baths were public and were paid for by the emperor and were often named in honor of him. Sometimes a public bath was financed by a special tax in the town in which it was to be constructed. Baths also cost a lot to maintain due to the fuel and water bills. In the larger baths a tremendous amount of fuel and water was needed. If the bath was a state bath then it would be permitted to take wood from the state owned forests for fuel. There were strict laws however forbidding the sale of that fuel. The water was billed according to the width of the incoming pipe. The pipe had the subscriber’s name etched into it so that no one could tap into the water supply. The entrance fee was very small and even people with no homes went to the baths customarily. For men the fee was a ¼ quadrans and for women it was ½ quadrans. The men also got the better bathing hours if the bath did not have separate facilities for 13 each sex. This fee was small but the baths also got some revenue by renting out spots outside to traders. The hierarchy of the bath was strict and multi-layered. The most important person in this hierarchy was the owner of the bath or in the case of public baths the town council in charge of the bath. The lease holder or manager was the next most important person. He took care of all of the large financial issues that the bath might face. Under the manager were the superintendents who dealt with the management of the baths. The number of superintendents depended on the size of the bath. At the lowest chain of command in the bath environment were the freedmen and slaves. This group provided the manual labor that was required to keep the great baths running. The freedmen and slaves, stoked the furnaces, cleaned the hypocaust system, guarded the apoyditerium from clothes thieves, helped with oiling and strigiling people, and much more. They were often called balneators. The clothes guard, called a papsarius, made sure the fur balnearius (clothes thieves) were kept at bay while the patrons bathed. Another person who worked with the baths was called an aediles. It was his responsibility to inspect the running of public baths. He checked the water temperature, the amount of fuel being used, and the cleanliness of the baths. Bathing had an important place in Roman culture. The day was structured around work, mealtimes, and the baths. Romans would wake up early in the morning, have a small breakfast, and then go to work. Romans usually ended their workdays a little before one and after a brief siesta went to the baths to relax before they retired to their houses for dinner. The average Roman spent much of his time at the baths. Bathing was an essential social activity because Romans would use the baths before dinner and often 14 made social plans in the baths. The baths were also a place where people would discuss politics, gossip, and mingle with others. If the bath did not have separate facilities for women then they would have to bathe at a different set of times. The baths would open at around seven and close at 12 for the women. There are several theories about what people wore in the baths but it is likely that while bathing people did not wear any clothing at all. The bathers deposited their clothing in the apoyditerium upon entering the bath complex. Then they would proceed to the palestra to exercise. From various murals and mosaics, historians believe that the Romans most likely exercised in the Greek fashion, in the nude. The Romans wore bath sandals when walking in between baths. There were also bathing clogs provided by the bath outside of the caldarium due to the extreme heat emanating from the floor. People occasionally were thought to carry towels to use between baths, but for most of the time people were naked. There were naturally some rules regarding the behavior of the many bathers. People were expected to act as through everyone was wearing clothes. The bathers were also forbidden from staring at others. The rules of bath etiquette varied with the time period. Many would surmise that the Romans, having a reputation for moral depravity, would engage in debauchery in the baths. This was not so, for the Romans looked at their time in the bath as a time of relaxation and cleansing. Although there were sometimes brothels attached to the bath houses, prostitution was by no means part of the daily ritual. Bathing was a central facet of Roman culture and was treated as such. The baths had an enormous impact on the Roman Empire in many different ways. Frequent bathing made the populace healthy and clean. Baths also were often attached to 15 a palestra so patrons could exercise every day and stay fit. The demand for water spurred advances in technology. The baths also helped to create a common culture. Cheap public baths kept the Roman people content. There was no special treatment for the rich in the baths and everyone mingled with. During bathing time people took off from their work and worries in general. The baths were a place of learning with talks on politics, religion, and philosophy. Many of the public baths were grand works of architecture and engineering filled with libraries, marble, and gilded faucets of which the Romans were justly proud. Case Studies4 Three examples demonstrate the variety found in roman baths. The baths of Caracalla is the second largest bath complex that the Roman Empire produced (the largest, the bath of Diocletian, has been converted into a vast church and town square). The bath complex was constructed by the emperor Marcus Aurelius Antonius, nicknamed Caracalla. He had the grounds for this famous bath cleared by almost thirteen thousand prisoners that his father had captured in his campaign in Scotland. Caracalla ascended to the position of emperor in the year A.D. 211. The bath that he proposed to build was of staggering dimensions for the time period. The central building of this vast complex alone is 214 meters by 114 meters. The baths of Caracalla included also four stories (two above and two below). The bath was built in Rome and is one of the most complete baths today. Building it was a monumental task, requiring a massive amount of materials and a massive amount of man power. Twenty-one million bricks were used in the construction of the baths along with around 6300 cubic meters of marble. Around six thousand 16 craftsmen worked on the baths and it still took more than ten years for the workers to complete the baths. The baths were fed with water from a new branch of the aqueduct, the Aqua Mercia, that traveled almost 90 kilometers. The baths were able to hold around 80,000 cubic meters of water at one time and the bath used about 20,000 cubic meters of that water daily. The baths could fit around 1,600 bathers at a time. While we refer to the baths of Caracalla, the complex also contained gardens, a library, a small multipurpose theater, and exercise rooms. Caracalla died in 217, a scant six years after becoming emperor and four years before the bath would be finished. Although he did not see the completion of his baths many Romans benefited greatly and loved the baths of Caracalla. Nearby Ostia Antica provides an interesting contrast with the baths of imperial Rome. Situated on the Tiber River and the Tyrrhenian Sea, Ostia Antica served as Rome’s port. The city was founded in the 4th century B.C. to stand guard over the river mouth from possible seaborne invasion attempts. In the 2nd century B.C. it had become a major port for cargo ships and had also experienced a sharp spike in population. The most famous public bath complex in this up and coming port city is dedicated to the god Neptune. These baths are famous for their beautiful and surprisingly intact mosaics. The bath was built near the city’s amphitheater. The baths of Neptune was a sizable bath complex but far from the grandiose scale of the baths of Caracalla or Diocletion. The baths of Neptune however had many beautiful mosaics all in black and white as was the fashion in the 2nd century B.C. when the baths were was constructed. 17 In the atrium was the great mosaic of Neptune riding a chariot pulled by wild hippocampuses. Next to the atrium was the frigidarium which also was adorned with mosaics in at nautical theme. On the other side of the frigidarium lay the tepidarium which had a large mosaic depicting Nerieds (water nymphs) and Tritons (sea gods). The caldarium was the hottest room in the bath and had two pools in the room. The stonework in this building was in the style of opus spictatim (herring bone). The bath complex was fed water from a nearby cistern. The Romans were a people weaned on war and they forayed abroad looking for slaves, wealth, and locations that they could colonize in the name of the Roman Empire. For example they colonized what today is England. The most famous bath there was constructed in the city of Bath. Bath was the only city settlement in Britain that had natural hot springs that were known for their healing purposes even from the times of 700 B.C. when the inhabitants had built a shrine to a god of water (Sullis). The Romans came to this part of Britain in 43 A.D. and made a bath over the shrine. These baths had no particularly distinguishable factors besides location. The bath itself was placed above a hot spring that remains active to this very day. The main spring remains a temperature of 120 degrees Fahrenheit. The Romans used the hot spring to gain easy access to already heated water that was rumored to have healing properties. Romans associated the springs with the goddess Minerva. People would throw coins or flattened metal as offerings into the hot spring hoping to heal themselves or their friends and curse their enemies. The offerings were often in the shape of what ever was ailing the supplicant with a small inscription etched into the offering. These small metal supplications were called votive offerings. 18 This bath resembled those back in Rome in its layout and function. It had a caldarium, tepidarium, and frigidarium for men and separate facilities for the women. The rooms were heated by means of the hypocaust system and used all of the other Roman bath technology of the time. The complex at Bath was always being rebuilt and remodeled. The Roman bath at Bath was one of the few baths that was primarily associated with religion and healing. Another bath that was associated with healing gods and goddesses was the bath in Carsulae, a small city to the north of Rome. Carsulae5 This past summer I volunteered on the excavation of a bath in the Roman city of Carsulae. Carsulae is located in what is today southern Umbria. Roman armies subdued the Umbian tribes in the 3rd century B.C. and relocated people from their hilltop settlements to towns and cities in the valleys and lower slopes. No one is sure when Carsulae was founded, but it is certain that it grew rapidly after 220-219 B.C., when the via Flaminia was built. This famous road linked the city of Rome with the Adriatic coast, and ran through the middle of Carsulae. According to ancient authors, the Carsulae area was known for its vineyards, estates of the wealthy, and above all its water. Pliny the Elder, for example, describes the thermal springs as renown for their healing qualities. The city was abandoned in the 8th century A.D., as the result of an earthquake. The area’s water remains famous to this day. Our first day was devoted to getting to know Carsulae and San Gemini, the small town where we stayed. Excavation director Jane Whitehead gave us a tour of the archaeological park of Carsulae. We saw a number of impressive monuments, including 19 the temple to the Gemini, the basilica, the amphitheater, funerary monuments, and of course the bath. Dr. Whitehead explained that the bath was first built in the Republican era and subsequently renovated. Because the area’s water was famous in antiquity, it is probably that the bath was a place for healing and not a place for leisure and athletic activities as was the case in many other baths. In fact, San Gemini water is famous in all of Italy and for a long time was sold in pharmacies. When I first looked at the site I was surprised at how ordinary this piece of land looked. It was small, about the size of a tennis court. It was overgrown with wild grasses and much of what the people from the last year had excavated had eroded or collapsed. We had to first hack up all of the wild grasses (including the nettles) and take them off of the site in wheelbarrows. We used all sorts of farming implements to clear the site from pitchforks to hand shears. Once we had most of the grass cleared off of the site then we could pull up the tarps that had been placed over the site by the workers from last year who thought that the tarps would stop excessive growth. The tarps however just gave something for the roots to get tangled up in making the job harder. We had to be careful when we pulled up the tarps because the roots in the tarps had grown into some of the cement of the bath. The cement used at this site was called cocciopesto, it was cement mixed with chunks of broken brick and tile and was very strong. Once we had uncovered the site we had to make a discard mound where all of the materials that were unneeded were thrown. This pile served doubly as a place to sift all of the buckets of dirt that we would bring from the dig site. We all made a lot of progress at the dig site once we had cleaned it up. The next step was to survey the site; this was done by architects associated with the project. They 20 placed poles around the sites and listed their location and elevation relative to a reference or datum point. Using lots of string, we then divided the sites into work areas called quadrants, measuring 2.5 meters by 2.5 meters. This was not as easy as it sounds because much of the site was uneven and there some big objects in the way. Also the ground was made up of stone and crumbly soil, and this made driving the stakes hard. Creating the grid however was necessary because it allowed us to give the exact location of everything we found. We measured from two sides to get the location; from the top of the stakes or poles we could figure out the elevation (basically how far below a find was from the datum point). That’s how we were able to say exactly where we found special things like coins. Dr. Whitehead then gave out the quadrants to each of the college students and experienced diggers and paired them up with one of the volunteers with less or no experience. Once we started excavating we got into a routine. We started early in the morning (around 5) so we could get some work time in before the sun would really start to heat things up. By “second breakfast” at about 9am we were starving and getting tired. When we quit at about 12:30pm we were hot and tired and very dirty. During the excavation we would take turns carrying the buckets of soil up to the sifting station. This was the only place in the shade and sometimes we would linger there and chat. It was amazing to me that we found so much by slowly sifting dirt through the screen. People found tiny bits of glass, bits of pottery, bone, and lots of marble tiles. We found objects in the ground too. Everything that came from each quadrant was placed in a bucket or bag and marked. At lunchtime we carried all of this up to the cars and brought them back to the lab in San Gemini. On days when we found a lot of tile this could be very heavy. After 21 lunch we had time to rest but usually I went to watch World Cup matches with two teenagers from Rome. Later we met at the lab to wash and sort most of the stuff we had found that day. Some things like glass were too fragile to wash so we just bagged them and set them aside. Once the stuff dried we sorted it. For example, when we looked pottery we were interested in diagnostic pieces like handles or rims that could tell us more about the use or shape of the thing. Some times in the afternoons we had lectures on subjects like excavation techniques, pottery, and the history of the area. My quadrant was SB-1 NE, so called because it was a northwest quadrant of the section to the south of the datum point or permanent marker (see the plan of excavation below). This quadrant contained some of the apse (the rounded front of the bath building) which had remnants of cocciopesto flooring resting on top of pilae. It was a challenge breaking up the cocciopesto flooring right along the lines of our quadrant border or balk line. The broken bits were not worth saving, so we just threw them in a big pile for sifted dirt and other junk. Once we cleared the flooring we started to uncover some of the pilae that held up the floor of this structure and formed part of the hypocaust system. On some of these pilae we noticed the manufacturer’s stamp. Much information could be gleaned from the knowledge of where and when the bricks were manufactured. Dr. Whitehead noticed that the stacks of pilae were strangely close together and skinnier than normal pilae would be. So she came to the conclusion that this was an early bath that had only its top layers renovated over the years rather than its foundations replaced. We then dug the packed earth and rock floor that held up the pilae. Like the other excavators, we carefully put any material that we found through the sifter in a search for objects that we had overlooked. 22 I left after two weeks but the excavation continued for another three weeks. According to Dr. Whitehead’s report, this year three new quadrants were opened in the southern portion of the site. The total amount of earth excavated was 23.5 cubic meters this year compared with 31.5 in 2005 (the first year of digging). This season Dr. Whitehead decided to look more closely at the apse and try to fully excavate it. The reason that she chose to focus on the apse is that it would give useful hints to the overall structure of the bath. This was the location of the heated part of the bath, so the way it was put together would tell a lot about when it was built and renovated. Many interesting objects were found this year. Ten coins were uncovered in the northwestern portion of the apse. In the southern part we found a Corinthian capitol. Lots of terracotta tiles for the hypocaust system were dug up, along with hundreds of marble tiles for the mosaic floors. Overall, Dr. Whitehead concluded that the bath had been built in the Republican period and later renovated. Some times large decorative or carved stone, probably from other buildings in Carsulae, were transported to the bath and reused. For example, a worked marble slab that ordinarily would have been seen was reused as part of the heatig system under the floor. Another interesting find was a second layer of pilae. Dr. Whitehead concludes that this suggests the bath may have had a small pool. Among the artifacts found there was overwhelming evidence of women also using the baths. Artifacts suggesting a female presence included thin shards of glass used for small perfume or oil containers, hair pins, clips to hold on various garments, and some needles. The presence of women in the bath suggests that the bath was open to all and that the ancient city of Carsulae was progressive in its approach towards bathing. Another object 23 of the excavation was to determine the extent of past excavations. The archaeologist Umberto Ciotti excavated part of the bath in the 1950s and 1960s when he was excavating the rest of the city. No one knows exactly where he dug in the baths or even what he found. It is also possible that some things from the bath were stolen and sold to art dealers. So half of the work at this site is trying to reconstruct what has been disturbed or excavated. Conclusion In this project I have tried to make sense of Roman baths through study and through participation on an archaeological excavation. Three things stand out. First, the baths were some of the most advanced technology the world had seen with under the floor heating and such efficient water control. The Romans achieved this level of technological advancement through their ingenuity and large pool of resources. Second, the baths also were a fundamental cultural element of Roman culture. It became an everyday routine to go to the baths and meet up with friends. The Romans both used the baths for purposes of hygiene and relaxation. In the baths they enjoyed the idea of social equality of Roman citizens and they basked in the glory of their country. Third, I learned about archaeological techniques and the whole process of excavation. I learned that the context of the find is almost as important as the find itself. I learned that the most frustrating aspect of archeology is that once you see something you cannot just pull it up. You have to slowly brush away the loose soil from around the object and dig down further at the same rate that you dig the entire quadrant to keep the ground level. All in 24 all, the project has taught me to appreciate the processes by which history is found and interpreted. Notes 1 Unless otherwise indicated, I base this description on Neilson’s classic book on the topic, Thermae Et Balnea. 2 I have drawn on Blair and Hall’s Working Water for this description. 3 Unless otherwise indicated, I base this description on Neilson’s Thermae Et Balnea. 4 These decriptions are drawn from The Baths of Caracalla, Ostia Antica, and Roman Baths, respectively. 5 This description is based on my experience, the book Carsulae, and on director Jane Whitehead’s reports on the excavations for 2005 and 2006. 25 Works Cited Bahn, Paul. Archaeology. New York: Cambridge University Press, 1996. “Baths of Caracalla” livius. 17 Jan. 2004. Viewed 22 Nov. 2006. <http://www.livius.org/a/italy/rome/baths_caracalla/ baths_caracalla1.html>. Blair, Ian and Jenny Hall. Working Water: Roman Technology in Action. London: Museum of London, 2003. Bruschetti, Paolo. Carsulae. Rome: Istituto poligrafico e zecca dello stato, 1995. Gallico, Sonia. Guide to the Excavations of Ostia Antica. Rome: ATS Italia Editrice, 2000. Macaulay, David. City: A Story of Roman Planning and Construction. Boston: Houghton, Mifflin, 1974. Nielsen, Inge. Thermae et Balnea: The Architecture and Cultural History of Roman Public Baths. Aarhus, Denmark: Aarhus University Press, 1990. Rook, Tony. Roman Baths in Britain. Great Britain, Haverfordwest, 1992. Schultz, Emily and Robert Lavenda. Anthropology: A Perspective on the Human Condition. California: Mayfield, 1995. Sestieri, Anna and Maria Bietti. The Baths of Diocletian. Milan: Electa, 2005. Soprintendenza Archeologica di Roma. The Baths of Caracalla. Milan: Electa, 2006. “Terme” Inforoma. 2 Nov. 2006. Viewed 24 Nov. 2006. <http://www.inforoma.it/ feature.php?lookup=terme>. 26 Whitehead, Jane. New Excavations at Roman Carsulae 2005: The Baths. Excavation Report, 2005. Whitehead, Jane. Preliminary Report of the Excavation of the Baths at Carsulae 2006.