Friday August 15 ,2014
On the road by 8:30 am, one and half hours earlier than yesterday! We visited the Roman Baths in Bath which have been there since the Roman Empire in 79 AD. With our own audio guides, which had audio versions for children and adults, we could take our time visiting the interesting exhibits.
The Baths were considered what we would call a “health and social club”. The architecture was Roman, with many columns and high semi-circle ceilings. The reason this location was chosen for a bath is there is a thermal spring that comes out of the earth here. The Romans didn’t know about thermal springs, but attributed the warm water to their goddess, Sulis Minerva. There were several different baths – 6 in all. One was a healing bath, and others for exercise, cleaning, and a cold bath. There was a dressing room that had heated floors! Slaves would heat fires under the floor that would circulate the heat and warm the floor.
After all the years that have past, its amazing how much is still in tact and that hot water still streams into it. Even though there was a sign saying “don’t touch the water”, I did. (I spied the sign afterwards!) The water felt just like hot tub water.
Many interesting things have been found in the drains of the Baths by archeologists. Unfortunately, many of the found items were found in the 1800s and the archeologists didn’t write down exactly where they were found and valuable information was lost. For example, there were many gemstones that were etched with pictures that appear to have come from rings, that were found in the drains. They aren’t sure if the rings were offerings to the gods, or if they fell out when the bather was in the water.
Apparently people haven’t changed much in 2000 years. I found the “curse notes” and “prayer notes” interesting”. These notes were palm sized, and written on flat lead or pewter. After the person wrote on the note, it was folded and thrown into the bath. Some of the notes said “My bracelet was stolen and I want them punished,” or “Someone took my bathing robe, I want them never to have children.” It’s amazing to see these long ago troubles today.
They also found a lot of coins in the bath. One of them was from BC! There were coins found from a time period of over 400 years.
All of these items are interesting to look out now, but unfortunately they ended up clogging all the drains and ended up flooding the baths. The baths were eventually closed down and built over. Not until modern times were the baths found and excavated.