Posted by: lukelavan | September 4, 2009

Palaestra Excavations Begin

Team two is excited to begin work in the new area!

Team two is excited to begin work in the new area!



Test pits now cover the palaestra of the forum baths. Our excavations in this area started today amidst a burst of enthusiasm. This triangular plaza is thought to have been the exercise yard of the baths, though it was converted into a public square in the late period when a wall was demolished to connect it to the forum, and statue bases were brought in. The presence of two small temples is a little odd – one seems to be built of re-used materials – perhaps indicating a temple of the early 4th c. – perhaps a sacellum of the imperial cult that is a typical ‘temple’ type of this period which survived even under some Christian emperors. The test pits brought up white mosaic in most area, with some hole perhaps for pits, and also some tool marks relating to the foundation layer. A coin of Maxentius (the emperor beaten by Constantine) was discovered by Warren de Souza, and we expect more.

A mosaic covers much of the palaestra's floor.

A mosaic covers much of the palaestra's floor.



Not only is the palaestra beautiful, but the earth is soft. A downpour at 8am this morning marks, we hope, a change in the weather. It makes everything much easier, and the temperature has come down about five degrees so far, though not as much as we would like. It is good to see some brown earth and to get rid of the dust, though the downpour came too quick for us to uncover our existing excavated areas and they are dry. Hopefully the downpour will not dampen spirits, though our campsite is now starting too look a bit like a holiday centre in Wales.

Luke Lavan 04/09/2009

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