Chichester Baths update

Update about Roman Baths dig

Excitement at city Roman baths site
Archaelogists have descended on a Chichester city-centre car park to check the condition of the Roman baths buried underneath. The temporary uncovering of the baths at the site in Tower Street is giving visitors a taste of what they can expect to see when the proposed Chichester District Museum is built there.

It is the first time the remains have seen the light of day in 17 years.

Workers have found the baths to be in ‘excellent’ condition with little or no deterioration since they were first discovered in the 1970s by Chichester archaeologist Alec Down and his team of volunteers.

A spokesman for Chichester District Council said: “Project conservationists have drilled to take discrete samples of brick and mortar and these will be analysed for moisture and salt content so a suitable preservational display environment can be designed.

“Given the very good state of preservation, it appears the remains can easily, though with care, form a permanent display.

“The Roman sewer that runs through the site has been re-opened and intensively sampled.

“Archaeologically, this aspect of the investigation is very exciting as during earlier excavations, relatively few environmental samples were taken.

“The application of new analytical techniques applied to newly-recovered samples will allow parasite eggs, seed cases and other classes of environmental remains to be examined, and from these, we can reconstruct aspects of the Chichester Romans’ health and diet.”

Archaeologists found the 1970 and 1990 excavations plans and details to be accurate to within about 2cm-3cm, allowing plans of known archaeology to be rectified.

Plans to millimetre accuracy will be supplied to engineers and architects of the new museum.

The car park is closed while the work is undertaken but the lower, larger part of it will be re-opened next week when it is complete.

The upper area will remain shut to protect the remains.

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