November 12, 2012

Notes from the bath house

Filed under: Egypt, Field photos — acagle @ 7:35 am

With photos! Today was very productive and we uncovered a great deal of the structure that has gone unseen since 1975. First, though, a couple of photos from nearby. First, the Great Mud Brick Wall of Death:
Desert Fox

This is just outside the bath and you can see how the wall is undercut along the left end there. Also note the two cracks farther back, indicating that it is starting to slump in the direction of the undercut and could probably go at any time. We plan on using new mud bricks to put underneath the undercut portion to hopefully shore it up enough. It’s a very large portion of wall so if it goes when someone is right next to it. . . . . .

Next: The Door Lintel of Death:
(Not: old pic code is back!)

Desert Fox

That’s a limestone door lintel and it is cracked all the way through. The doorway is very narrow and short (1.5 meters) so it’s not hard to bump the sides or the lintel itself. This rather frightens me as it could really go at any time and when I was working underneath it I tried to only have my arms under it rather than my head or similarly vulnerable body part.

Now, the bath itself, we went down to the second level underneath, which is the boiler room:
Desert Fox

The round structure toward the bottom is the wastewater basin, which we will plow down into tomorrow to try to find the bottom. Over to the right of that are two openings into the boiler “room”. The upper, smaller, opening is probably some sort of flue or an air vent. The lower one I had been thinking would be a door (it is visible on the 1975 photos) but it’s only a couple of feet tall and is bricked all around and narrows considerably just inside so I think it’s more of a stoking hole for tending the fire under the vessels holding the water. There are also vents going off of it to provide hot air to the hypocaust (floor heating system) and other warm air vents.
Smaller opening:
Desert Fox

Note that it runs into an opening going up and also connects with the lower, larger, opening going down.
These next two are from the larger opening, from outside and then a closer up view of the inside:
Desert Fox

Desert Fox

You can perhaps see in the lower photo the passages going off to the right and left, up, and probably back farther as well.

Lastly, we have a series of steps going up from the boiler area to the clean water tank where hot water was mixed with cold to then drain into the caldarium tub:
Desert Fox

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