Somerset

New dig begins at Roman baths site

Roman Baths, Bath Image copyright PA
Image caption The hidden baths will form part of a new interpretation centre at the Roman Baths

Archaeologists have begun exploring two locations in Bath which have been hidden from view for more than half a century.

The dig, in part of the Roman Baths complex, was partly excavated in the 1960s but then sealed up and left.

Archaeologists will investigate the masonry and also examine the materials used to backfill the baths.

The site will eventually become part of an exhibition at the new Archway Centre which is expected to open in 2019.

Image caption The work is taking part in an area of the tourist attraction which is not open to the public

Archaeologist Simon Cox said it is a "really rare opportunity" to examine the world heritage site.

"We don't get to do that sort of stuff everyday, a lot of what we do look at is fairly mundane...to come down and work in the heart of one of the most significant Roman bathing complexes is remarkable and exciting," he said.

One of the baths will be given a protective lining and filled with earth so it can be used as a digging pit for school groups, where children can uncover a variety of replica Roman objects.

Councillor Patrick Anketell-Jones said it was a milestone in the development of the Archway Centre and will provide "access to Roman remains that have never before been on display."

Image caption The site was excavated in the 1960s - so far archaeologists have found remains of stained glass windows

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