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Roman Bath Discovered Paperback – 1 Oct 2009


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Product details

  • Paperback: 176 pages
  • Publisher: The History Press; 3Rev Ed edition (1 Oct. 2009)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0752419021
  • ISBN-13: 978-0752419022
  • Product Dimensions: 17.5 x 1.3 x 24.4 cm
  • Average Customer Review: 4.6 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (5 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Bestsellers Rank: 471,871 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

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Product Description

From the Back Cover

Barry Cunliffe, the great modern excavator of Bath, brings the Roman spa centre to life.

The finding in 1727, of the gilded bronze head of the Roman goddess Minerva during the construction of the famour Stall Street led to the discovery of the Roman temple and of the baths. Since then archaeologists have discovered more and more about the Roman city of Aquae Sulis.

In this new edition of a work first published almost thirty years ago, Professor Cunliffe brings the story right up to date. He deals in detail with the temple and its precinct and with the 'curse tablets' which have been deciphered to reveal the thoughts of Roman visitors. He then explains just how the bathing establishment was organized and explores the relationship between the spa and the town. We learn what life was like for the local inhabitants as well as for the visitors. Finally he charts the process of decline and decay during the 300 years after the Roman period.

Professor Barry Cunliffe became director of the Bath Excavation Committee when it formed in 1963. Since then he has maintained a constant involvement in the city and its archaeology. Currently he is a Director of the Bath Archaeological Trust.

About the Author

Professor Barry Cunliffe became director of the Bath Excavation Committee when it formed in 1963. Since then he has maintained a constant involvement in the city and its archaeology. Currently he is a Director of the Bath Archaeological Trust.

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4 of 4 people found the following review helpful By Mr. G. P. Nixon on 4 May 2006
Format: Paperback
This book is an absorbing and pleasurable text that invites the reader to explore what is known of Aquae Sulis in an informative manner free from the stuffiness that often accompanies works of this type. This should not be unexpected - as Cunliffe's fourth edition of this book one might expect him to have polished the text considerably since its first publication in 1971!

A glance at the table of contents might suggest a disjointed organisation of the text. He begins by discussing the geography of Roman Bath and its environs, and then the antiquarian interest in the past. Following this come the studies of Bath's two celebrated showpieces - the temple and the bath complex - in four chapters: a narrative of the discovery of the temple, then an archaeological study; and an identical treatment for the bath complex. However, far from being distracting and disjointed I found it an engaging approach to learning about not only the archaeology of Bath's principal survivals but the history of their exploration and rediscovery. It is a layout I find myself praising, although perhaps such a method would be unsuitable and unwieldy for anywhere other than Bath...

Cunliffe continues with a chapter asking (but perhaps failing to answer) whether Aquae Sulis was a spa or a town, and concludes with chapters discussing the people of Roman Bath (known from epigraphy, curse-tablets, and other remains) and a summary of the demise of the town into the Saxon period. This latter is necessarily brief due to the paucity of information, but is all the more thorough as a consequence.

Cunliffe provides what can best be described as a narrative bibliography which I found to be less easy for the student or researcher to access.
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful By E. L. Wisty TOP 500 REVIEWERVINE VOICE on 15 Oct. 2010
Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
A visit to the Roman baths, despite the official guidebook (The Essential Roman Baths), audio tour, video, models and other information, tends to leave many questions unanswered. This is an essential book to complete your experience, well illustrated with photographs and plans.

Cunliffe begins with a description of the physical geography of the town and the nature of the springs, followed by a brief history of what is know about the history of the town from the post-Roman period onwards. The discovery of Roman remains and the work of archaeologists from the 18th century onwards is described, before going on to full chapters concerning the temple and baths and what is known today as a result of the more recent digs.

A subsequent chapter discusses what is known about the rest of the town. There are in fact three main springs - apart from the one sourcing the King's Bath, there are two others to the west, the more northerly of which was surrounded by an enclosure and drainage channel, and the more southerly one supplied another set of baths. Interestingly a map showing the structures around these other two springs depicts another "spa" building complex to the east of the more northerly one, which is sadly not discussed at all in the text. From what we know about the location of the walls, all of these structures must have filled a very large proportion of the town, begging the question as to whether Roman Bath was a town or a spa/religious centre.

Cunliffe concludes with considering the slightly murky area of the decline of the town at the end of the Roman period.
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful By Lucky L on 1 Dec. 2014
Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
Really interesting read if you're visiting Bath. Well - written, and not too 'dry' in style for those who don't read much non-fiction.
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Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
very good book , technical enough to be interesting , written in a way that its understandable without an degree! well worth buying
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0 of 1 people found the following review helpful By M. A. Goodman on 30 Oct. 2009
Format: Paperback
I found this excellent book to be an absolute essential in answering all the questions which a visit to the Roman Baths raises. The book is exceedingly well written and illustrated putting into context all the various areas of this archaeological gem. Having visited the Roman Baths twice, I now intend to make a further visit armed with the extensive knowledge which I have gained from reading Professor Barry Cunliffe's riveting book. It succeeds in bringing to life the incredible facts of this World Heritage site. This is not a book which is of interest only to academics - it is written by an Archaeologist with hands on experience in a manner and with great detail which enables those interested to follow the history of the site from its inception through to the present day.
Mike Goodman - Northamptonshire
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