The Legionary Bath House and Basilica and Forum at Exeter
Excavations carried out in Exeter since 1971 by Exeter Museums Archaeological Field Unit resulted in the recovery of parts of the plan of a Neronian and early Flavian legionary fortress underlying the modern city centre. The introductory section of this volume describes the fortress, garronised by the Second Augustan Legion, drawing on the results of recent excavations and reinterpreting the evidence recovered by earlier work.
The main body of the report is devoted to an account of the excavations carried out in the Cathedral Close at Exeter between 1971 and 1977. These explored the caldarium, tepidarium, service areas and part of the palaestra of the legionary baths, which were constricted c.60-5. The baths were rediced in size c.75, probably following the departure of the legion. Demolition of the baths occurred c.80 and the basilica and forum of Isca Dummnoniorum were erected on their site. The excavations explored the south-east end of the basilica, the eastern corner of the forum-courtyard and part of a portico and range of rooms on its south-east side. The remains from the adjoining insula where the public baths were situated are also described. The basilica and forum underwent three partial reconstructions, the last dated to c.340/350. By the middle of the fifth century the site had been cleared of buildings and was in use as an Early Christian cemetery.
Finds from the site are fully described and illustrated. They include a large collection of Purbeck-marble mouldings, fragments of the earliest mosaic pavement so far recovered from Britain and other architectural and decorative material from the bath-house. There are also extensive pottery and small finds reports.
This volume includes a gazetteer of Roman finds in Central Exeter.