Monday, 5 November 2007

Caerleon Roman Fort, Baths & Amphitheatre

Caerleon (or Isca Augusta, as the Romans called it)
was one of only a few Roman Fortress sites in Britain
(Chester & York being the others).

for more history: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Isca_Augusta


The view of the amphitheatre from the road

The amphitheatre was excavated in the late 1920s,
and would orginally probably have had 6 'stands' built of wood,
with tiered seating, so that the spectators could get a better view.
Some of the stands had verandahs so that spectators
could get an even closer (but safe) view.

The gaps between the earthworks and walls (above)
are the doorways from which the gladiators and
their opponents would enter the main arena

Can you imagine the amphitheatre filled with
thousands of eager spectators - the atmosphere
would have been very similar to that experienced
in a large modern sports arena today.

This was the 'service area' for the special part of the stand
(which would have been directly above this area)
reserved for the most important Roman dignitary.

You can see the remains of a brick lined oven
in the wall at the top in the middle of the picture

This is a section of original Roman pavement in the amphitheatre


A large woodcarving of a Roman soldier's head,
outside the Museum in Caerleon


A small section of the Roman Baths has been housed.
Much more of it lies beneath the modern town,
but this area was excavated in the late 1920s.

This was part of a large outdoor pool,
which was used by Legionnaires (and their families) to keep fit.

Indoor facilities included underfloor heating,
warm baths, & steam rooms.

After their swimming session in the cold bathing pool,
and their relaxing time in the warm bathing pool,
the Romans would have had massages,
rubbed their bodies with olive oil,
then gone for a steam bath,
and finally scraped the oil and dirt off their skin
with a curved implement called a strigil:

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Strigil

There were also areas for the Romans
to relax in - and they liked to gamble!


The barracks (below),
are the only Roman legionary barracks visible in Europe.

This was home to over 5,000 Legionnaires, all born in Rome,
and they had all the facilities you would expect
- including indoor toilets -
but for ten people to use at a time!

At the bottom left hand corner of the picture,
you can see the remains of a couple of the large ovens

This is the remains of a public toilet - which
consisted of a bank of about 10 seats
situated over a channel of running water.
One of the major considerations for selecting the
site of a camp was the presence of running water,
which the engineers diverted into the sanitary channels.

2 comments:

PhotoGuide said...

I Love Stone Ruins

Penny said...

Once again, I'm awed by the centuries. Have you ever been to Vindalonda? It's a settlement town along Hadrian's Wall. This reminded me of some of the pics I've seen.