What's Under Our Feet? Young people to take part in Welwyn Roman Baths dig

PUBLISHED: 13:08 09 May 2019

The Welwyn Roman Baths. Photo: Welwyn Hatfield Borough Council.

The Welwyn Roman Baths. Photo: Welwyn Hatfield Borough Council.

Archant

Young people will have the chance to take part in a dig at Welwyn's Roman baths, all thanks to a £9,600 grant.

The five-figure sum has come from the National Lottery Heritage Fund and will be used for a community archaeology project to discover more about Roman life in Welwyn Hatfield.

A team - made up of young people from St Albans and District Young Archaeologists Club, Welwyn Archaeological Society and Welwyn Hatfield Borough Council's museum service - plan to dig into undiscovered aspects of the Roman site.

Visible parts of the baths currently include the hypocaust (boiler room), the tepidarium (warm room), caldarium (hot room) and the frigidarium (cold room) floor and cold bath.

"We are really pleased to have received this support thanks to the National Lottery Heritage Fund," said Ka Ng, the borough council's corporate director.

"We can't wait to get to work sharing the heritage of Welwyn Roman Baths with the Young Archaeologists Club, and expanding our understanding of what life was like in Welwyn Hatfield over 1,800 years ago."

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The baths were originally part of the Dicket Mead Villa, which were all built in the third Century AD and occupied for 150 years.

A chance discovery - by Welwyn archaeologist Tony Rook - of Roman tiles being dumped, led to the unearthing of the villa and the perseveration of the site underneath a steel vault nine meters under the A1(M) off Junction 6.

The preservation of the site in the vault covered much of the site, which can now be unearthed through geophysical archaeological techniques.

The community project will now survey the site and excavate a series of test pits to uncover more information about the Romans that lived there.

They will be helped by Dr Kris Lockyear, director of Welwyn Archaeological Society and senior lecturer at University College London's Institute of Archaeology.

The project - titled 'What's Under Our Feet?' - will kick off in early autumn of this year.

You can visit Welwyn Roman Baths all year round on Saturdays, Sundays and bank holidays, and also on Hertfordshire school holidays, from 2pm to 5pm.

Appointments can also be made by groups by emailing museum@welhat.gov.uk or by calling 01707 357850.

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