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by 16 ft.
our disposal. The result is shown upon the accompanying plans and drawings. A small but compact Roman house has been unearthed, the chief feature of interest being the unusual form of the hypocaust.
The first intimation of any remains being there was furnished by the plough, as is so often the case, pieces of tile and broken pottery being turned up, which led ihe directors to communicate with the Association. Commencing investigations, therefore, at that spot, a trench was soon dug, and the south-western angle of the outer wall of the house was laid bare at about 18 ins. beneath the surface ; and when I arrived on the scene Mr. Payne had already excavated a considerable portion of the hypocaust, which proves to be an unusually complete and interesting example. It is situated at the south-west corner of the building, beneath an apartment measuring about 18 ft.
It is interesting from the method of construction adopted and the absence of the usual pilae in its formation. As will be seen on the plan, channels cut in the chalk run round all four sides of the apartment, which connect with three other channels radiating from the mouth of the furnace; these channels were for the
purpose of receiving the horizontal fues. The three radiating Hues were constructed with tiles, the two outer of yellow and the central one of red tiles, the latter being large enough for a boy to crawl through. The interior sides of these flues were coated with a coarse, hard, brownishcoloured plaster, as were also the walls of the hot-air channel round the room. In eight-probably in ninerecesses round the walls had been fitted vertical flue pipes set in pairs, the remains of which were found either adhering to the walls or in the bottom of the flue. The outer flue was originally covered with flat tiles, but only a few remained in situ. After they collapsed into the flue, some pieces of the painted plaster of the room dropped into the flue also. This decoration had consisted of colour in wide and narrow bands, the colours being French grey, black, green and ochre, and several pieces of plaster coloured a rich dark brick red were also found. After the radiated flues were built, blocks of chalk were placed over them to make the floor up to the level of the
tiles upon the surrounding flue; then over this was 2 ins. of brown mortar, then 4 ins. of concrete mixed with pebbles, and floated off smooth on the top. There was no trace of mosaic or other ornamental pavement. The wall flues appeared to be plastered upon the natural chalk. Mr. Payne did not cut away any of the plaster to ascertain, but, as he says, there was no necessity for any masonry behind them. Upon the floor of the furnace was found a considerable quantity of white wood ash, and in the stokehole a thick layer of black ash. The openings of the central flue at the north and south ends differed very much, as illustrated in my sketch, but how the two forms of arches could be worked into the same flue could not be ascertained.
The plan of the house is a parallelogram about 60 ft. in length by about 33 ft. in width, and is divided by cross walls into three portions, the middle and larger division measuring about 30 ft. by 22 ft
. This probably was the atrium. The apartment next to the hypocaust was doubtless the kitchen, while three other rooms occupied the opposite end of the building. The walls, when uncovered, presented a level appearance, which indicated that the house itself was built of wood. In the larger and more important villas, where vestiges of stone columns and other decorative features have been discovered—as at the Spoonley Wood villa, on the property of my client, Mrs. Dent, in Gloucestershire—the chief building was mainly of stone ; but in the smaller houses, such as this at Burham, timber was no doubt the principal material; stout posts were morticed into a broad and solid cill, and the spaces between the posts were filled with a mixture of clay and straw, the whole being plastered over on both sides. The house very likely had an upper story framed in a similar manner, but with overhanging floor, not unlike the houses of medieval days; in that case the walls of the chamber over the hypocaust would be carried up solid to the roof and the hot-air flues would warm the upper room also, while the smoke would be discharged by a chimney on the eaves. Stone roofing tiles of the ordinary character were met with, and flue tiles, animal bones, oyster shells and pieces of broken pottery-ware and coloured plaster.
The only relic of personal adornment found was a small bronze fibula or brooch, which Mr. Payne's experienced eye detected the instant it was uncovered, embedded in the soil with what appeared to have been a portion of a vase
Plan of Hypocaust, Roman House, Burham, Kent, 1896.
of clay. With tender care he extricated it, but it was too brittle and too much decayed to be rescued uninjured. It is now in the possession of the directors of the company.
The house faced almost due north and south, and was evidently one of the smaller and less pretentious kind, many
of which have been discovered from time to time