Military Baths and Local Adaptation: A Case Study of the Auxiliary Baths of the Cohors II Galatarum at ‘Ayn Gharandal (Arieldela), Jordan
Robert Darby, Thibaud Fournet
Since 2010, archaeological investigations of an exceptionally well-preserved military bathhouse belonging to the Cohors II Galatarum have been underway at the site of ‘Ayn Gharandal in southern Jordan under the auspices of the ‘Ayn Gharandal Archaeological Project (AGAP).
Built as new construction in ca. 300 AD near the mouth of the Wadi Gharandal to serve the nearby castellum, the builders of the bathhouse were forced to consider not only the topographical challenges posed by the surrounding landscape but the broader environmental conditions and extreme aridity in the desert environs of the Wadi Arabah. This paper examines the architecture of the auxiliary bathhouse at ‘Ayn Gharandal within its broader regional contexts and the influence that both local building and bathing traditions had on its design. Further, it seeks to answer who was responsible for constructing the baths and what their association with the Roman army may have been in the hopes of providing new avenues of research regarding military baths in other frontier zones.
Baths on the Frontiers of Roman Dacia
This paper is a synthesis of the most relevant data regarding the archaeological research of small Roman bathhouses (balnea) situated along the military frontiers of the Roman province of Dacia.In the Roman world, the latin term limes was understood as the summation of a linear fortification system, forts of information about imperial public baths, which represent an institution with an important role both in private and public sectors.Considering that provincial Roman architecture in a military environment is largely based on defensive structures, the topic of baths situated in this environment raises new questions and possibilities. Who used these baths? Soldiers, civilians, soldiers and civilians, in what order? To what extent did women have access to these facilities? Our paper whishes to discuss these question and more.
Roman military baths from Capidava (2nd – 3rd c. A.D.)
Ioan Carol Opriș, Alexandru Rațiu and Tiberiu Potârniche
Recent research on Capidava military thermae (2017) was carried out as part of a restoration and tourist development project for the fort precinct and the extra muros space, in the area where a site/tourist information center was constructed. This area is located eastward from the fort, about 100-200 m from the Main Gate. As early as 2015, preventive research on an area of about 1,800 sqm identified 375 archaeological complexes: 186 inhumation tombs, 133 pits of various forms and functions, 28 parts of stone walls, 5 dwelling structures, 2 combustion structures, 7 outside vents and 11 drainage sistems.
The research was resumed in 2017, with the clear aim of gathering all the available information on the ground and exhausting the contexts throughout the area occupied by the baths used by the auxiliary troops stationed here in the 1st and 2nd c. A.D. (about 800 sqm). The unequal information resulted from previous unpublished research (1988-1993) has added to it several categories of archaeological contextes: Medio-Byzantine dwelling elements (6 dwellings or huts, eqipped with hearths) and 7 medieval tombs.
By re-escavating and cleaning the debries from all the rooms and installations related to the thermal ediffice two construction phases of the baths could be clearly identified. They correspond to two channels of water evacuation, documented with the stamps of Leg(io) XI C(laudia) p(ia) f(idelis) and Leg(io) XI Ant(oniniana). Other stamps were discovered also: Leg(ionis) V Mac(edonicae) and Leg(ionis) XI CL(audiae), which suggests repairs or extensions of the edifice during the 2nd c. A.D., after the initial construction moment. Several cocciopesto floors and praefurnia, pools and rooms with unclear functionality are unevenly preserved, being affected by late Roman and Romano-Byzantine dwellings and tombs dating from the 10th – 11th centuries.
Noteworthy is the fact that the military bats from Capidava are among the very few military balnea known in the final section of the Danube limes in Moesia Inferior.
Body Function and Life Process of a Roman Building: Viminacium Baths
Bebina Milovanović, Emilija Nikolić, Dragana Rogić
Viminacium baths, excavated from 1973 to 1974 and from 2004 to 2007, were in use from the second half of the 1st century AD until the end of the 4th century AD. Periods of the building life are confirmed by changes in masonry techniques and the existence of wall paintings with multiple layers, as well as by dating of pottery and numismatic finds. The aim of this paper is to analyze all these pieces of evidence, trying to find common causes for their occurrence.
During excavations, five apses (pools), a central hypocaust space and peripheral facilities of the building were found. Although the building has not been fully excavated yet, periods of construction can be distinguished, where every subsequent building was built on the previous one. The focus of this paper will be given to specific rooms that were probably in use only until the end of the 3rd century when the life of the baths was interrupted for a while (while other parts of the building were renewed and used until the end of the 4th century). According to the direction of the partially excavated walls of the rooms and geophysical research conducted around them, it can be presumed that the baths were included in the bigger city complex. Excavations in the nearby area conducted in 1902 and 1973 showed the existence of residential quarter where life lasted from the 2nd to the 6th (or 7th) century, but where also the 1st-century layer was found.
Viminacium baths are the oldest Roman baths to have been excavated in Serbia thus far and they are very important for the research of bath culture during Roman times in this territory. They are also, along with the nearby amphitheatre, the only large public building having been excavated to the great extent in Viminacium so far. Considering that the amphitheatre was presumed to be founded as a military one, but later incorporated into the city getting also civic function, we can argue about the function of the 1st-century layer of the baths and its possible use by soldiers of Viminacium legionary fortress. They also offer unique information on the everyday life of Viminacium inhabitants which formed a unique multicultural society. Future excavations will provide us with more information important for the research of its life which was inextricably bound to historical events that caused development and splendor, but also destructions and renewals of Viminacium.
Thermae Maiores – The military bath of the legio II Adiutrix in Aquincum
In the area of today’s Budapest twenty-five Roman baths have been excavated in the explorations of the past 240 years. The monumental bath building of the Aquincum based legio II Adiutrix, according to an inscription the Thermae Maiores, was the largest of them. The bath was erected at the intersec-tion of the two main roads of the legionary fortress. Stretching over an area of more than 16,800 square meters the floor plan of these baths is bilaterally symmetrical. According to the ar-chaeological excavations we know about 48 rooms of this bath. It consisted of a porticus, a palaestra, a big natatio, changing rooms, frigidarium with basin, two nympheums, an-other frigidarium with cold water basins, a round sudatorium and another sweat bath with an apse, four tepidaria, and an oblong caldarium with two niches for rectangular basins sur-rounded with praefurnia.
This bath was built under the reign of Trajan or Hadrian, when the legionary fort was built in stone. It was rebuilt several times in the Roman period. One inscription proved a big re-construction in 268 A.D. (CIL III 10492). It was rebuilt also in the second half of the fourth century and became the resi-dence of the military leader of the province. In this period a new little private bath was constructed near the former mili-tary bath.
Running water was supplied from springs 3.5 km north of the bath. The water was conducted by an aqueduct, which was built by the legio II Adiutrix in the same time as the military fortress and the bath. The sewage of the large pool was led in the drains of a huge latrina. Waste water was drained into the Danube.
The ruins of the bath give information not only about the wa-ter supply and the heating system but also the daily life there. The archaeological finds, for example a strigilis, inform us about the Roman bathing habits. The Thermae Maiores was not only a hygienic bath, but with the military hospital nearby provided facilities for healing and recreation, which is proved by inscriptions and reliefs.
Dishing the dirt on the textile tools found in Roman (military) baths
In her publications about the small finds from Roman bathhouses, both public and military, A.M. Whitmore (2013. and 2016.) called our attention to the occurence of textile tools among them (e.g. whorls, weights, needles and weaving tablets). She also outlined several plausible possibilities for the interpretation of their presence. First, they were not used as cloth working tools at all, but as medical or hairdresser instruments, door-weights etc; according to her other explanation they were used for producing textiles or rather mending garments as a pass-time activity either by the bathers themselves or some slaves or attendants, but she also offered the possibility that this kind of activity could have been part of a commercial service in the baths.
A somewhat different approach and interpretation of these textile tools would be offered by this present paper, based on the recent research on the textile tools found in connection to the textile refurbishing workshops of Pannonia (in Savaria and Siscia), and emphasizing both the rather overlooked importance of corporeal and sartorial hygiene in densely populated e.g. military as well as urban contexts and the tragic consequences of their lack for e.g. ancient armies.
My bath is in my fort? Bath buildings in military context in Noricum and Western Pannonia
René Ployer & Eva Steigberger
In this contribution, bath buildings within or close to military installations at the Norican and Western Pannonian Limes will be examined more closely. The question is raised as to whether there are differences in location, size, design and interior fittings of the bath buildings in fortlets, forts and legionary fortresses. We follow the question when were baths built inside and outside the military facilities. Was the size of the baths proportional to the number of soldiers that used them? And who was allowed to use the bathing facilities? Can small finds give information about this? Baths within forts have been built by the soldiers themselves, but who built the baths outside the military installations in the surrounding vici? Furthermore, the question of modifications and changes to the bath buildings during their useful life should be investigated.