Welcome to the Roman Baths Blog!

This blog is a behind the scenes look at the Roman Baths in Bath. We hope you enjoy reading our stories about life surrounding the Roman Baths.

Wednesday, 30 January 2013


Following on from last weeks blog on the Beau Street Hoard this weeks blogs discusses in brief what to do if you find something that you think might be treasure….

Coins from the hoard

Who do I contact?

Your local Finds Liaison Officer (FLO) is normally the main point of contact for Treasure finds (details of your local FLO can be found at www.finds.org.uk)
You will need to provide wherever possible the equivalent of a six-figure National Grid Reference (100m2).

What objects do not qualify as treasure?

• objects whose owners can be traced

• unworked natural objects, including human and animal remains, even if they are found in association with Treasure

• objects from the foreshore which are wreckage

• single coins found on their own

• groups of coins lost one by one over a period of time

If you are in any doubt it is always safest to report your find. Your local Finds Liaison Officer will be glad to record all archaeological objects that you find.

What happens if the find is treasure?

If the institution or individual receiving the find on behalf of the Coroner believes that the find may be Treasure they will inform the British Museum or the National Museum Wales.

What if a museum wants to acquire my find?

The Coroner will hold an inquest to decide whether the find is Treasure. If the find is declared to be Treasure then it will be taken to the British Museum so that a valuation can be recommended by the Treasure Valuation Committee: this amount is what a museum will pay to acquire the find.

Who is eligible to receive a share of the reward?

• the finder who has obtained permission to be on the land from its owner, and acted in good faith

• the landowner

• the person who occupies the particular site as a tenant of the owner (unless this is precluded by the terms of the tenancy agreement)

Who is not eligible to receive a share of the reward?

• an archaeologist who makes a Treasure find

• a finder or a landowner who has acted in bad faith, and not in accordance with the Treasure Act Code

of Practice, may expect a reduced share of the valuation, or none at all

(for more on the Treasure Act follow this link http://www.legislation.gov.uk/ukpga/1996/24/contents)

How long will it take before I receive my reward?

The period between the find being received by the Coroner and reward should not be longer than twelve months (provided no challenges are made), although it may be necessary to exceed this period in exceptional cases, such as large hoards of coins or finds that present particular difficulties.

For more information on the subject of treasure please follow this link http://finds.org.uk/treasure

Wednesday, 23 January 2013

Beau Street Hoard

Coins from the hoard
We know a lot of you are interested in the developments and process of acquiring and conserving a hoard found here in Bath. Found by archaeologists in 2007 on the site of a local building development this hoard has attracted national and international interest.

A stone lined pit in the ground held the hoard of 15,000 coins, separated within 8 leather pouches. What makes this hoard interesting is that it was set in a Roman building within a town.

There is a campaign to raise the necessary funds to purchase and conserve the hoard. With the Heritage Lottery Fund on board we can now begin to raise the profile of this campaign and ensure further conservation work and research is carried out on the hoard so we can understand it better. As part of this process a temporary exhibition is going to be put up in the Sun Lounge (part of the Pump Room complex on this site) and it will be free for all to view so if you are in town do pop in to take a look.

For up to date and in depth information on the conservation process and background information follow this link


For more information on the campaign please follow this link


Helen Harman - Collections Assistant

Display now up do come and take a look!

Wednesday, 16 January 2013

Update from behind the scenes

We have been very busy behind the scenes in the Collections Office at the Roman Baths.

Coin case Kings Bath Corridor

In the past year all the displays along the King’s Bath Corridor have been updated and two new display cases have been installed. With the completion of the King’s Bath Corridor we can now say nearly all of the museum cases have been updated and we have a lot more objects out from store and on display to be enjoyed by everyone.

It has taken the input and cooperation of a lot of different people from designers and contractors, curatorial and collection staff, operations and visitor services as well as mount makers and conservators to make all of this happen. We also have a dedicated team of volunteers who help us choose and research objects selected for display….

Have you been to visit us recently? If not why not put us on your to-do list for this year – you won’t be disappointed and we would love to see you. Why not arrange your visit to coincide with a Behind the Scenes Tour? You will be able to see first-hand the work that goes into presenting a museum and visitor attraction and you will have the chance to get up close and personal with the objects we have in store…

East Bath Store

For more information on the coin case shown above follow this link

For future tour dates follow this link

Don’t forget to like our Facebook Page for all the latest events and information

Wednesday, 9 January 2013

Seven Dials - Two Beautiful Bone Handles

The area of Seven Dials is just beyond Bath's Roman city walls. It forms a cross section through the defensive ditches that protected the city until the end of the English Civil war. During the next few centuries the ditch became a town dump and in the 20th century the site contained a night club and garden centre.

A dig was commissioned in the 1990's on the cleared site prior to the building of Sainsbury's supermarket which occupies the site today. Some of the most interesting finds from this dig were two unusual bone handles.

[A photograph of the two handles]

The first find is a handle made of bone with carving suggesting plant stalks, possibly wheat, tied in a bundle. It has a drilled hole at the end which would have held the metal blade. The end shape may have been used to hold a loop allowing the knife to be suspended from a fastening.

The second find is a handle of carved and turned ivory. It has inlay of green stained ivory and amber. Three sizes of amber suggest that the material may have been turned into a rod and sawn into discs. This may show an element of mass production in the making of these handles.

Although now worn away, showing the item was used regularly, the second handle has etched decoration. Together with the inlay this makes a pattern of flowers and leaves. Similar patterns exist on other handles elsewhere. This, together with the layer In which it was found, shows a likely date of the early to mid 1600's.

[Reconstruction of the second handle.]

This is a reconstruction based on study of the artefact. Deciphering the pattern was made harder by the heavy wear on the item. The blade is based on those from similar knives. The handle could also have been from a fork or a spoon.

As shown in the reconstruction, either handle may have been longer due to a metal bolster between the handle and blade. A copper fragment from the site showing traces of gilding may have been a part of this.

Both handles were most likely knives. Although they are quite small compared to modern cutlery the size is consistent with other examples of the same age. One reason for the small size was that paired sets of a knife and fork or even two knives were designed to be portable as people carried their cutlery around with them. Finely made and decorated sets were used to show off wealth.

Will - Collection Volunteer

Tuesday, 1 January 2013

Happy New Year!

We will be back on January 9th 2013

In the meantime if you would like to look at blogs from the past just click on the timeline (top left) or choose from the many labels as you scroll down (on the right).