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The ARCHAEOLOGICAL EXCAVATION, and CONSERVATION of a (circa 92 AD) ROMAN TILE KILN in JUNE, JULY, and AUGUST 2004

SURREY MIRROR Apr 27 2004

Historians uncover Roman tileworks

HISTORIANS in Reigate have been entrenched in a major dig in the town after uncovering a Roman tileworks. The discovery has been made in Doods Way and is thought to date from the second or third centuries.

But the archaeologists have been battling against the clock, for they had only until last weekend to complete their excavation before demolition gangs move in and demolish the house, Rosehill, on the site. What they found was an elaborate furnace system with flues made from finely-decorated hollow bricks. The outline of much of the structure was in place

County archaeological finds recorder, David Williams (pictured), said that it was an important discovery. The tiles would have been used in important buildings in Roman London.

© Surrey Mirror 2004

Surrey Finds Recorder Daviv Williams

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Thankfully! the Surrey Archaeological Society were given a bit longer for the "Rosehill" Roman kiln excavation, than expected.

Sadly, if I had read the above [intrernet search] article in the Surrey Mirror , the following photographic record would be more complete.

Therefor, this is mainly a record, of a pragmatic recovery operation, rather than the excavation for the Roman tile factory itself.

Nick Wells.

13 JUNE 2004
The above photo shows the whiteish foundations of the now demolished "Rosehill" in the middle distance. It also shows the emerging foundations for the 1st Century Roman Tile Kiln in the foreground.
Looking along the kiln channel, at this stage, there is a "plug" of ancient rubble in the fire channel. At either side of the channel, there are "scutched" foundation blocks formed from Reigate Stone. This is the oldest recorded use of Reigate Stone (Upper Greensand) for "ashlar masonry work".
The arch at the flue end of channel ( right), shows "approximate" the level of the kiln floor.
20 JUNE 2004

.

By Midsummers Eve, the excavated fire tunnel, reveals scorched flooring along the chamber. The floor is composed of "recycled" tiles. At the entrance Just beyond the stoke hole are nine inverted tegulae.

At this point the kiln remains were the most complete. Possibly thence, this structure might have been conserved "in situ".

3D Image of Kiln 20 June 2004

To view 3D image, hold head about 24" away from the screen, with eyes horizontal and nose square to the center of 3D image. Then focus on the distance. If this seems difficult, it might help to focus on srceen reflection at the periphery of your vision, at the same time.
The post holes either side of the kiln entrance were possibly occupied by bellow supports.
21 JUNE 2004

The now removed flooring at the entrance, reveals the bed of gault clay.
Downgradient from the Kiln foundations, there was further unearthed the remnants of a connected water system. This Roman drainage system maybe facilitated in the manufacture process.
Roman drainage pipes.excavated on the downgradient excavation of channel June 2004
Site Panorama 27 June 2004
28 JUNE 2004
On 28 June, there was a lot of visitors -apart from myself.
The SyAS Archaeological conservator John Price shows a Council officer some the photos of previous stages for the tile kilns excavation. SyAS link:- www.surreyarchaeology.org.uk
The green vitrified walls of the combustion chamber (pointed out above) indicate that wood was the fuel, as opposed to charcoal.
The work revealed further remnants of "decorated" roman tubulae running along either side of the kiln fire channel.
29 JUNE 2004
I tried to sketch the "Monument" at this point for posterity.
This panimation from 29 june shows the evershifting lanscape, that surrounds this kiln foundation.
30 JUNE 2004
 

09 July 2004

This site panimation shows a view of the conservators at work.
 
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