‘Spectacular’ Roman bath found in Baden


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Baden, which is around 25 kilometres northwest of Zurich, was known as Aquae Helveticae in Roman times due its thermal springs. There is still a spa quarter today.

‘Spectacular’ Roman bath found in Baden
The Kurplatz in Baden with the Roman bath in front of the “Verenahof” (bottom right)
[Credit: Samuel Muhleisen, Canton Aargau Archeology]

Work on the city’s Kurplatz unearthed the latest find, which was revealed by the Aargauer Zeitung newspaper on Friday.

“We thought that we might find the bath here, but it was still a huge surprise when we saw that it was in such good condition,” archaeologist and Roman baths expert Andrea Schaer told swissinfo.ch via email.

The basin is thought to be part of Baden’s legendary open-air St Verena Baths that were used from the Middle Ages well into the 19th century.

But the find was probably only used early on, and at some point during its history the St Verena Baths were made smaller and the Roman bath forgotten, archaeologists believe.

‘Spectacular’ Roman bath found in Baden
The Roman bath as uncovered at the building site in Baden, late 1st century, early 2nd century AD
[Credit: Samuel Muhleisen, Canton Aargau Archeology]

But it remains important for the town’s spa history because it may provide a clue to whether there was continuous use of the baths between Roman and Medieval times, which has not yet been proven.

“We are very happy that we have further evidence of a 2,000-year-old bathing history [in Baden],” added Schaer, who is leading the archaeological project.

Also found was the structure that captured the spring water, which was built in the Middle Ages, but directly on the original Roman structure.

Both together are a “spectacular” find, Schaer said.

Author: Isobel Leybold-Johnson | Source: Swiss Info [May 29, 2020]



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