Wednesday, January 19, 2011

Roman bathhouses discovered in Southern Syria

Roman bathhouses discovered in the archaeological city of Bosra are said to have played a very important role in the social life of the inhabitants during the Roman reign.

Director of Bosra Antiquities Department Wafaa al-Audi said expanding the first part of the bathhouses in the 3rd century AD indicates the increase in the number of citizens at that time, Global Arab Network reported.

She revealed the chambers contained suitable basins while the walls were covered with marble slabs and decorated with wall paintings, and the floor was also furnished with marble boards or mosaic paintings.

Clay pieces and tools found at the site prove that the bathhouses witnessed a stage of restoration and precise organization in the 4th and 5th centuries AD while an external square was built in the 6th century.

A number of commercial shops were also built over the streets surrounding the bathhouses in the 12th and 13th centuries AD.

The walls of the bathhouses contained pipes of hot water and air on which there were windows closed with double wooden shutters form the outside while they were closed with colourful glass from the inside.

Glass-made open basins were put inside the gypsum between brick-made bases while the domes were built on the walls.

At the western part of the northern square of the bathhouses, the expedition unearthed the basis of the external part of the bathhouses' wall, which consists of rectangular stones of different sizes.

At the external part in the northern side of the bathhouses, a spillway for the salty water of the Roman bathhouses was unearthed, at the end of which a huge amount of Byzantine clay pieces were found.

The wall constitutes a roof for the spillway with a length of 8, 5 meters.

There were three public bathhouses in Bosra City, which provided massage service for the people.

According to the archaeological findings, the bathhouses date back to the Bronze Age and later, the Iron Age, and were built in line with the Nabataean architectural style, and used as bathhouses in the middle of the 2nd century AD.

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