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Isola Sacra - 3 Baths of Matidia

To the north-west of the Basilica of S. Hippolytus baths were found (there is no evidence that they were really the work of Matidia, niece of Trajan). They were excavated in 1972-74.

The baths were built in the second century (opus mixtum), rebuilt in the fourth or fifth century, and used until c. 550 AD. The main entrance was on the east side, a secondary entrance on the north side. These led to a large hall (1) with a pavement of opus sectile. A small room to the south-west (2) may have been an apodyterium. A monumental entrance with two granite columns, resting on travertine bases, led to the frigidarium (3). Here were a rectangular and a semicircular basin, decorated with marble. In one of these a lime-kiln was installed for burning marble. Via two rooms (4) the tepidarium (5) and caldarium (6) were reached. Behind these rooms was a service corridor (7). In a room to the north of the frigidarium a water-wheel was installed, for lifting ground water (8). The secondary entrance was flanked by shops (9). To the south of the building dolia defossa were found (10).



Plan of the baths.



The west part of the baths, seen from the south.
Photograph: Jan Theo Bakker.

[jthb - 10-May-2009]