Excavations at Bredons Norton, Worcestershire, recovered a large assemblage of ceramic building material from contexts associated with the demolition of a possible bath house. A variety of tile types were identified, the majority of which were tiles from a hypocaust system. These included fragments from bessalis that were built up in stacks (pilae) to support the floor under which hot air flowed, and fragments from box tile (tubuli) that would have carried warm air up and around the walls.
Five stacks of pilae were preserved in situ, and traces of a mortar ring on the uppermost surviving pila tiles indicated that tubuli (box-flue tiles) placed on end would have formed the central section of the stack. The alignment and spacing of the surviving stacks meant that the sizes of the tiles that would have been used to span the space between the pilae to support the floor could be calculated.
Fragments of tubuli bore numerous small indentations, possibly made by a hobnailed shoe where someone had stepped on the soft clay while it was drying. Two other fragments have misshapen bases as a result of being dropped before firing. Impressions of chaff from spelt wheat, which must have been lying on the floor where the tiles fell, are preserved in the squashed edges.
The full CBM report will appear in A Roman villa and other Iron Age and Roman discoveries at Bredon's Norton, Fiddington and Pamington along the Gloucester Security of Supply pipeline by Tim Allen, Kate Brady and Stuart Foreman, a monograph to be published later this financial year (2015-16).