Hypocaust mini-project July 2009

In July 2009 Craven Museum & Gallery tried to recreate a working hypocaust system; Roman central heating. Over four days, classes from Christ Church Primary School and Ermysted’s Grammar School helped experimental archaeologist Graham Taylor and the museum’s Assistant Curator of Archaeology build a hypocaust.

On the final day a fire outside the construction was lit to allow heat to travel between the pillars supporting the floor and up the boxflue tiles on the wall. A small area of the floor heated to over 37oC (100oF). This was a fantastic result and proved the effectiveness of Roman technology.

The hypocaust, which was built to half the scale of an original one, is on display in the museum along with real Roman artefacts such as pieces of hypocaust tile and mosaic flooring.

Find out more about Graham Taylor and his exciting demonstrations and projects.

Creating a Roman mosaic
Building the hypocaust system Cutting the mosaic tessearae to size Building the hypocaust system The fire that heated the whole system