Aug 2018

Archaeologists find Norman floor at Bath Abbey

A stunning 13th century tiled floor that hasn't been seen for 500 years has been discovered at Bath Abbey by Wessex Archaeology during renovation works for the Footprint Project.

The vividly coloured tiles were discovered around two metres below the current Abbey floor level in a small area of special excavation. They give a glimpse into what the interior of the Norman cathedral, which once stood on the site, would have looked like. 

The section of floor uncovered will be comprehensively recorded, and will eventually be part of a 3D model encompassing all of the excavations within the Abbey. The tiles will be protected and preserved in situ before the floor layers are built back up to their present level.

Charles Curnock, Footprint Project Director at Bath Abbey, said “We have been surprised and thrilled by the beautiful medieval tiles that Wessex Archaeology has found as they dig down through the different layers of history below the floor.

We have always known that before the current Gothic church was built there stood a Norman Cathedral and before that an Anglo-Saxon monastery. Lifting the pews and repairing the floor as part of the Footprint project is a once-in-a-lifetime opportunity; it will mean that we can maintain and make improvements to this beautiful building, and change how it can be used to better serve the city, visitors and future generations. However, a massive bonus is that it has allowed us to discover important parts of the heritage; things like these beautiful tiles which are being seen for the first time in centuries. If it wasn’t for the work carried out for the Footprint project we would have no idea they were here."

Read more about the significance of the finds here.

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Archaeologists find Norman floor at Bath Abbey