Building the public balnea of Conuentus Scallabitanus (Lusitania)

Activity: Talk or presentationOral presentation


Public baths have been the subject of great interest in Hispania in the last few decades and in the case of Lusitania, studies have been carried out to produce an inventory of the known buildings and characterize the models and typologies that were adopted throughout the province. However, much like other forms of architecture, the spreading of this cultural habit required more than the simple diffusion of an idea, it required the transmission, adoption and, sometimes, local adaptation of the building technology and engineering that allowed for very existence of these complex buildings. In this regard, the methodological frameworks of Building or Construction Archaeology, firmly established in some areas of Lusitania, namely in Augusta Emerita and its environs, are still taking
their first steps in most parts of the province, with public balnea being no exception.
While the stratigraphical analysis of the individual buildings brings forward intricated details of the buildings’ lives and the way people interacted with them, it also allows to strip the buildings back to their original form and to undertake tentative analyses on reverse engineering in the hope of understanding the design (and human thought) behind their existence, with the study of ancient
measurements and metrology playing a crucial role in this. In a similar way, the analysis of the individual building techniques and materials
used, in different buildings and within the different reforms of a same building, allow us to better understand what building resources
where available or sough after, their management and the way they were applied in construction.
Both these approaches have the same underlying goal: to better understand the Building Culture and people responsible for creating these buildings. In this communication we explore this premise focusing on the territory of the ancient Conuentus Scallabitanus, which is the subject of our ongoing PhD project.
Period20 Oct 2023
Event titleRoman Baths and Agency - The Human Factor in Designing, Building, Using, Experiencing, and Maintaining Bath Buildings in the Roman Territories
Event typeConference
LocationRome, ItalyShow on map
Degree of RecognitionInternational


  • Roman Archaeology
  • Roman Architecture
  • Roman Baths
  • Archaeology of Architecture
  • Ancient building technology
  • Lusitania
  • Conimbriga
  • Olisipo
  • Conventus Scallabitanus
  • Eburobrittium