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Thermen museum, Heerlen

On 2016-08-12 I visited the Thermenmuseum in Heerlen.

This museum is built around the remains of a Roman bath in what was then called the vicus of Coriovallum, which is situated at the intersection of two Roman roads, the Via Belgica and the road between Aquae Granni (Aachen) and Colonia Ulpia Trajana (Xanten).

Of course only the floors and parts of the walls of the bath house still remain. Every easily accessible stone has been re-used in the centuries after the bath house fell into disuse.

The different rooms and baths are still visible however, and archaeologists have identified their purpose. The remains of the hypocaust system are still very well visible under the floors and in the walls. Even remains of the plaster on the walls and the mosaics on the floor have been found, so we have a reasonably good idea how the inside would have looked.

And an amazing amount of items have been found in the neighbourhood. Some of them in excellent condition. Most of them are displayed in a room on the other side of the bath house from the entrance.

Especially interesting were the remains of a Roman pottery kiln that were found in Heerlen. This kiln overheated and collapsed during firing, so it was found with a full load of ceramics, some of them warped or partially melted. What makes it special is that the potter wrote his name on some of the pieces, so we know who fired the kiln.

There was a temporary exhibition of artefacts dug up in the neighbourhood. What I found most interesting was a Nepalese kukri that was dated to the 17th century.

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