Visitors to The Hive may have noticed something quite unusual under the main staircase, which is in fact a reconstructed Roman oven. This exciting feature has been installed in the building to give a glimpse into the work of the Archaeology Service.
The oven structure was discovered during the archaeological excavation at The Hive in 2008, which uncovered part of an extensive area of Roman occupation. This type of oven was used for drying harvested grain before storage, as well as for drying sprouted grain to make ale ('malting'). It was built in the late Roman period using masonry from ruined Roman buildings.
Here are some photos to show the process of installing the oven:
The finished product!
The oven has been installed thanks to the hard work of Archaeologist Chris Gibbs, Stonemason Lewis Allard and his assistant Joe Priest.
So, next time you visit The Hive make sure you take a look under the stairs and let us know what you think of this great feature.