Ancient underfloor heating uncovered by Newcastle University team

Ancient underfloor heating

Archaeologists from the University of Newcastle, who were participating in an excavation to uncover the way people lived following the collapse of the Roman Empire in Somerset, recently discovered a room dating back to Roman times, complete with its own underfloor heating system.


The remarkable discovery was found by 25-person team headed by Dr. James Gerrard of the University of Newcastle. The site was in Lufton, Somerset, at the remains of a Roman villa.

Dr. Gerrard, the leader of the search, said:

In terms of the Romans, we have made a big discovery in that part of the building looks different to what Hayward thought it thought, we have found a semi-circular heated room with an underfloor heating system, and we’re still turning up plenty of coins.

The complex where the discovery was made is believed to have been a retreat in the countryside for an important official, who resided in nearby Ilchester, and the generations that followed him.


Previous work at the site uncovered an octagon-shaped plunge bath, complete with intricate mosaics, and evidence that people had moved into the villa as squatters once the Romans deserted the building. However, this latest discovery of an underfloor heated room is perhaps the most impressive yet, illustrating the complexity and ingenuity of the Roman settlers.

Amazing how this early form of heating has carried right through to the present day, with the popularity for underfloor heating still growing every day.