Building Materials

Roman roof tile with dog paw print

This 'tegula' roof tile is made of clay and was probably one of many made at Whitehall during the construction of the villa complex. Locally produced tiles would be left out to dry before being fired in a kiln. During the drying process it was not uncommon for animals to walk over the tiles and several examples of animal tracks have been recovered from the site. The range of animals indicated by the impressions on the tiles include dogs, sheep and pigs.

Roman 'tegula' roof tile with dog paw prints

The roof of the Whitehall Villa was composed of two types of tiles called tegula and imbrex. The tegula was a rectangular tile with raised edges on its two long sides which ended with indented joints - these tiles abutted, and were jointed into, one another to form the basic slope of the roof. To make the roof waterproof, the raised edges of the tegula were covered by a convex tile called an imbrex.

This tegula is of particular interest as it is nearly complete and because it has been cut across the angle, indicating the complexity of the roofing structure.

A fragment of tesselated floor from the villa range

These tesserae are made of cubes of limestone and formed part of a mosaic floor. The tesserae were cut into different sizes with the largest cubes used in borders and simple geometric patterns: smaller cubes were used for figured roundels or more complex decorative patterns. Unfortunately none of the mosaics associated with the main villa range have survived stone-robbing during the 19th century. However, circumstantial evidence suggests that the main range of rooms, the floors of the winged pavilions and the associated corridor were all furnished with mosaic or tesselated floors.

Boxflue tile
Same item as above
Boxflue tile
Same item as above
Same item as above
Click here for the 2006 boxflue tile manufacturing experiment

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