Among the recovered gems is an amethyst depicting Venus, possibly holding a flower or a mirror, as well as a red-brown jasper featuring a seated satyr next to a sacred column.
The significance of these gems is highlighted by the fact that they are not typically found in lower-status Roman sites.
Speaking to the Guardian, Frank Giecco from Wardell Armstrong said: “You don’t find such gems on low-status Roman sites. So, they’re not something that would have been worn by the poor. Some of the intaglios are minuscule, around 5mm ; 16mm is the largest intaglio. The craftsmanship to engrave such tiny things is incredible.”
In addition to the engraved gems, the excavation also uncovered other interesting artifacts, including over 40 women’s hairpins, 35 glass beads, a clay Venus figurine, animal bones, and tiles stamped with imperial markings.
Previous excavations at the bathhouse had revealed various rooms, a hypocaust system, terracotta water pipes, intact floors, painted tiles, and fragments of cooking pots.
The recent discovery of the engraved gems provides further insights into the recreational activities and luxurious lifestyle enjoyed by the Roman soldiers stationed in the area.