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hypocaust
CATEGORY: structure
DEFINITION: A Roman heating system in which a floor of tile and concrete, sometimes with mosaic, was supported on low tiled pillars to allow the hot air from a furnace to circulate beneath it. Warm air, heated in an outside stokehole, circulated under the raised floor and also often entered room through vents above floor level. The gases escaped up box flue tiles at intervals around the walls, thus also warming them. This heating system in baths (thermae) and houses gave a central-heating effect. Examples are found from about 100 BC onward.

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