The 2015 Excavations
After a long hiatus, new excavations at the Roman colony of Cosa (Ansedonia) in central Italy began in June 2013 under the direction of Dr. Andrea U. De Giorgi (FSU) and of Dr. Russell T. Scott (Bryn Mawr College).
Following much investigation of the town’s sacred and public areas, this research brings into focus the baths complex and proposes the beginning of a new relationship with the Soprintendenza per i beni archeologici della Toscana, grounded in both excavation and preservation initiatives.
How did a Roman bath function and serve a community at a waterless site? How did its engineering exploit the only available potential water sources, those provided by underground cisterns and reservoirs, and what constraints did such a system impose on its use?
These are the questions the research at Cosa addresses. The proposed exploration of subterranean features along with the continuing excavation of the area around surface features that were identified in 2013, a Laconicum and four elevated catchments, is intended to discover the mechanisms that made possible the provision and circulation of water within the bath complex.
Although this community was disadvantaged by the lack of springs and aqueducts, from the archaeological evidence obtained thus far, it nevertheless seems to have successfully operated its baths for several centuries through a rational, sensible usage of water.
Altogether, resuming excavation at Cosa offers three benefits:
1- the new research agenda will explore a hitherto unknown complex with a focus on its architectural and social genesis.
2- it will spur conservation initiatives in tandem with the Soprintendenza in an effort to re-think the site’s presentation.
3- it will give us the ability to train graduate students at a fundamental ancient site.