Sunday, May 28, 2017

Pre-Cosa 2017: Week 2

It has been another fruitful week for the small preseason crew at Cosa.  On Monday, Stefano and his stalwart team came to cut the grass and set up the fences around this season’s excavation area. 


The truck with the fencing and tools arrives!

Andrea stopped by to check in with us and the set-up progress and even had time for a quick aperitivo before heading back to Torino.

On Monday, Caroline and Sophie, who have been living just a quick train ride away at the American Academy in Rome, joined us too.  While each had dissertation and other publication research to pursue, they both also took time to help with magazzino and field work.  We were able to celebrate their visit with a trip to see Cristina and Gian Franco at the Pantera Rosa, the restaurant which provides our lunches and dinners during the regular season.  

Caroline takes a selfie of our ragu course (featuring, from L-R around the table:  Caroline, me, Nora, Ana, Allison, Christina, Melissa, and Sophie).

Continuing the theme of arrivals, Ana additionally joined the early crew on Wednesday.  She and Sophie were integral additions to the team of Allison, Melissa, and Nora who reopened the portion of Elevated Cisterns 2 near the marble labrum.  Excavation there revealed a degraded floor to the east of the labrum, as well as some wall collapse.

Nora and Allison excavate near the labrum.

The exposed marble labrum.
Christina soldiered on in the magazzino, beginning to process the new finds coming out of Elevated Cisterns 2, including an inordinate amount of bone hairpins. 
Allison and Melissa have varying opinions about finding so many bone pins.

Nora displays a bone pin.
The rest of us assisted her somewhat with the cleaning and bagging of artifacts that she so carefully sorted and recorded.  Between help with cleaning and bagging, I relabeled the photographs of cataloged artifacts from the 2013-2016 seasons so that they will be more accessible for study as we look towards collating and publishing the results from the bath excavations in the near future.


Finally, anticipation grows as we near the beginning of the season proper.  The rest of our excavation and lab crew begins arriving May 30th-31st and we will hopefully be in full swing by June 1st.  Furthermore, we look forward to other team members, researchers, and friends arriving throughout the month of June—so stay tuned!

Sunday, May 21, 2017

Pre-Cosa 2017: Week 1

As we look forward to another exciting season investigating the bath complex at the Latin colony of Cosa, a small crew has already returned to Ansedonia to undertake some preseason work. 

Christina, our fearless magazzino (lab) leader, has been busy reorganizing and consolidating finds from last season in order to accommodate the new discoveries of this upcoming summer’s season (June 1st-30th).  She’s also dealing with various other backlogged tasks.

Christina hard at work in the mag(azzino).


Allison, Melissa, Nora, and I spent three days in the field reopening a section of Allison’s 2016 trench, Elevated Cisterns 2. 

Shot of Elevated Cisterns 2 on May 17th, before the “debackfill” process had commenced.
Wednesday’s work:  Melissa (and the rest of the team) remove the surface rubble and vegetation.

 As is wont to happen on archaeological projects, a very exciting find came to light there at the end of last season, but we did not have enough time remaining to fully uncover, document, and remove it.  This find, a large, marble labrum—a sort of bird-bath-looking-fixture of many bath complexes, attests to the wealth invested in Cosa’s bath block.

End of work day Friday:  the rubble and soil backfill of Elevated Cisterns 2 has been removed to the level of the geotextile placed at the end of last season.  The labrum is somewhat visible in the forefront of this photo, beneath the geotext, with its broken edge reaching skyward.


On Friday afternoon we celebrated the success of our first three-day week by taking in the views from Cosa’s arx, but Saturday we were all back to work again helping Christina with various other lab set-up tasks.  Tomorrow (Monday) we look forward to getting the fences set up around the excavation area, as well as the arrival of Andrea, Caroline, and Sophie!

The remains of the Capitolium on the arx against beautiful blue skies with a Nora for scale.