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Help fund the full excavation of East Terminal Wall, the exterior wall of a Roman bath complex in the Roman colony of Cosa (273 BCE) Read more

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This project was successfully funded on April 29, 2014.

Help fund the full excavation of East Terminal Wall, the exterior wall of a Roman bath complex in the Roman colony of Cosa (273 BCE)

Ann Glennie
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Ann Glennie

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About this project

The Roman colony of Cosa (modern Ansedonia), located about 140km up the Italian coast from Rome, was founded in 273 BCE.  Excavations on this site, which is integral to the understanding of ancient Roman colonial life, first began in 1948, but several areas of the colony remain unexcavated.  Excavations have therefore been recently renewed under the auspices of Florida State University, Bryn Mawr, and the University of Tuebingen.  

Early excavations of Cosa.
Early excavations of Cosa.

In the summer of 2013, excavations centered on the bath complex never previously investigated.  One of the most crucial focuses of these excavations was that of East Terminal Wall, a wall believed to be an exterior wall of the small bath complex.  Excavation of such a wall is crucial for discovering the overall layout of the complex as well as for understanding Roman engineering techniques employed on large load bearing walls which would have supported impressive concrete vaults.

Early stages of excavation on East Terminal Wall in 2013.
Early stages of excavation on East Terminal Wall in 2013.

Due to both time constraints and budget constraints, very little of East Terminal Wall was exposed during the 2013 season.  But, with support from this Kickstarter, during the 2014 season (June 1st-June 30th) a much larger extent will be revealed and studied.  

Inspecting the foundation of East Terminal Wall.  This photograph illustrates the difficulty of excavation in this area which had so much overlaying fill unable to be removed in the 2013 season.
Inspecting the foundation of East Terminal Wall. This photograph illustrates the difficulty of excavation in this area which had so much overlaying fill unable to be removed in the 2013 season.

The funds will partially go to hiring mechanical movers which can remove the modern soil and rubble fill in the vicinity of the wall in order to allow trained graduate students to then carefully excavate the ancient layers ($3200 to hire two men and two machines for three days).  This team of graduate students will require tools such as trowels, pick axes, hand axes, shovels, wheel barrows, brushes, gloves, artifact storage containers, artifact washing containers, and recording notebooks ($300).

Example of mechanical movers hired in 2013 to remove fallen vaulting fragments from the Laconicum, a circular steam room within the bath complex.
Example of mechanical movers hired in 2013 to remove fallen vaulting fragments from the Laconicum, a circular steam room within the bath complex.

Once a larger section of the wall has been excavated and documented by the graduate student team, a firm of architects will be hired to draw the wall ($1500).  They will do so by taking precise measurements with a total station.  This electronic data will be used to generate various architectural plans of the wall, adding to the knowledge gained about the wall in 2013, and ultimately the overall layout of the bath in subsequent seasons.

Architectural section drawing done by the architectural firm in 2013 showing the relationship between East Terminal Wall and the Laconicum (circular steam room).
Architectural section drawing done by the architectural firm in 2013 showing the relationship between East Terminal Wall and the Laconicum (circular steam room).

 For more information about the Cosa Excavations, please visit our website or follow us on Facebook and Twitter.

Risks and challenges

There are few risks involved in the Cosa Excavations, and the main challenge to excavation is funding. We have the appropriate permits for excavation and an experienced graduate student team compiled from departments at Florida State University, Bryn Mawr, and Tuebingen all lined up. Excavation will certainly occur on other sections of the bath complex at Cosa this summer, but can only take place on East Terminal Wall specifically with the help of your donations.

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    Cosa Excavations tote bag

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    Cosa Excavations tote bag, t-shirt, and a statuette of the Cosa Faun

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Funding period

- (60 days)