Monday, June 1, 2015

Day 1: Digging in

Welcome to the 2015 season of the excavations at Cosa!

Our day began with a tour of the site, which spanned the entire site of Cosa, including the House of the Skeleton, the Forum, the Arx, and some spectacular expanses of original road. The variation and layout of the site helped contextualize in our minds how the bath complex fits into the layout of Cosa. After scaling a few walls and noting some wonderfully spectacular views – the clear blue day was not lost on us – we began to lay out the trenches – our plumb bobs and stakes at the ready.

This year three new trenches are underway: Facade Sounding, Western Castellum, and the Eastern Sector. Particularly beneficial – especially for some of the new folks on the site – is the fact that each trench has its own hypothesis, a question to answer, which we will attempt to reckon with as we search through everything we happen upon. For the most part at the moment the most that we have had to reckon with is rocky back-fill, massive roots, a few (rescued!) worms, as well as some pot sherds and some tesserae. While the most intense gardening experience of my life has been well under-way, the promises of what the trenches will produce is eagerly pushing us onwards.

Squaring out the trench
In fact, while a couple of the trenches have been slogging through rocky (and grassy) back-fill, the Eastern Sector adds another component to the venture, including its own danger zone that must be reckoned with – a puteal (well head) that features prominently at one side of the trench. 

The anticipation builds.... what does this season hold in store for us?

After a day of working through rocks and roots (which mostly were securing the rocks, by the way) we were able to take a tour of the cistern, a vast underground component of the water system which fed the bath complex. The area was dark and damp, lit almost exclusively by headlamps, as we worked our way through a slightly muddy tunnel before emerging into the rest of the underground complex. The other side was remarkable, but also revealed exactly how much work can be done down there. 

Touring the underground cistern
After a long, but very fulfilling day, we are eager to get to work again tomorrow, to see what else will be revealed!

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