Another week has come and speed by. It was really a fascinating week in the trenches. If you are looking for daily updates then I recommend that you turn to the Cosa Blog where we update the blog daily on what is going on: http://cosaexcavations.blogspot.it/. If you are okay with just a quick summary then you came to the right spot.
This week I bounced around to several different trenches, although most of my work was spent in Western Cistern 2. This trench is along one of the interior walls of the bath complex just south of the laconicum. Here we removed a large rubble layer and by the end of the day on Wednesday we had exposed part of the flooring, it was done in opus spicatum (or herringbone style) and there was even some red and yellow paint left on the floor. Alas despite our best efforts the sun and air did a number on the vibrancy of it but you can still see the faded colors. We spent the next two days clearing the floor and then exposing the wall along the northwestern edge of the trench. Nothing is more satisfying as trimming a baulk wall that is mostly a Roman wall, it helps make a very straight and neat baulk wall. On Friday will I was clearing the wall I also found fragments of marble and plaster undercoating still attached to the wall. It was so cool to see. The last thing we discovered this week was a second type of floor, cocciopesto (or opus signinum) a waterproofed type of floor, but it was separated by a nice boarder of the herringbone bricks. It was an awesome discovery and hopefully this week we will have a better idea of the function of the room.
Also this week I was asked to help in the bucket room, a narrow and deep room that connected to the cistern. It seems that this room is an integral part of how water was brought into the bath house. This year they are trying to find the bottom of the room. They had left half of the room unexcavated (to allow for a way to get out of the bottom) but there were several large rocks in that part of the trench and I helped Darby remove them. It was a good thing to because later that day that section of the trench collapsed and with the rocks removed it was mostly just a dirt collapse.
The final area of the excavations that I have helped with is clearing out the Mithraeum, which was in a room underneath the Town hall (curia). This wiki page is provides a good sunmary of who Mithra is and his religion (https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Mithraic_mysteries). We started by clipping back a lot of the brush and over growth (hence the need to burn a lot of the brush which I mentioned earlier). After that we cleared some of the old rocks and rubble. Finally we scrapped the top soil of the trench looking for a plastered ritual well that they found in earlier excavations. We ended Friday having uncovered a dark depression of soil that may be the well. Hopefully next week we will find out what it is.
Well, that is all the stuff from last week. Next time I’ll update you on our walk around Fonteblanda.