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Cosa Collection, 1948-1988 | Photographic Archive

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Title: Cosa Collection, 1948-1988
ID: 00/AAR.Cosa
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Arrangement: The collection is composed by 1681 negatives preserved in individual polytilene sleeves and vertically stored in 30 acid-free 30 boxes kept in the climate control room.

1281 glass plates, 13x18 cm
1500 silver gelatine: 3x4 cm, 9x12 cm, and 13x18 cm

4900 positives have all been re-housed in polyethylene single slevees filed in 14 ring acid-free folders, vertically stored on shelves in the consultation room of the AAR Photographic Archive.
3350 silver gelatine prints: 6x6 cm, 9x12 cm and 13x18 cm.
Extent: 4900.0 Items
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Scope and Contents: The collection is composed of materials concerning the excavation on Cosa site carried out under the auspices of the American Academy in Rome, in the 20th century, initially under the direction of the archaeologist Frank Edward Brown.
Cosa was a Latin colonia founded under Roman influence in southwestern Tuscany in 273 B.C., perhaps on land confiscated from the Etruscans. The Etruscan site (called Cusi or Cosia) may have been where modern Orbetello stands; a fortification wall in polygonal masonry at Orbetello's lagoon may be in phase with the walls of Cosa.
The position of Cosa is distinct, rising some 113 meters above sea level and is sited 140 km northwest of Rome on the Tyrrhenian Sea coast, on a hill near the small town of Ansedonia. The town experienced a hard life and was never truly a prosperous Roman city, although it has assumed a position of dominance in Roman archaeology owing to the circumstances of its excavation. After the foundation, wars of the 3rd century B.C. affected the town (Cosa seems to have prospered until it was sacked in the 60s B.C., perhaps by pirates).
This led to a re-foundation under Augustus and then life continued until the 3rd century. One of the last textual references to Cosa comes from the work of Rutilius Claudius Namatianus in his "De reditu suo".
Rutilius remarks that by 416 the site of Cosa was deserted and could be in ruins. He further suggests that a plague of mice had driven the people of Cosa away.
Excavations (1948-54, 1965-72) have traced the city plan, the principal buildings, the port, and have uncovered the Arx, the forum, and a number of houses. Unexcavated buildings include a bathing establishment, but no trace of a theater or an amphitheater has been found. In the 90s a series of excavations was carried out under the direction of Elizabeth Fentress, at that time associate with the American Academy in Rome. This latter campaign aimed at understanding the history of the site between the imperial period and the middle ages. Sample excavations took place over the whole site, with larger excavations on the Arx, the Eastern Height and around the Forum.


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