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Roman baths emerge on the banks of the Cosa river in Frosinone


Following operations by the Soprintendenza Archeologica, Belle Arti e Paesaggio for the provinces of Frosinone and Latina, as part of preventive archaeology in the Ponte della Fontana area, Roman baths have been discovered. The archaeological investigation followed work on the sewerage system of the city of Frosinone near the river Cosa in Lazio, central Italy.


Roman baths emerge on the banks of the Cosa river in Frosinone
View of the excavations in progress [Credit: Soprintendenza Archeologica,
Belle Arti e Paesaggio per le Province di Frosinone e Latina]

The new discovery, which was presented during the conference on 9 April, may provide new and interesting information about the Roman city. In fact, over the years several Italic and Roman finds have surfaced in the area, according to the director of the Soprintendenza Paola Refice. These, however, have not yet allowed for any significant historical conclusions, which the new discovery can provide.




The Roman baths, located on the left bank of the Cosa river, present numerous data for dating their frequency of use. In fact, the bichromatic mosaic flooring of the first room dates back to the second century AD and is typical of Hadrianic architecture. In addition, two coins were brought to light, one from the age of Diocletian and the second from the fourth century AD, which confirms the frequency of use of the rooms up to that period, as explained during the conference by Dr Quadrino.  Some restoration work on the mosaic floor was also found, underlining the prolonged use of these thermal spaces.


Roman baths emerge on the banks of the Cosa river in Frosinone
Marble basin of the Roman baths on the Cosa river with access steps [Credit: Soprintendenza
 Archeologica, Belle Arti e Paesaggio per le Province di Frosinone e Latina]

The site is accessible from the Via San Giuseppe and is, in the stratigraphic sequence, just a few centimetres below ground level, demonstrating that the contemporary city developed exactly on top of the ancient ruins.


The archaeological excavation, coordinated by archaeologist Davide Pagliarosi and directed by the local Soprintendenza official, Daniela Quadrino, will have to continue in order to bring to light other rooms, in addition to carrying out works to protect and secure the site.


Roman baths emerge on the banks of the Cosa river in Frosinone
Detail of the mosaic floor with Triton. Baths on the River Cosa, Frosinone
[Credit: Soprintendenza Archeologica, Belle Arti e Paesaggio
per le Province di Frosinone e Latina]

The rooms discovered, explained archaeologist Pagliarosi, are related to the frigidarium, with spaces in opus reticulatum and bricks leading to a large pool.




The most interesting element is undoubtedly the black and white two-coloured mosaic tesserae flooring, which could indicate a wealthy or even imperial client to be further researched, thanks to the finding of some traces of fistulas (Roman era pipes with a manufacturing mark) impressed in the mortar of the mosaic flooring.


Roman baths emerge on the banks of the Cosa river in Frosinone
Detail of mosaic floor with sea ox. Roman baths on the Cosa river, Frosinone
[Credit: Soprintendenza Archeologica, Belle Arti e Paesaggio
per le Province di Frosinone e Latina]

The figurative cycle represented refers to the marine environment with a succession of monstrous figures. A sea ox, Triton blowing his horn, probably also a headless hippocampus and some scaly tails have been identified. In fact, the state of preservation is not very good and some tesserae are missing, due to subsequent anthropogenic actions such as farming. Moreover, part of the building has been compromised as a result of the deviation over time of the course of the river Cosa.


The large basin must have been lined with white marble slabs, and inside there is a marble apse, from which water flows presumably originated.




The threshold of the baths is made of tufa stone, with a lead encrustation made after the wear and tear of the doors, which shows the extensive use of the building, which was perhaps of a public nature.


Finally, archaeological research will also analyze the demographic growth of the city. In fact, in 2007 another 3rd century thermal building was found in the De Matteis area. The need for two thermal facilities in the ancient Roman city is an important clue as to its population size.


Author: Gaia Anna Longobardi | Source: ClassiCult [trsl. TANN; April 13, 2021]



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