chapter  4
Aer the Rats: Cosa in the Late Empire and Early
ByMiddle Ages
Pages 18

We are returning to the subject for two reasons. First, although we do not have new information from the site, it seems appropriate to situate it in the current debate on the model proposed by Francovich and Hodges (2003, 109-10) for the evolution of Tuscan, and indeed Italian, settlement in the Early Middle Ages. According to this model, aer the denitive dissolution of the ancient or classical Roman landscape with the abandonment of the villas towards the middle of the sixth century, the new military élites of Italy, both in Byzantine and Lombard territories, gradually deserted their territorial base. In the seventh century nuclear hilltop villages were created by much of the peasant population. en, between the end of the eighth and the ninth centuries, new rural élites developed, with increasingly hierarchical spaces within the existing villages. Carolingian aristocracies thus converged on the new landscape, further

transforming it (ibid., 107-8; see also Brogiolo and Chavarría Arnau 2005, Chapter 7; Valenti 2005, 199-201). Indeed, a long review article by Emanuele Vaccaro (2005) has already questioned our conclusions in the light of this model. A second reason to revisit Cosa is that some of our conclusions have evolved since the 2004 publication, and it is worth reconsidering them in the light of evidence from elsewhere.