2006 TRENCH PC 28
Field Supervisor: Caitlin Vacanti, Tufts University

 


Field Supervisor Caitlin Vacanti.

 Opening Report  Final Report

Opening Report - Caitlin Vacanti, Field Supervisor:

This season we are opening Trench PC 28 primarily in order to investigate the remaining portions of the votive deposit found last season in PC 27. This burial included three statue bases, one of which had an archaic inscription. Above the deposit we had uncovered a feature with gray and black soil, composed of organic remains and a high concentration of ceramics, both coarseware and fineware. We still need to determine the relationship of these ceramics to the statue bases below. Some of the vessel fragments show signs of misfiring; it is therefore curious to find these flawed vessels above such sacred objects.


Opening Trench PC 28; previously excavated PC 27 in foreground.

What is the relationship of this votive deposit to the construction history of our building? PC 27 preserves evidence of numerous construction events. This season's work will allow us to revisit the complex stratigraphy in this area and to reexamine the historical context of this votive deposit.

PC 28, the trench we are opening in the grid to the west of PC 27, contains the remaining section of this votive context. Excavation in this trench will clarify a chronology for the deposit. There is, of course, also the possibility that additional objects remain within the deposit. If this is the case, it will yield a clearer picture of the nature and purpose of this burial event.


View of Trench PC 28 from the southwest during Week 2.

This trench promises to provide some important answers to the questions which arose at the end of last season. The prospect of identifying the time and purpose of this votive deposit is very exciting. We have a fantastic group of students working with us, and I look forward to another summer of momentous discovery.


Work in PC 28 continues during Week 2.

 


Caitlin Vacanti explains PC 28 to Dianne Schlies.

 


Caitlin Vacanti and Sara Bon-Harper measure and draw scarps in PC 28, Week 3.

 


Week 3 removal of stump from Trench PC 28.

 


View of Trench PC 28 from the east during Week 4.

 


View of Trench PC 28 from the west during Week 4.

 

Final Report - Caitlin Vacanti, Field Supervisor:

First and foremost, I would like to thank the students this season for their great spirit, hard work, and enthusiasm. I enjoyed the opportunity to get to know all of you through your daily rotations, and I had a lot of fun!


Crew excavating in Trench PC 28 at the end of Week 3.

 


View of PC 28 from the southwest in Week 4.

We opened the eastern half of Trench PC 28 this season with the objective of discovering further architecture on the western edge of Poggio Colla's plateau. We also planned to complete excavation of a pit found in PC 27 last year, which contained a cippus and two votive statuette bases. With ambitious aspirations and plenty of effort, we managed to accomplish both of these aims in just five weeks.

Although we were unable to excavate deeply enough to uncover additional courses, I believe it is safe to qualify three linear sandstone features we discovered as walls. The wall in PC 27 which enclosed the northern limit of our western storage room seems to continue west, through the midpoint of PC 28. In addition, we discovered a line of sandstones which appear to be a cross wall, defining the western boundary of the storage room. This hypothetical corner strongly suggests the presence of further structures to the west of our monumental courtyard.


Trench PC 28 v iewed from the southwest at season's end.

We also unearthed an enigmatic wall which runs west from the eastern scarp of Locus 1, and bends slightly north before abruptly ending, just before the votive pit. This is certainly not the first curved wall we have discovered at Poggio Colla, but the fact that it stops without meeting any other structural boundary is quite odd. We speculated that someone may have dug through the wall in order to place the pit, but excavation of the pit itself revealed that it extends under the wall, and thus pre-dates it. For the moment, it appears that we are left with no clear indication of this wall's purpose. We will likely have to wait for further exploration to the west in order to understand its true nature.


Trench PC 28 v iewed from the east at season's end.

The pit itself did not contain any additional statuette bases, but with close observation I believe we now have an accurate, precise interpretation of its chronology. The pit contained a mixed fill, one side of which included tile and pottery fragments, a clear indication of destruction debris. The other side was quite sandy, with a high density of bone and packed with large sandstone inclusions. The sacred objects found last season were within the sandy soil, but both types of soil define the stips. Whoever placed this here capped it with further tile and sandstones in order to seal the deposit into the ground.


The top of Feature 5 in Trench PC 28 during Week 5.

 


Bowl in soil block prior to lifting.

It appears that they then piled a layer of destruction debris above this seal, characterized by a high frequency of large carbon inclusions. Interestingly, this layer was full of Hellenistic pottery, pan and cover tiles, with some misfired fine ware. The presence of misfired pottery may indicate that this debris came from a midden. Nevertheless, the vast extent of cover tiles in the deposition may validate our theory that floor packing can be identified due to their absence: perhaps someone had already picked through this destruction debris in order to find pan tiles, abandoning curved tiles for those which would create a level surface. I therefore believe that the pit post-dates the Phase II destruction, and the curved wall was constructed on top of it for the Phase III structure.


Trench PC 28 viewed from the north at season's end.

It is my contention that excavation to the west is needed in order to investigate the full scope of Poggio Colla's architecture. However, this season proved to be an informative one for Trench PC 28, answering questions which arose subsequent to excavation of PC 27. It was a successful summer and I am grateful to the team for working so vigorously in order to complete our goals.


Caitlin Vacanti writes in her field notebook while
Ivo van der Graaff and Jason Doran
sweep for photography during Week 5.

 

 


Caitlin Vacanti and Michael Thomas take photos
as conservation staff Anna Serotta and Chris White
lift a small sheet of metal from Trench PC 28.
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Nicole Beratesqui, Caitlin Vacanti, and Angela Trentacoste
triangulate points for final drawing of Trench PC 28.

 


Caitlin Vacanti drawing scarps in PC 28 for her field notebook.

 


Caitlin Vacanti explains Trench PC 28 to students and staff during final trench tours.