2003 TRENCHES PC 24
Josh Moran, Field Supervisor
Field Supervisor Josh Moran.
Field School Students:
This week we've had some highs and lows
in PC 26. It turns out that the large coarseware vessel that
we had exposed half way does not continue into the western part
of the trench. Jessica and Emily removed the soil to the west
of the exposed portion only to find that there was nothing there.
That was somewhat disappointing, but as it stands, we have just
shy of half of the top of the vessel, with the possibility that
there are more intact portions in deeper levels of the trench.
Natalie Heberling studies
the dirt as she finishes the pass in PC 26.
In the northwestern portion of the trench,
we've uncovered portions of another wall foundation. Natalie
did a fine job of defining many of the stones in the wall so
that we could get a good look at them. Not surprisingly, the
wall is similar to the one about 5 meters east that divides PC
26 and PC 24. This means that it is a Phase III construction
(the last phase of the site's use) made primarily of rubble and
rocks of all shapes and sizes. The other characteristic that
it shares is the fact that it is incomplete. There are rather
large gaps in the wall which we are unable to explain. There
are some pieces of tile and coarseware that can be found within
these voids, but nothing that is at all substantial. It's possible
that after the site was destroyed for the final time, people
who were still living nearby came up to use the materials that
composed the recently razed building. As such, they removed some
stones from the wall foundations that they found to be useful
for their own constructions. It is also possible that these walls
were never finished in the first place. A question we must consider
as we go further.
At right, wall emerging along the west scarp of PC 26.
Wall emerging in Trench PC 26, as seen from the west.
Very near the western wall, we found
a rather interesting item. Jessica discovered a small fragment
of fineware. After seeing there was more left in the ground,
she removed the soil from around the item to find that there
was a complete fineware bowl turned upside down. The strangest
thing about the bowl was that it had a hole in the bottom about
3cm wide. The hole was apparently manufactured purposely when
the bowl was made. We are not certainly exactly what such an
item would have been used for.
Vessel found in Trench PC 26 after cleaning in the conservation
Another high point is that we are now
excavating the third stratum in PC 26. This appears to be the
latest archaeological layer in the trench. In the northeast of
our current pass, Alex uncovered a very large fragment of a fineware
bowl that had a black glaze on it. The fragment was a portion
of the vessel's rim, which means it is a "diagnostic sherd."
Expert ceramicists will look at diagnostic fragments and often
times tell the date and region of manufacture of the entire vessel.
This makes the fragment an important find for determining a date
of deposition for our third stratum.
Alex Keim and Cat Hinds in PC 26.
In the southeast section of our pass,
Cat uncovered a piece of sandstone which has mudbrick sitting
directly on top of it. Mudbrick was a sun-dried building material,
similar to adobe, that Etruscans often used to build the walls
of their buildings. It is unclear why such a small piece of mudbrick
is sitting on top of this small stone, but there is still a fair
amount of dirt to be removed in that area, so this may help to
answer that question.
Left to right: Josh Moran,
Jessica Leger, Cat Hinds, Alex Keim, Emily Lepkowsky, and Natalie
This week we've spent all of our time
excavating Stratum 3. Stratum 3 is our latest archaeological
layer and contains the artifacts which are still in their original
context. We've uncovered a number of interesting things in this
View from the south of the southwest corner of PC 26,
with foundation stones revealed along the scarp.
In the southwest corner of Trench PC
26, Natalie spent a good deal of time defining more stones that
appear to be a part of our western wall foundation. Also mixed
in with these stones was a fair amount of mudbrick, ceramics
and other rubble. This portion of the foundation does not connect
to the stones placed in the north portion. We are still uncertain
why none of the walls in our trenches are complete. Mixed in
with this mass of mudbrick and other materials, Natalie uncovered
a sling stone. A sling stone is a small, round and heavy stone
that would have been thrown with a sling as a weapon for hunting
or military purposes. Also mixed in with this rubble was a small
lead piece that had been pierced at one time. The hole in it
currently holds some unidentified material. It may be organic
in nature, but it is very difficult to tell.
Also in the southwest portion of PC 26,
Cat uncovered a portion of a roof tile that was a bit unusual.
It appeared to have an extra lip on the end. We believe that
this particular type of tile would have been used at the bottom
of a tiled roof in order to suspend an antefix.
Alex uncovered a large piece of iron
in the southwest area. Iron tends to corrode and cement the surrounding
soil to itself. As a result, it is impossible to tell what this
particular piece of iron is at the moment. It was sent down to
conservation for cleaning and identification.
We've managed to go a bit deeper into
Stratum 3 in the northwest portion of the trench. This deeper
level has seemed pretty consistent with the one we excavated
just above it. The soil has a high concentration of little bits
of pottery, tile and stone. There is also some evidence of burnt
wood and seeds. One thing we have noticed is that there are a
lot of bone fragments throughout these layers. Most are just
tiny little bits, but a few are large enough that someone with
a lot of experience in osteology may be able to tell what species
of animal they come from.
Left to right: Natalie
Heberling, Cat Hinds, Jessica Leger, Alex Keim, and Emily Lepkowsky.
Emily, Jessica and Cat have been finding
a good number of fragments from a large fine ware vessel in the
northwest portion of the trench. The fragments are scattered
all throughout the area. Each time we find a small pocket of
these fragments, we mark the spot so that once we've completed
removing the soil in this area, we can do a small map of the
types and number of pieces found in each spots. This may help
us to ascertain how the vessel was broken, which could give us
a nice hint as to how to interpret Stratum 3.
Left: Natalie Heberling
mapping the location of finds. Right: Emily Lepkowsky and Alex
In keeping with her ability to find weaponry
mixed in with rubble, today Natalie uncovered a stone projectile
point near a large rock at the north edge of the trench. The
tip is broken and there is a small chip in the side, so it is
likely that this point saw some use. It seems that the point
could easily have been repaired, so it is unclear why such an
item would be found mixed in with a large quantity of broken
tile and rubble. This is just another question we will try to
answer over the next week.
Left : large rock in the
north end of PC 26. Right: Asst. Field Supervisor Jessica Leger
Jess Galloway and Josh Moran discuss the wall foundation in PC
Left to right: Josh Moran,
Jessica Leger, Cat Hinds, Alex Keim,
Emily Lepkowsky, and Natalie Heberling in their trench.
As usual, our last day of excavation
was more hectic than all previous ones.
There was a lot of work to do in order to prepare the trenches
for their final photographs as well as finish up excavating key
areas. One such task was the removal of the majority of tile
that was exposed in PC 24 by last year's excavation. While we
were removing the tile, it was apparent that a number of coarseware
sherds that were mixed in obviously belonged to the same vessel.
After clearing more tile from around these sherds, one could
see a good number of similar sherds still in the ground. It looked
as though this large coarseware vessel had been smashed by the
tile. Last year, this tile was interpreted as material that would
have been packed into a floor to level and strengthen it. This
doesn't seem likely if a vessel had been smashed beneath the
tile. Such a find seems more indicative of a roof that collapsed
into a room. At the moment, there is no way to say for sure,
as most of the vessel is still in the ground, so it is impossible
to know how complete it is. It's still possible that it's just
a large portion of a broken vessel that was deposited alongside
the tile and other rubble as a packing or leveling material.
Next year's excavation should give us a better idea.
Trenches PC 24 (right) and 26 (left) from the south.
Back in PC 26, our final count for sherds
from the fineware vessel that were emerging in the last week
is 35 sherds in 11 different find spots. There are still a few
sherds that we have left in situ for excavation next year. Hopefully
we will eventually find all of the vessel. As it stands, many
of the sherds that have been removed will join with each other.
Based on the curvature of the body sherds as well as a few neck
fragments, I believe this may be an askos, which is a jug with
a very squat and rounded body/base and a long neck with a spout
at the top for pouring. It is interesting that so much of this
vessel is being found. Hopefully the plotting of all the sherd
find spots will be able to tell us how this vessel was broken
and deposited where it is now.
View from the south of Trench PC 26.
Many questions remain for PC 24 and PC
26. At this point, we don't know exactly what the function of
this space was when the building was in use. It wouldn't be surprising
to find that it was a storage space similar to that in PC 19
and PC 22. However, we do not currently have much evidence to
support that idea. Also unclear, is the relationship of the two
wall foundations to each other. Both are quite incomplete, appear
to be constructed in the same fashion and run parallel to each
other. Perhaps neither was ever finished or both were dismantled
for materials after the site was destroyed. Discovering their
relationship may also help to determine whether or not these
spaces were interior or exterior.
PC 24 (lower left), PC 22 and 19 (upper left), PC 17 and 23 (upper
right), and PC 24 (lower right).
One thing that is clear is that there
is a definite relationship between the space in PC 26 and the
space in PC 24. The soil that abuts the main building's southern
wall foundation in PC 24 appears to have been deposited by the
same process as the soil against the incomplete wall foundation
in the west of PC 26. Both soils have large fragments of tile
and pottery contained within them. They are also quite dark in
color and remain very lumpy even when moist. They both have frequent
inclusions of little bits of pottery, stone, tile and bone. Though
it seems that they were created by the same process, we still
do now know what that process was. Hopefully, there will be some
clue in either PC 24 or PC 26 next season that will help solve
that puzzle for both trenches.
View of Trenches PC 26 (foreground) and 24 from the west.
View from the southwest of Trenches PC 26 (lower left) and 24
Above and below: Trenches
PC 24 and 26 from the north.
Assistant Field Supervisor Jessica Leger.
Emily Lepkowsky takes levels for Jessica Leger to make final