Elizabeth Wolfram
Benton Keith
Bradley Schneider
Jessica Galeano

Students relaxing at Vigna in the evening.

Week 1 - Elizabeth Wolfram:

I can not believe my eyes when I first see Vigna-it is so beautiful I can't imagine that I am going to be spending the next six weeks living here. You only see views like this in the movies. There's a patio where we all sit out on lawn chairs and take in the view across the valley every evening. Everyone is so thrilled to be here, making friends is easy, and I go to bed my first day tired but happy.
The next day we tour the site, which is incredible. Professor Thomas leads the tour of the site, which includes the foundations of three monumental buildings, terracing walls, and a 7th century B. C. tumulus tomb. It's interesting to see in the field structures I've learned about in my classes. Then the work begins.

There's ten month's worth of growth on the site and it's all gotta go. The main ides I gain is that good, breathable leather gloves and long pants are worth their weight in gold. Even clearing brush is fun with the right people, though. Seeing the uncovered remains of a pottery workshop at the "Field of Dreams" excavation down the hill shows us what we're working for. Dinner is some of the best food ever tasted, partly because we are all starving, but mostly because its just that good.

The next day the real work begins. All of the trenches up at Poggio Colla have been backfilled to protect them, and every grain of dirt has to be taken out. That means hours of picking, shoveling, and hauling buckets of dirt. It's exhausting, it's hot, it's dirty, and it's strangely fun. Lunch is delicious. Water is key. Sun is hot. Sitting in the lawn chairs at Vigna, looking over the vineyards in the cool of the evening, however, it's all very satisfying.
More backfill the next day.

Take a morning interruption the day after that to help move the cataloged artifacts from storage to the lab. I still can't believe what cool artifacts have come out of the site. Otherwise I spend my first day excavating at the F.O.D. The dirt is rock hard, but the company is great, and I pull out my first Etruscan artifact: a roof tile. Excavating is tricky-I still think it's great. More the next day up at the hill, where I pull out my first piece of bucchero. The process has just begun.

Week 1 - Benton Keith:

After the bus ride from Rome this past Saturday, we made it to the small town of Vicchio where the dig is taking place. Many of us were tired from our travels and ready for bed, but we managed to stay awake for an incredible meal. I must say the food is the best I have had in a long time, although Europeans are not known for large breakfasts, therefore we must become accustom to our rations of bread and jam.

Benton Keith at work in the trench.

The first few days we have been digging up all of the backfill left on the trenches from the previous years. It is hard work and took about two days to complete. We then used our handy trowels to scrape the loose dirt from the bottom of each trench. Now that the foundations of walls are exposed, we can begin the excavation and find all the treasures for this season's dig.

It has been a pleasure to meet students from all over the world learning about the different cultures and languages. We work during the day and then have a lot of time to socialize and eat in the evenings before a well-deserved night of sleep. I am looking forward to a great season on site and of course the traveling on the weekends.

Week 2 - Elizabeth Wolfram:

Spent the weekend getting to know Tuscany. On Saturday, everyone took a field trip to Monterenzio, an Etruscan settlement and museum, and then to Bologna, to see the Etruscan Museum there. Monterenzio was like our settlement in a lot of ways, and it was interesting to see how the archaeologists there are interpreting their finds. The Bologna museum had an incredible collection of Etruscan funerary stelae and pottery. Then on Sunday a bunch of us went into Florence and had a sampling of the city. The ease of travel around Italy is great.

Jessica Leger, Elizabeth Wolfram, and Chase Slaton on Poggio Colla.

We started trench teams on Monday, so we can rotate around and get to work on all of the trenches. The first day was spent in V. P.'s trench, defining mud brick: a nice reminder that not all archaeology is easy leveling and finding things. The second day we were in Josh's trench, where we got a taste of excavating around stumps and roots. The third day was Caitlin's trench, which has so much interesting architecture it's difficult to excavate in the tiny spaces between walls. It's a nice problem to have, and the trench tours today made clear how many unanswered questions her trench poses. The pottery is plentiful, and occasionally you find something you didn't put your trowel in first. Those type of finds are getting more common as we all get a handle on working our tools.

The week also featured a material culture lesson where we got a chance to see and ask questions about past artifacts from the site. It's interesting to hear all the different interpretations of what exactly is going on on the hill. So much information is there for us in the ground-we just have to find it and interpret it correctly.

The highlight of the week has definitely been Bruno's ribs we had last night. I've never tasted anything like this in my life; I don't even like ribs and I find myself dreaming about them. Dinner's always a topic of conversation up here at Vigna-I'm wondering right now what's for dinner tonight.

Week 2 - Benton Keith:

This past week was very eventful, including a trip to Bologna and a good number of finds in the trenches. Saturday, Dr. Warden chartered a bus to Bologna for the group, making stops at three museums dealing with the Etruscans. It was a beautiful ride with the exception of making a stop due to a staff member who could not handle the curvy roads in a large bus. After a stop at the pharmacy, she was feeling a bit better and we were on the road again. Bologna is a gorgeous city. Myself and a few others enjoyed a wonderful lunch outside in the main piazza and enjoyed the people watching and, of course, being in a large city. After spending time in the city we headed back to Vicchio, making one stop at another dig site where it began to rain hard and we all got drenched.

After resting on Sunday, Monday morning rolled around and the work began. We were assigned trench groups that would rotate to a new trench everyday. It was nice to have a change of scenery daily and get to know the people in our groups. Many of us found ceramic pieces and other small finds. Next week we will be assigned new groups and start over once again, however we might find some bigger pieces.

This coming weekend I am headed to Rome along with a good number of students. It should be very exciting, and I am looking forward to seeing the architecture and the people. The weeks are beginning to fly by here in Vespignano, and I am enjoying every minute of it.

Week 3 - Elizabeth Wolfram:

Elizabeth Wolfram (right) working in the Podere Funghi with Martha Reichert.

This week has been more traveling between trenches since we don't yet have our permanent assignments. It's starting to get easier to see the big picture on the site, but there are still a lot of questions to be answered. There's less fumbling around now on the students' part: we're all getting the hang of what we're doing, and the work is going a lot faster. It's more official too, and we now get orders to "Finish a pass" instead of more general "layman's" instructions.

Working in Josh's trench this week we all got a chance to experience the joys of root removal. It's a royal pain, but you find a lot of neat stuff since roots like to latch onto artifacts. Unfortunately that destroys the most crucial information, the context, but there's not much we can do about that. Caitlin's trench, on the other hand, has plenty of context but so much going on in it it's hard to see the forest through the trees. Her trench is so intellectually stimulating, it's a lot of fun to work in. And we all get a lot of practice defining walls.

Work in the FOD was challenging as usual, but everything is coming along there nicely. It's difficult to keep levels going smoothly through rock hard dirt downhill, but they say if you can excavate in the FOD, you can excavate anywhere. The new skill we're learning is scarping, or making the vertical cross-sections even and level. It's difficult to say the least, but it can be done. I personally found a complete finewear base, but had some trouble getting it out. The supervisors assure me that I will get the hang of it soon.

Permanent trench assignments are posted tomorrow-we're all nervous, but it doesn't really matter where you work, its all going to be an excellent time.

Week 3 - Benton Keith:

Benton Keith excavating in Trench PC 19.

The trip to Rome this past weekend was an eventful one, including a tour of the Forum by Michael Thomas and a lot of people-watching. After a two-hour ride on the bullet train we arrived, then checked into the wonderful little hotel only three blocks away from the train station. We began our exploration around the city at once, after a long look at the city map. Our walk began with a stop at the Trevi Fountain, which I must say is amazing. I had only seen pictures, and to see it in person is simply incredible. After pushing through all the people trying to sell bubble makers and other junk we made our way to the Pantheon, which is possibly the most well engineered building I can imagine. Rome has many sites to see, and I recommend it to everyone.

This past week concludes the rotation of trenches. Thursday afternoon we will receive our assigned trenches and groups. This means for the remaining three weeks we will work in the same area and hopefully become experts. I have enjoyed moving from trench to trench keeping everything new and changing on a daily basis, but I look forward to working consistently in one area.

Friday morning my small travel group will be going to Sorrento for the long weekend. We plan to relax on the beach and do laundry in a real laundry machine, not a sink. I look forward to relaxing and catching up on some much needed rest so I can be ready to start fresh in my new trench next Tuesday.

Week 4 - Jessica Galeano:

Jessica Galeano in the trench.

Week four at Poggio Colla brought about many changes. For instance, we just got back from our four-day weekend which was a lot of fun! Some of the team members went to Rimini to see a concert and hit the beach, while others traveled down to Sorrento to see Pompeii, Herculaneum, and the beach as well. I went down to Pompeii and it was amazing to see the approximately 2000 year old city intact for the most part. The houses in Pompeii had wonderfully preserved mosaics and frescoes which made it possible to visualize what the houses looked like in their hey-day. It was a very eventful weekend to say the least on many levels. Needless to say, everyone had numerous adventures to share with the group in the trenches come Tuesday morning.

Week four is also our first week with permanently assigned trench teams. All of the teams seem to get along very well and are also very productive. On the FOD Base's trench found the remains of a hearth and some relatively large roof tiles. Unfortunately, Katy's group continues to find evidence of "where the Etruscans weren't." But her team has a great attitude and realizes the importance of finishing digging through the sterile soil which surrounds the building. Up on the hill Josh's team has made great progress in PC 26, as they are about to finish the first pass in stratum two. VP's trench has been turning up numerous finds; in fact they had 26 finds on Thursday! The best trench of all, of course the one that I am in supervised by Caitly, has been going quite well. We are working on digging through sterile soil so that by the end of the dig season we will be able to close both PC 27 and 19. Therefore, since we are predominantly digging through sterile soil in stratum four we have not turned up that many finds this week. However, as Katy frequently says, "It's not about what you find, it's about what you find out!"

As this week nears to a close the trenches are once again buzzing about upcoming plans for the weekend. It seems that many people want a relaxing weekend after the busy previous long weekend. As for me, I plan to hit the beach after a long week of digging in the sun. Ciao!

Week 4 - Bradley Schneider:

Bradley Schneider.

Well hello all from Vicciho, Italy. Amazingly it is already week four of the dig here at Poggio Colla and this is the first entry for myself, "SCHNEIDER!" as I've come to be known around here. Everyone made it back from our long four-day weekend safe and sound, although some more sound than others. There were many stories and experiences to share when we all got back. Personally, I had a nice, relaxing break in the beautiful town of Sorrento on the Amalfi Coast.

Now that we are all back in Vicciho, the dig has moved into full swing. This week marked the beginning of our permanent trench assignments we all so eagerly awaited. Up until this week we had been rotating our groups as well as the trenches to gain an overall feel for the site and its many aspects. It also gave us an opportunity to work with a variety of people. Now that we have our trench assignments we can really start to take an active role in "our" trench and focus in. I was placed in VP's trench on the hill of Poggio Colla, which allows me to work on my physique when carrying either our lunch or one of the "half-full" water cans up the hill. The other students in our trench and our supervisors make up a great bunch that seems to work extremely well together. We all seem to get along, work hard, care about what we're doing and manage to have our share of laughs too, maybe even a few too many. Another positive for me in our trench is its apparent Michigan flavor, since it contains three UofM students and an alumni. It lets me talk a little Michigan football in the trench despite being an ocean away from Ann Arbor.

After three days of work on top of the hill we've made some great progress and I'm already starting to feel an attachment to the work I do each day. This progress has also included some great finds, showing me that archaeology is a lot more fun when you're pulling something out of the ground, despite Prof. Warden's motto that "Its not what you find, but what you find out." It's nice to see something material for your efforts, after the hours of digging, scraping and sifting. And the past few days for me have not disappointed in this area. While removing a destroyed mudbrick wall I came upon an entire bowl, a piece of pottery embossed with letters and an extremely well preserved piece of iron. In these last few days, I feel as if I have learned so much about excavation and I was even able to break out the dental tools. Thus far our trench has been extremely exciting, yielding twenty-six finds today alone, and will surely prove to be just that and more for the next three weeks. Hopefully, along the way we will be able to answer some questions about what exactly the building on the hill is or perhaps even discover the answer to the riddle of steel.

Week 5 - Jessica Galeano:

Hello all! Well, Week 5 has come and gone here at good old Poggio Colla. Everyone seemed to have a relaxing weekend before the start of the work week. Most of the people decided to just take a day trip to Florence. I went with Natalie, Simone, and Christa to Florence on Saturday. We went to the Academia where we saw Michaelangelo's David, and then later in the day we went to the Uffizi. The Uffizi was huge, and we saw lots of paintings and sculpture. I was so excited to see the sculpture of Laocoon and his sons, even though it was a copy, as Jeroen later informed me. A word to the wise, make reservations before going to both of these museums. It costs an extra 3 euros (which I wasn't aware of at the time) but is well worth it so you don't have to stand in line for a couple of hours. We went to Rimini for the night and hit the beach all day Sunday. I highly recommend some down time at the beach. Rimini, albeit very touristy, was a lot of fun, and the water was wonderful! I think the highlight of our trip may have been the manager of our hotel. When we asked him where a good place to eat fish would be, he told us to go down to the sea and we would find plenty of fish. You gotta love the Italian humor!

Okay, back to life here at the dig. Monday, Tuesday, and Wednesday were all extremely HOT days! We think the temperature may have actually been around 37-42 degrees Celsius, which ranges from approximately 98-109 Fahrenheit. There is so much going on in everyone's trenches. In the past few days there have been numerous discoveries on the Podere Funghi, including newly found parts of wall and several black-glaze vessels. The black-glaze pieces were found in the kiln. This is particularly interesting since it poses several new questions such as, "Was black-glaze pottery actually being manufactured at the Podere Funghi?" Additionally there have been record finds up on the hill of Poggio Colla. VP's trench group in PC 23 broke the previous record of 66 finds in a day when they turned up a whopping 69 finds on Thursday! VP, the trench supervisor, was however accused of bribing his trench with a trip to the train station bar if the record was broken; this may explain why they were able to work so quickly!

Brandon Gonia, Jessica Galeano, and Cort Hightower
working in the deepening Trench PC 22.

As for our trenches, PC 19 and 22, not much is new. We are still diligently digging through "sterile" soil in hopes of finishing these trenches by the end of the season. The reason the word 'sterile' is in quotations is that every time we think we have reached sterile soil, some new artifacts turn up. We have been finding a small amount of tile and pottery, and today Brandon found an iron nail. Additionally, there have been several fissures that have been appearing in PC 19. Cort seems to be mesmerized by these holes, which may or may not be natural. Our questions about these holes should be answered in a few days, as soon as we open what may be a pit carved into the bedrock nearby. I can't wait to open the pit and see what, if anything, lies beneath!

That's about it for now. Hopefully I'll be able to write about a cool tomb with tons of burial ornaments, decorations, and an Etruscan skeleton next week. I know we probably won't find anything remotely like this, but it's still fun to think about it and that's what archaeology is all about!

Week 5 - Bradley Schneider:

Hello all, this is Schneider again checking in from the Tuscan hills of Italy. Here at Poggio Colla we are closing out week 5 of the dig, which seems amazing to all of us. We are now in our second week of our permanent trench assignments and everyone seems to be settling in nicely. When you look around the site you can really see the progress we've made over the past weeks and feel a sense of accomplishment. In my trench on the hill specifically, we have begun to focus our efforts on Trench PC 23, one of our three. In the past week we have made some amazing progress and finds. We definitely are keeping our trench supervisor, VP, busy writing in his notebook and continue to provide the conservators with lots of work. Today alone we had sixty-nine finds! It seemed as if every time I stuck my trowel in the ground I found something. Through all of this I've become an expert with dental tools, so if this whole archaeology thing doesn't pan out I might be able to pursue a career in dentistry. Despite the excitement on the hill, the last week has been a struggle for many with record temperatures here. They say it's their hottest summer here since something crazy like the 1700's. It has been over one hundred degrees most days and seems even hotter when working out in the sun for eight hours. I think we all look forward to cookie breaks (boy, can Italians make a good cookie), lunch and our trips to the grocery store for beer and popsicles (well, I know I do). Along with the actual digging we also have had a number of interesting lectures covering a variety of topics relating to archaeology. We are learning to create archaeological drawings, learning about the Etruscans themselves and even had the director from the famous Etruscan site of Murlo come talk to us. It was incredibly interesting to hear about another site that parallels ours. It really allowed us to reevaluate our assumptions and ideas about what we see every day.

Students practice during an archaeological illustration workshop.

Life outside digging has also been treating us all well. We all look forward to our weekend trips throughout Italy and the unbelievable Italian dinners we have around here. It gives us all a chance to enjoy each other's company and wind down after long days. Thus, far my weekend trips have taken me to Rome, Florence, Siena, Sorrento, Naples and this weekend I'm heading to the island of Elba for a little beach relaxation. Time seems to be flying by here and before we know it we'll all be on our respective planes home. Though we all miss our Whoppers, well at least I do, homes family and friends, it will be sad to leave this place and the people behind. Well folks, the dinner bell and a lecture are calling my name. Ciao until next week's entry.

Bradley Schneider at work in Trench PC 23.

Week 6 - Jessica Galeano:

Jessican Galeano on Poggio Colla.

Hello again from the Tuscan hills! This week, our last week of actual excavation, flew by. Nobody can believe that we are now finishing our sixth week of excavation here at Poggio Colla and the Podere Funghi. There have been many new developments this week in our valiant attempts to finish remaining work in the trenches before the laborious backfill period begins next week. So you remember the cool fissure I mentioned last week found in trenches PC 22 and PC 23? Turns out it's not a tomb of any sort. But the Assistant Field Supervisors from both trenches, Rachel and Adrian respectively, began to excavate it, and in the process removed many large rocks. Additionally, Adrian identified what Schneider excavated as an upside down, unfinished podium block in PC 23. This proved to be very exciting because it helps to solidify the dates of our phase one blocks. Our trenches, PC 19 and 22, also had quite a bit of activity this week. Both Kacie and I have found some teeth, most likely from various animals, in PC 22 NE. I also found a very nice hexagonal spindle whorl in this trench as well. While working in PC 22 NW, Jen determined that the pit lined with tile actually went deeper than what was previously determined. By removing the dirt and rocks surrounding the opening to the pit she was able to get a look down there. In fact she found a black-glaze handle which the conservators determined joins the body of the olpe previously found in the pit thirty centimeters above! We've also been finding quite a bit of bone and pottery as well. As for Josh's trench, they have started to find lots of pottery and the stratum they are now working in contains mudbrick and many bone inclusions. Down in the Podere Funghi new walls and post holes have been uncovered in the past week. These findings are suggestive of an earlier building.

Jessica Galeano excavating in Caitlin Vacanti's trench.

As for life outside of the dig, it has been just as exciting! This past weekend started off with a bang when the regional Italian trains decided to strike. Some plans were delayed, but everything seemed to work out in the end. I travelled up north to Lake Como and Lugano, Switzerland with Natalie, Simone, and Steve. It was a long hike up there, but it was worth all of the train, bus, and ferry rides to see the area and hit the lake. Who knows where we'll end up this weekend!

Week 6 - Bradley Schneider:

Brad Schneider lifting a large stone from Trench PC 23.

Here I sit and amazingly another week has come and gone. The dig itself continues to chug along smoothly. The dig's end is in sight and coming quickly. A definite sense of urgency has developed about getting as much accomplished as we can in our last few days of excavation. Over the past week there have also been some very exciting finds as well. While digging in bedrock and "sterile" soil, which will never again be called "sterile", we came across a possible posthole and a molded podium block from our earliest phase of settlement here at Poggio Colla. These finds do amazing things for us in terms of dating and really give us some more concrete evidence for early architecture at the site. There have also been some major happenings outside my own trench, especially on the "Fod." Despite early ideas about the "Fod's" completion this year, the discovery of a new wall and a tile with the imprint of a child's foot baked into it have left many people wondering about the "Fod's" future. So with only a few precious days left we have made some important finds while scrambling to finish as much as we can. The next step will be to undertake an extensive sweeping of the dirt, as crazy as that sounds - "sweeping dirt" - and refilling the trenches for the off-season.

Brad Schneider maintaining scarp in the deep north end of the trench.

Outside of archaeology we all continue to travel and have some fun. This week the town of Vicchio held its annual party and lecture for us and the site of Poggio Colla. The turnout was quite big, around 50 people or so. It was impressive to see the spread the town laid out and the pride these people have for their archaeological history. It was a nice evening in which we got to enjoy northern Italy's hospitality and make a few Italians wonder about a bunch of crazy dancing Americans. In terms of traveling, this past weekend I made it to the island of Elba off the coast of Italy. It was a bit of a long trip, but well worth it. It was quite an adventure. Unfortunately, we only had one day on such a beautiful island and only made it to one of its towns. We did take advantage of our day though, using it to explore a little bit and relax on the beach. The group is now all beginning to plan our final trip for this coming weekend. I think many of us are traveled out and tired of the whole tourist thing, so we may try to stay close in Florence and enjoy each other's company for one final weekend. Well, wish us luck when we move huge piles of dirt in the next week and pray for clouds to block the 100 degree heat. Ciao!

Week 7 - Jessica Galeano:

Hello again! Sadly this is the last web journal entry I'll be writing as our seventh and final week at Poggio Colla comes to an end. I still can't believe how quickly the past seven weeks have gone. Throughout the time we have learned how to excavate, write a trench notebook, deal with the uncharacteristic Italian heat, and make friends with the many people we've been living in close quarters with. It's amazing how close you actually come to the people living, working, and eating with you in such a short amount of time. I am so glad to have had the opportunity to meet all of the wonderful people on this dig and will surely miss them once we all part and go our separate ways in the next few days. Okay, enough of the sappy, mushy junk. Here's what happened during our last week of the dig.

Left to right, front to back: Jennifer Polguy, Kacie Coughlin, Jessica Galeano, Caitlin Vacanti,
Rachel Julis, Cort Hightower, and Brandon Gonia pose in one of the pits in their trench.

On Monday everyone began backfilling the Podere Funghi, except for the few people remaining to draw the scarps on the hill of Poggio Colla. This had to be one of the hottest days we have had here and also served to enhance the backfill experience (just kidding!). When Tuesday came around, everyone was dreading the thought of two days of backfill on the hill. However, it wasn't nearly as hot, and since we had nine more people, the previous day's drawers, we made great progress. In fact, thanks to our numerous cookie, Pringles, and popsicle breaks we were able to completely backfill Josh's and Caitly's trenches, plus a good part of VP's trench as well by the end of the day. So, all that remained for Wednesday was a relatively small portion of VP's trench, which we were sure we would be able to finish by lunch time. Everyone was in much better spirits come Tuesday night and the thought of backfill wasn't nearly as foreboding as it was the previous night. On Wednesday, we were all so motivated and efficient that the backfill was finished long before our normal cookie break time. Everyone put in a tremendous effort throughout the three days of backfill and it was amazing to see how much we accomplished in the end. I'll have to admit, it was rather sad to see our summer's worth of excavated material buried under loads of backfill. But I'm sure it will be just as exciting for next year's crew to unearth all of it come next season.

Speaking of next year's crew, here's some advice: watch 'Conan the Barbarian' before coming to Poggio Colla. Seeing how our jokes here never seem to die and that I feel as if I know the movie by heart without ever having seen it, the conversations would probably be much funnier if you have actually seen the movie. If anything, you should be able to know "What is best in life" and what "Two snakes, facing each other, but they are one," mean. All I know is that these phrases were quoted way too many times during the work week and on the weekends, yet somehow they never lost their appeal!

Speaking of weekends, here's the scoop as to what happened last weekend. Majority of the people went to Florence and hung out together in the evening at a pub that has become especially fond to our group, The Red Garter. Others went to Verona to see an opera in an amphitheater, which they said was amazing. In fact, Placido Domingo, one of the three tenors, was visiting at the time and performed in 'Turandot' with the company! As for me, I traveled with Natalie and Kacie to Venice. It was beautiful! We were typical tourists and went on a gondola ride. And, thanks to my big mouth, I convinced our gondolier to let us drive the gondola! We had a blast and yes, we all returned to shore in one piece! As for this upcoming weekend, many people are heading to Rome to catch flights home. A few people are traveling one last time, and others have a few more weeks to go. I'm excited to hit the beach at Elba for a few days and then I'm off to Rome and then the States. One thing is for sure, this was an amazing experience and something that I will cherish for the rest of my life. In the words of one of my favorite songs, "It's something unpredictable and in the end it's right, I hope you have the time of your life." I know that I have, and I want to wish everyone on the dig the best for the future and hope that you will always remember our time spent here together at Poggio Colla. Additionally, best of luck to those who come here in future. Make the most of your time here and you will surely have the time of your life! Ciao!


Franklin & Marshall News:
The four of us, Wes, Kacie, Jen, and myself, have finished our time here at Poggio Colla. We have received our research project, and have begun work comparing the black-glaze pottery from our specific trenches to other trenches throughout the hill of Poggio Colla and the Podere Funghi. While we are still in the preliminary stages, it should prove to be interesting and informative when completed. Additionally, we have taken upon a second research project which deals with the Munselling of melanin and the effects of solar radiation in the Mediterranean on Homo sapiens. Both of these projects will be displayed in full at the Fall Research Fair. Ciao!

Franklin and Marshall College Professor Ann Steiner with her students,
(left to right) Wes Court, Jessica Galeano, Jennifer Polguy, and Kacie Coughlin.


Week 7 - Bradley Schneider:

Well we made it! It's now our seventh and final week of excavation here at Poggio Colla. The traveling is done, the digging has been completed and there isn't much left to do. That is except clean up after ourselves, so next year's group can pick up where we left off. Over the past week we have shifted into somewhat of a panic mode about everything. Everyone is scurrying around trying to finish what they need to get done, whether it be sort that last bucket of pottery or sweep that last trench locus. All and all it's been a very busy and tiring few days. We are all exhausted and sore after fighting the scorching heat while trying to put all the dirt we worked so hard to remove for six weeks back into our mesh lined trenches for next year's students to rediscover. Although there is a chaotic atmosphere it has also been very fulfilling to be finished and look back at what we have accomplished and learned in a such a short period of time. I feel like we can all now begin to understand the attachment our supervisors have to their trenches and the importance of the simple things we were told early in the year. For me this includes things like not stepping on the edge of a trench so that the scarp you worked on for an entire day isn't ruined. This attachment and knowledge will surely be reflected in our final papers that we each have to write to wrap up our trench and experience here.

Charles Sauvin, Jeroen Oosterbaan, Robert Vander Poppen, Adrian Ossi, Sarah Houlihan,
Stephen Mills, Bradley Schneider (center front), and Chirsta de Zoete pose on their dirt pile.

Even though we are all looking forward to sleeping quite a bit more here in the coming weeks, the prospect of air conditioning and renting Conan The Barbarian, the end of the dig also means other things. It means we have to leave this place we've called home for so long now and the people we've come to call "friends" for the past six weeks. In retrospect, the time flew by, but at the same time it seems as though we've been here for a very long time and have known everyone here forever. It's really strange to see everyone packing and beginning to leave. Luckily, many of us were able to have one last weekend of fun in Florence together, which was great. So, in the next few days we'll all get on different planes, head our separate ways and return to our lives at home. And although it will be sad, I feel like we'll always have an amazing experience that few can say they've had to look back on.