2004 TRENCHES PF 5E, 10, & 15

Katherine Blanchard, Field Supervisor
Laura Crowley, Assistant Field Supervisor

Field Students:
Abby Christofferson
Sanda Heinz
Andrew McClellan
Vounteer: Lynn Makowsky

Field Supervisor Katherine (Katy) Blanchard.

Laura Crowley, Assistant Field Supervisor.

Week 4:

Sanda Heinz (foreground), Andrew McClellan, and Laura Crowley working in Trench PF 15.

As always seems to be the way, right after the last trench report and right before the four day break, Trench PF 15 yielded some interesting finds. Andrew, Sanda, Abby and Laura were all taking a pass down onto our cosidetto "floor level" [this is an exterior space so its more of an area of high activity than a floor level] as I was taking out objects from a feature that has been exposed since last season. Some fragments had been broken and so we went to remove those in danger of breaking further. As we worked through this material, two vessels appeared. They are of shapes unknown to this site, but familiar to scholars. One, according to Erik Nielsen of Murlo, is similar to upright drains found at their site. They have an unknown usage at this point, but further definition of this area can perhaps answer a lot of questions for both sites.

Katy Blanchard excavating vessels in Trench PF 15.

Above and below: Feature 2 of PF 15.

These pieces are incredibly interesting and will not be removed until this Feature [wall spill] is defined and related to the cosidetto floor level that the students have defined so incredibly well these past few days. Andrew has cleared away a section of the trench onto two stacked tiles that might interact with the spill and Abby and Sanda have made an amazing pass onto this level in the center of the trench. While not scientific to assume, we do: the floor level will pass underneath this spill and we can see the relationship of the material to the level of occupation on this side of the building.

Andrew McClellan and Sanda Heinz working in the center of PF 15. View from the south.

I look forward to the continuation of this pass, both within the feature as well as outside of it, as we are beginning to come upon a series of artifacts that could give us more of an idea as how this area was used.

View showing the relationship between Katy Blanchard's trenches
and others open in the Podere Funghi in 2004.

Jess Galloway, Sanda Heinz, Andrew McClellan, Brad Schneider, and
Katy Blanchard foraging for wild blackberries in the Podere Funghi.

Week 5:

View of Katy Blanchard's trenches with her team at work during Week 5.

The season is coming to an end. As of this point, we have one week of excavation remaining. As of five minutes before the end of the day, our wall was found to extend through the entire southern end of our trench and thus we will not be able to close the FOD this year.

Our cosidetto "floor level" was followed with such skill that when measured, the entire trench is within 1cm of itself--that is, Sanda, Abby, Laura, Andrew and Lynn took an amazing natural pass onto a flat surface.

View from the south of Trenches PF 5E, 10 and 15 during Week 5.

Feature 5, our "heat related anomaly" is now 150 cm wide and also goes into an unexcavated section. Furthering the need to expand eastward next season.

Heat related anomaly, Feature 5, in Trench PF 15.

Questions arise as to interior vs. exterior space. As of right now, I do not believe we have enough evidence to give an educated opinion. The identification of our Heat Related Anomaly would assist in this. For example, if it were indeed a kiln, then this space was exterior. How do we then account for a cosidetto "floor level"? It was, as previously stated, merely an area of heavy activity. The fact that the wall extends to the very edge our trench at increasingly greater depths might merely mean that we have a terracing wall turned into the back wall of the building. One of the things that has made us all stop and think daily is the size of our wall foundations--they are much too large for a small workshop. However, this next week will see us expose the depth of this wall, as well as remove our drain and vessel. Hopefullly this will help us determine more before next year.

Lynn Makowsky (left) and Sanda Heinz working in Trench PF 15.

I would like to commend my trench for their amazing work this season. Andrew has been working in the corner of PF 5E where two walls join and on the look out for postholes and whether or not the foundation trench of the interior of the building continues. Sanda today excavated a shattered fineware bowl which had a fragment of coarseware rim that joined to a coarseware rim below. Abby has followed the floor level so well that I ask her if I'm on it and not the other way around. My assistant, Laura, has been responsible for Feature 5 and has done a wonderful job exposing its edges. Lynn joined us in time for our recent heatwave and has defined around rocks in odd corners. I could not have worked alone and appreciate all their efforts and their ability to make me laugh daily.

Abby Christofferson taking an even pass in the Podere Funghi.


Lynn Makowsky (left) and Andrew McClellan (right) in Katy Blanchard's trenches.


Assistant Field Supervisor Laura Crowley.

Week 6:

Left to right: Laura Crowley, Abby Christofferson, Sanda Heinz,
Andrew McClellan, Katy Blanchard, and Lynn Makowsky.

As of the writing of this report we have one final day to excavate. Tomorrow we will remove the last of the rubble around the edge of Feature 2, the area which yielded the vessels that were finally excavated this week. I feel happy with the amount of excavation that occurred these past weeks--I feel as if we are at a good stopping point and look forward to next years answers (hopefully) that this year's finds posed. First amongst these: is this wall indeed a terracing wall or is it the wall of an additional room, meaning that we have interior and not exterior space. As of this moment? I strongly believe it's a terracing wall due to the fact that our wall abuts and doesn't intersect and that it is a different size. Perhaps tomorrow's definition and cleaning will change my mind. That, to me, is the wonder of excavation-the theories change moment by moment as well as year by year.

PF 15 Feature 2 in context as seen from the east.
See series of related photos at the bottom of this page.


Abutting walls in Trench PF 15.

This last week saw the finishing of a few passes: Andrew dutifully scarped and picked through sandstone further defining the exterior section of our wall. Abby, Sanda, and Laura all cleared the last of a pass in PF 5E by the intersection of our wall to the structure. Here, they found 3 new circular carbon features (these are likely to be post holes). They arrived at the same height as the four that we block lifted this week. We save these as they are possible sources for later carbon dating. For every so many samples you often only get one good reading, so the more we save, the more likely we are to get a date for our post holes. Lynn finished the pass in PF 15 up to the wall in the SE corner. And all this time we painstakingly removed the vessels from within the feature.

Postholes in Trench PF 5E plastered for block lifting.


Postholes in Trench PF 5E and 5E/15 scarp.

The students rotated through this feature with me, so that everyone got an opportunity to work on the extraction of these pieces we had seen for so many weeks now. Abby lifted a beautiful rim that when it was pulled, we saw that there was a series of three incised lines on the body of the vessel. Another body fragment was found in the area in which Laura was working. Another vase-shaped vessel also had three incised lines. Today, a bowl came out with three lines as well. We jokingly liken this pattern to a modern day china pattern-these vessels appear to match. Andrew extracted both our full length cover tile and our full width pan tile. Sanda pulled out another rim that has been visible for weeks.

Lynn Makowsky and Katy Blanchard excavating large finds from Feature 2.


Laura Crowley and Lynn Makowsky excavating around
Feature 2 while Andrew McClellan refines the scarp.


Katy Blanchard's crew working around Feature 2 in Trench PF 15.

Our vessel that we have colloquially called a bird bath contained not only three rims of other vessels of significant size, but a full fine ware bowl. After two days of excavation, the birdbath was extracted by Lynn, Laura and myself. We also removed the visible pipe fragment and the section above it which appeared to join with it. As of yesterday afternoon we realized that this latter piece was not a pipe but rather a stand of some sort. That is, our pipe system was not a pipe system but rather fragments of large vessels. The fineware "birdbath" as well as this latter pipe section were both Etruscan banqueting vessels.

The large vessel nicknamed "The Birdbath" ready for lifting from Feature 2.
See series of related photos at the bottom of this page.

What does this mean for our small section of the FOD? I have not yet had the time to sit and reflect fully on the floor level and the banqueting vessels and the tile that seems to extend through both time frames. Perhaps it means that it is the same time frame. The post holes still don't appear in any sort of pattern. The rubble still covers lower stones. The heat-related anomaly still runs into the scarp and has no identifiable shape. The wall at the very corner appears to only have one coursing. And so as of right now, I do not know what this all means for our small section of the FOD. I only know that there is a lot of thinking left to be done this next week.

Abby Christofferson excavating west of Feature 2 in PF 15.


Fineware bowl found in Trench PF 15 next to wall (above) and with contents (below).


Conserved bowl and the soil it covered from Trench PF 15.


Head Conservator Chris White advises Katy Blanchard on excavation of Feature 2.


PF 15 Feature 2 in context from the east.


PF 15 Feature 2 in context from the south.



Feature 2 in Trench PF 15.


Feature 2 from the south.


Katy Blanchard definining elements in Feature 2.


Below, a series of three details of Feature 2 under excavation:




Sanda Heinz records Featuye 2 triangulation points taken by (left to right) Lynn Makowsky,
Laura Crowley, Andrew McClellan, Katy Blanchard, and Abby Christofferson.


Left: Sanda Heinz records points in the field notebook. Right: Laura Crowley triangulates points.


The FOD celebrates Super Hero Day.


Andrew McClellan shows his back. Left to right in front: Laura Crowley,
Abby Christofferson, Sanda Heinz, Katy Blanchard, and Lynn Makowsky.


Week 7 - Final Report:

Back: Lynn Makowsky and Andrew McClellan.
Front, left to right: Laura Crowley, Sanda Heinz, and Katy Blanchard.

The season has ended. The trenches were backfilled in record time-I have never seen such a productive bucket line in my time here. We finished half a day earlier than expected. It is still bittersweet to see your trench one moment and then turn around and realize that it is no longer visible. A sense of completion is sometimes just as sad as it is happy.

Katy Blanchard photographs post holes; Jess Galloway draws Feature 2 rubble.

Since the last update, we had one day of excavation. The rubble from our wall was shot in by the total station and drawn by Jess Galloway and then we removed it. Luckily, there were no large surprises waiting within the spill. We photographed the newest carbon features in order to get a carbon specialist's opinion on their extraction for next year. Abby, Sanda, Laura, Andrew and Lynn had spent weeks carefully defining and pedestooling these rocks, avoiding them every time they walked around the trench and in the extraction of the Feature 2 material; and in one fell swoop, I had them take them all out.

Sanda Heinz and her suggestive circular block.

Because of my trench's diligent work this season, we finished on time. Ultimate goals for the season change as finds are found and walls discovered. And in my opinion, we completed all the goals I set forth for the trench this year. The trench is at our cosidetto floor level and until the loci to the east are opened next season, we couldn't excavate any further in this area. We did not find the bottom of the wall in the corner of PF 5E, but with the discovery of new circular carbon features, I do not mind the stopping in progress in that trench.

Katy Blanchard explains PF 15 during final trench tours.

During my final trench tour I found myself saying out loud the theory I believe the most: our heat related anomaly could in fact be a kiln, meaning that the cosidetto floor level's high carbon, low terracotta content is explainable to its relation to the HRA. This could explain why it didn't seem to continue into the corner of the building-if it were in fact a floor level it would appear all the way to the wall. And what if our newly exposed wall were indeed evidence of another room of the building? It is already longer than the interior wall of the building, meaning that if this were indeed another chamber to the structure it would be larger than the one excavated with an entirely different set of stratigraphy and artifacts.

Final photo of Trenches PF 5E and 15 as seen from the southeast corner of the trench.

Dr. Warden asked me during the trench tour what I believed the relationship of the new postholes to the structure would be. While I felt as if I had thought about it before, I found myself giving a brief answer that I later wasn't satisfied with, forcing me to think about it all day. [One of the things that is beneficial about trench tours is that questions are asked] And so I say it now: the cosidetto floor level (high activity soil) is related to the wall and the visible structure. This I feel confident in saying. The circular carbon features represent the bottom most section of a post. Meaning that the post rested in the soil below the floor but was used in the floor. Thus, the postholes, while below the active level, are indicative of activity at a higher level. The hole itself rests in the sterile soil below and doesn't reflect an earlier phase. If we excavate through the floor level next year, we will likely find more postholes.

Circular carbon features--postholes in Trench PF 5E and 5E/15 scarp.

This weekend I drew the finds from Feature 2, finding many joins and associated pieces from things we found throughout this area of the trench. I started thinking about these pieces more while working with them in the lab, and I realized that I do not want to toss around the phrase Banqueting vessel because of its connotations. [It's the same reason I insist to the students that the heat related anomaly is not called a kiln until it has a shape-if you give it a name, you start to assume about its surroundings. The cosidetto floor level also remains slightly vague in terminology. Feature 2 is not yet called a pit. And the circular carbon features are only colloquially known as postholes.] While the large "birdbath" vessel is similar to other banqueting vessels, all we can say for sure is that it is a vessel with a stand that merely could have been used in a dining context (but doesn't have to be). We also have a coarseware stand, and as of this weekend I think I can say that we have many pieces of its associated bowl. The full width tile that Andrew discussed in his student journal last week has a join to a piece of tile that we removed on Thursday, making it a full-width as well as full-length tile. Its deepest end must have rested on some level that is deeper than our vessels. Is this a pit? Our stratigraphy doesn't confirm this assumption. This is a question that I hope to answer next year.

Above and below: Katy Blanchard shows a vessel profile from Feature 2 of PF 15.


Katy Blanchard and the "birdbath" vessel from PF 15.

I look forward to the answers that next season can bring to this season's questions: What is the relationship of the circular carbon features to the cosidetto floor level and the structure? What is the relationship of the newly exposed wall to the structure? What is the heat related anomaly? Is Feature 2 a pit? And if so, why were these things thrown into a pit, since only some vessels were broken beforehand but the "birdbath" was broken only in situ? I would like to take this chance to give one last BIG thank you to my trench team this season: Abby, Sanda, Andrew, Lynn and my assistant Laura.

Sanda Heinz, Lynn Makowsky, and Andrew McClellan await
completion of Feature 2 photography before their final day of excavation.


Assistant Field Supervisor Laura Crowley (left) and Lynn Makowsky.


View from the east of Trenches PF 5E and 15.

Final photo of Trenches PF 5E and 15 as seen from the northeast.


Left: Sanda Heinz with the rim sherd she excavated in PF 15.
Right: Andrew McClellan demonstrates the correct use of a cover tile.


Above and below: nearly intact vessel from Feature 2 of PF 15.


Backfilling Trenches PF 5E, 10, and 15.


Survey plan of all Podere Funghi trenches
(prior to addition of hand drawn details)
showing building, kilns, and hearth.


For photographs of key finds from trenches in the recent season, see Finds.