2004 STUDENT DIARIES
(A SELECTION OF ENTRIES)
Elizabeth Bair, University of Michigan
Krishawna Brown, Southern Methodist University
Jeff Edwards, Portland State University
Rachael Henry, Franklin and Marshall College
Andrew McClellan, Muhlenberg College
Victoria Mead, Franklin and Marshall College
Kamissa Mort, Franklin and Marshall College
Jonathan Mort, Franklin and Marshall College
Sarah McCrory, Franklin and Marshall College
Week 2 - Franklin and
Marshall Students: Rachael Henry, Victoria Mead, Kamissa Mort,
Jonathan Mort, and Sarah McCrory
Rachael Henry excavating
between stumps in the north locus of PC 27.
For the first week we rotated through
all of the trenches on both Poggio Colla and Podere Funghi. At
the beginning of this week each person was assigned to a trench.
All of the F&M students were placed on the summit of the
site, Poggio Colla. Rachel was assigned to the "monkey wall"
trench where the goal is to identify where the ancient walls
were located. In the past her trench has found an amazing array
of finds, including several bone fragments. To date Rachel has
found several black glaze pottery handles and bases.
Victoria Mead taking a
pass in Trench PC 23.
Torrie, Sarah, and Jon were all assigned
to a larger trench in the interior of the ancient building. So
far there have been few finds this season but the trench has
previously produced a fire pit, an "altar"," an
obscene number of finds, and characteristic pottery sherds. Thus
far we have all found fineware, courseware, and slag in small
Jonathan Mort excavating in Trench PC 23.
Kamissa has been placed in a more recently
opened trench on the southwest end of the site. Much is still
unknown about Trench 26 but some theorize it may have been an
outdoor cooking area. As the trench is still shallow there is
great hope that it will yield important information about the
Kamissa Mort excavating in Josh Moran's trench.
Week 4 - Jeff Edwards:
Hello everyone. We are now beginning
our fourth week of excavation here at Poggio Colla. Tomorrow
will be July 13th, and everyone has returned from our long four
day weekend. A group of seven of us went to visit Pompeii and
Herculaneum. We stayed in the seaside town of Sorrento, just
south of Naples. It was a picturesque location. Also, we visited
the island of Capri where the emperor Tiberius had his villa,
and the Museo Archaeologico in Naples which houses a large collection
of artifacts from Pompeii.
View of Trench PC 20. Jeff Edwards is excavating in the locus
in the foreground.
I will be continuing my work in Trench
PC 20, which is located in the northeast corner of our site plan.
It is a very rich area for artifacts, yielding approximately
twenty finds each day: mostly bucchero and fineware vessels.
Today we continued working in PC 20 by
removing a line of baked mud brick that was first thought to
be part of the Phase I building (the earliest construction on
top of the hill), It is now considered to be debris deposited
after the destruction of the building. Like much of the work
that goes on here, plausible hypotheses are formulated then tested
by the data we recover. This is one aspect of archaeology that
is both challenging and exciting. It is always interesting for
me to observe the evolution of thought during the process of
our work. One day last week I was excavating and encountered
a very strange shape of terra cotta and I could not picture what
it might be. When Dr. Thomas looked into our trench, he said
that we might have an antefix (a terra cotta sculpture used in
Etruscan architecture.). This was a very exciting prospect and
it would be truly remarkable to find one, however the object
turned out to be part of a coarseware vessel. This example speaks
to the nature of excavation. Often you don't know what you may
have until it is lifted.
Jeff Edwards and Sarah Titus in the southern end of PC 20.
Throughout the last few weeks I have
become quite adept at using dental instruments to define artifacts
before they are removed. For instance, I spent approximately
three hours defining and block lifting a large bone fragment.
Artifacts like bone are by far the most difficult to work with
because they cannot be touched. One must leave a thin layer of
soil attached so the fragment will not disintegrate. The slightest
touch will cause the bone to crumble into dust.
I consider myself very lucky to be working
in our trench because the amount of artifacts we encounter each
day is astounding. Etruscans were fine craftsmen who were influenced
by the Greeks and Phoenicians. The Orientalizing phase of their
culture is remarkable and one can see the Near Eastern influence
in their works of art. Today I found a fragment of bucchero which
had a design that may be a griffin, and drew this artifact in
my trench notebook. These notebooks are modeled after our field
supervisors' although not nearly as detailed. Publication is
a very important part of archaeology that many people do not
recognize. We are learning the rudiments of how it is done and
are encouraged to write everyday.
Jeff Edwards completing
find tags for bucchero from his trench.
I now have the utmost for our supervisor
and the directors, Dr. Warden and Dr. Thomas; their dedication
to their project and our education is evident every day. Theirs
is a multifaceted job that is both challenging and exciting.
I am lucky to be part of the Poggio Colla teams and am grateful
for their unique experience.
Things have been quite interesting the
past two weeks working in PC 20. The many artifacts that were
made finds have been sent down to our laboratory so conservation
can look at them. These finds are cleaned up and some are catalogued.
For an object to go into our catalogue it must be "diagnostic."
By this I mean it must tell us something about our site, such
as how the object's context can tell us something about how Poggio
Colla related to other sites in the region, or perhaps the object
could tell us something about trade relationships.
After excavation and pottery washing
we went to the lab for a lecture on the material culture of Poggio
Colla. It was very interesting to see the bucchero (a fine black
pottery produced by the Etruscans) after the conservators had
finished their work. Some of the pieces that I had found the
day before had been cleaned. One in particular was a winged cup
handle of a skyphos that had an incised design on it. We also
so the famous objects that were found last year. But of course,
"it's not what you find, it's what you find out," that
really matters. The real importance is what we learn from all
these wonderful objects, however, excavation is exciting and
Week 5 - Andrew McClellan:
Andrew McClellan working
in Katy Blanchard's trench in the Podere Funghi.
Ah yes, another week on the FOD. Where
most archaeologists would wilt under the blazing heat of the
sun, with temperatures seemingly rising into the thousands, we
"fodders" thrive, much like plankton. In PF 5, and
PF 15, we have continued trench-long passes in the hope to uncover
a "ground level," or at least an area of high activity
around the walls of the Podere Funghi. The workday is long and
hard, but the information we gain with every trowel-full of dirt
and every shard of pottery provides endless amounts of information
essential to our study. The finds themselves are especially interesting
or, some may say, "suggestive," with the additions
of a number of "water pipes," the continuation of a
fragmentary "terracing wall," and various heat related
anomalies. Although we hope to understand the intricacies of
these individual finds, now is an exciting speculative time.
Week 6 - Krishawna Brown:
Brown (center) with Virginia Lewis and Robert Belanger.
Hey guys! Well, we finally
got some rain this past weekend which cooled down the days and
nights to almost bearable! Things have been sort of slow this
week in the FOD, we are almost done with our excavation as the
weeks wind down. This past Tuesday my trench team was sent to
the hill to lend a helping hand for a few days. Which means I
have had the best of both worlds. I was able to be a part of
both the Podere Funghi and the Poggio Colla excavations at the
end, where more questions and treasures are buried! I was also
given the opportunity to discover artifacts that I would not
have normally uncovered in the FOD. It was GREAT, not to mention
I was able to dig with different individuals and have a whole
new experience. Tomorrow we will be back in our trench in the
FOD for one more excavation day and to take our trench team picture,
so be sure to check it out!
Krishawna Brown (left) and Virginia Lewis excavating Kiln 2 in
the Podere Funghi.
Tonight is our lecture
given by Dr. Warden in Italian to the local community. I have
heard that it is a blast mingling with the Vicchio community.
I am really excited.
Krishawna Brown and Robert Belanger on the last day of Podere
Week 7 - Liz Bair:
Liz Bair inside the curved wall feature in Trench PC 19.
So here we are, at the end of another
fine season in the exciting world of archaeology. This season,
the weather has been glorious, the cookies delicious, the dinners
plentiful bounties, and the hypotheses, assumptions, and inferences
bouncing about the site. The trenches were filled with speed
and agility by the eager teams of bucketeers and mighty shovelers
with record speed, some might say. Now, our arms are noodles
and the stench of the trenches awaits to be soaked and scrubbed
out in these final weeks of summer.
Elizabeth Bair excavating in Trench PC 27.
With the commencement of week seven there
were hopes of that 'big find' that seems to happen the final
Friday of every season, however this year did not end with a
bang, but rather with frantic sweeping and final pass taking.
A rather large area full of carbon was found in my trench, PC
27, in the diminishing hours of Friday. Caitlee stressed a bit,
but I get the impression that she thrives under what might seem
to be impending doom. Dental tools in hand, she prepared the
area to be lifted and taken to the lab for analysis.
I will cherish my days here at Poggio
Colla and think back on them fondly. The surprise juice boxes
and popsicles from Larry the Legend, the Vicchio pool with the
Kids, the excitement of finding Volterran black glaze near the
north western scarp of PC 27, trivia from the 80's and early
90's, the bean salad a la Larry, the inferences, hypotheses,
and assumptions on the edges of the trenches
experiences will be looked back on fondly for all my days.