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 amounts.

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 settlement.

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 fun.

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:

Krishawna 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 Funghi excavation.

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… All these experiences will be looked back on fondly for all my days.