Field Reports from the end of the 1999 Field Season
Sarah Kupperberg, Field Supervisor

Report 4: July 23

Field Supervisor Sarah Kupperberg and
Assistant Field Supervisor Robert Vander Poppen.

As we near the end of the field season in Trench 15, we find ourselves much closer to being able to answer the questions with which we began excavation: what was the chronology of human activity on the site, and how do the architectural features we have discovered relate to that sequence of events?

In the past week, we have made our way through Stratum 3, the thick layer of earth which represents the collapse of the second phase of construction on Poggio Colla and the preparation for a subsequent rebuilding, and we have begun to excavate Stratum 4, a layer with which we associate the second phase of human occupation on the site. Stratum 3 lies just overtop of the Phase 2 wall foundations in Trench 15 and contains an abundance of architectural debris, such as roof tile, stone rubble, and mud brick. The foundations of the third phase of construction lie in Stratum 2, just above the layer of architectural debris. Stratum 3 also contains a lot of pottery, but no complete vessels. Even a smashed pithos we discovered in association with the seeds it once contained was not complete. All of this indicates that after some destructive event, and a partial collapse of the structure whose exterior we have been excavating, a movement of earth around the exterior occurred for the purpose of creating a level building surface.

Assistant Field Supervisor Robert Vander Poppen
triangulating a find in Trench PC 15.

The coin which we found last week in Trench 15 has been identified as belonging to the middle of the 3rd century BC. This evidence provides a Hellenistic date for our Phase 2, the second period of occupation and construction. Once we began excavating in Stratum 4, we found more evidence for this attributed date. We have found pottery which can be dated confidently to the Hellenistic period and is strikingly similar to fabrics and forms found in the Podere Funghi, the "Field of Dreams". We also found the top of a very large block which is out of alignment with our Phase 2 and 3 wall foundations but is almost in line with Phase 1 blocks found in Trench 8.

Sarah Kupperberg helps volunteer Jennifer Freidel excavate a small bronze object.


View of Trench PC 15 from the west showing Randi Graham and
Sarah Kupperberg removing an artifact next to the Phase II/III wall.

Report 5: July 30

We are closing excavations in Trench 15 for the 1999 field season with many questions answered, and with the expectation of learning much more from this trench in the future.

In the past week, we have taken the whole trench down to the bottom of Stratum 4, the very dark layer of earth which we believe represents the period of occupation associated with the second phase of architecture on the site. In the eastern portion of the trench, Stratum 4 lies just overtop of a very large worked stone. This stone appears to be cut into bedrock and is approximately in line with large worked stones from Trench 8 and Trench 3 which have both been identified with the first architectural period on Poggio Colla. We also found two fragments of beautiful stamped bucchero lying in the top of Stratum 4, and in close association with our supposed Phase 1 block. In the western portion of the trench, Stratum 4 dives down to a depth of almost 1.50 meters. In this pit, which follows the natural undulations of bedrock and may be a convenient trash deposit, we found an abundance of very fine, and often incised, bucchero.

The exceptional pottery which has emerged both from this deep pit and from the top of our Phase 1 block seems to be Late Archaic in date. It does not appear to be in situ, but has perhaps been shifted and moved around in an attempt to create a level surface for building on the hilltop. Our recent finds contribute to our understanding of the sequence of events at Poggio Colla in the following way: the evidence from Trench 15 suggests that, following the initial phase of Archaic occupation on the site, a destructive event took place. The debris from this destruction was smoothed out, over the top of the Phase 1 wall foundations, to create a surface for rebuilding. Another period of occupation and construction ensued, probably early Hellenistic in date, and was destroyed in a catastrophic burning event. The debris from this event, and from the resulting architectural collapse, was again leveled off for yet another period of activity.

This is my version of the basic outline of events as I see it, after another season of excavation. I’m sure my ideas will change and progress with further evaluation, and hopefully our work this summer will contribute to the overall picture. Thanks for reading about our adventures, and we’ll see you next year!

Final view of Trench PC 15 from the east.


Final view of Trench PC 15 from the north.


Final view of Trench PC 15 from the west.
Exhausted Sunday worker Hallie Falquet sleeps to the right.

Field Reports from the end of the 1999 Field Season

Director's Diary

Field Director's Diary

Trench PC 13

Trench PC 14

Trenches PC 16 & 17

Trench PC 18

Trenches PF 2 & PF 3

Conservator's Report

Student Diary

After December 2000, see the 1999 Annual Report for the season summary by Professor Gregory Warden.