Field Reports from the end of the 1999 Field Season
Field Supervisor Richard R. Marius

Report 4: July 23

Richard Marius contemplates walls revealed in Trench PC 17.

Well, with our last week of excavation underway, it is amazing to realize just how fast six weeks can go. This Friday marks the end of our 1999 field season. Next week is reserved for final drawings and backfill, so it is official crunch time at Poggio Colla. Since last week, some very interesting things have occurred.

Now that Loci 1 and 2 are being excavated as one locus, it is much easier to view both loci as one entire locus. Since the trench was twice as large, it took us twice as long to make one pass. For a few days we excavated the last pass of Stratum 2. Before we could excavate the pass of 17-1-2-4, all at once, we had to remove our first feature of our trench, which was a circular packing of pithoi, tile, stone and ceramic. This feature was used during the third building phase as a sort of floor rubble packing. It actually rested on top of our second phase foundation wall blocks, only 20 centimeters away from the third phase foundation walls. After excavating the feature, we realized that not all of the pieces of pithoi belong to the same pithos. Since there was tile, ceramic and stone mixed in with the pithoi sherds, we believed that we were not looking at a collapsed pithoi. Since we also did not find any seeds or carbon pockets imbedded within the feature, we came to the conclusion that the pithoi sherds were used as a sort of rubble packing as well as other ceramic sherds, tile and stone.

View of PC 17 from the east early in the fourth week.

Excavating 17-1-2-4, we did not find that much ceramic and the ceramic that we did find tended to be of coarseware origin. We continued to find large amounts of tile, which makes sense since we are dealing with a rubble floor packing. Within this pass, three more larger, well cut blocks associated with the second phase foundation wall were found in what was originally called Locus 2. One interesting block, measuring nearly one meter in length, seems to have been reused from the first phase foundation. Due to its large size and well executed craftsmanship, we think it dates to the first phase here at Poggio Colla.

Finishing the pass of 17-1-2-4 and starting the pass of 17-1-3-1, it looks as though the third phase foundation wall does continue onward, without a corner in sight. Oddly, the second phase foundation blocks stop suddenly, also without any sign of a corner. Perhaps, the corner was moved at one time and reused during the third phase, we just don’t know.

Now that we are in the pass of 17-1-3-2, we know now that the third phase foundation wall continues along the southern side of the trench and there is a lot of packing jammed between the two foundation walls. Along with this packing we have found 16 loom weights and 3 rocchette, which were used for weaving. It is interesting to find so many loom weights used as a rubble packing. Were these loom weights rejects, or did they function as something other than just loom weights? There is always the possibility that these may not be loom weights at all. With a few days left, we hope to answer some of our questions, but in the process, others shall surface.
Stay tuned for further reports.

Chip Ransler and Marjon Nijenhuis in the west end of Trench PC 17.

Report 5: July 30

Well, the last week is upon us here at Poggio Colla. It has been a great year for myself and all of the students. Marjon, Laura and Chip have been excellent excavators this year for Trenches 16 and 17. Even Marjon, after having cut her finger preparing the lunch, came back the next day and three stitches later with digging enthusiasm. Since only two days were reserved for excavation last week there have not been any major discoveries since last week’s report. For the remainder of this week, the days are filled with drawing the scarps and backfilling the trenches.

Since last week’s report, we finished our entire pass of 17-1-3-2. Tile and coarseware ceramic continued to surface and even a few more loom weights were discovered. At the end of our last pass of Stratum 3, we came to the darker greyish stratum we call Stratum 4. Since time was against us, we decided to focus our attention on the interior of the second phase foundation blocks. In doing so, we called the area north of the second phase foundation blocks Locus 3.

Now that we were upon Stratum 4, we decided to make a five centimeter pass of this stratum associated with the earlier phase of Poggio Colla. After a few trowel turns within this pass, pieces of bronze slag were found thoughout this darker grayish soil layer. Few ceramic pieces were found and those that were unearthed were mostly of fineware origin. Also within this stratum, far fewer pieces of tile were discovered.

View of Trench PC 17 from the east during week five.
Richard Marius, Marjon Nijenhuis, Christiane Thompson,
and Chip Ransler clean exposed walls for photography of this level.

Considering the wall foundations, we now know that the second phase blocks seem to stop their eastward direction. One interesting thing found was a large mudbrick that continues into the eastern scarp. Perhaps we are dealing with the same situation that occurred on the western side of the trench. Maybe one of these larger second phase blocks were removed, but then a sort of rubble packing along with mudbrick was used to fill the void.

Two pieces of the bronze that were unearthed are very interesting. One seems to be an early Archaic fibula used for clothing, very similar to a modern day broach. The other was determined to be a nail head. Both of the pieces are in fairly good shape, which is nice considering how hard our soil is on our artifacts.

Unfortunately, we were unable to make it to bedrock this year in Trench 17, but the fact that we now know that the third phase and second phase wall foundations continue, without a corner, answers many questions as well as suggests many more.

Overall, I am very happy with this field season. Knowing that the dimensions for our third phase building are larger than once anticipated makes us very excited because we are now dealing with an immense building up on the hilltop. Hopefully next year we will continue westward and perhaps find a third corner to our structure. Once again, I thank all the students who helped out this field season. Marjon, Laura and Chip definitely deserve high-fives. Thank you and see you next year.

Final view of Trench PC 17 from the east.


Final view of Trench PC 17 from the north.


Final view of Trench PC 17 from the west.

Field Reports from the end of the 1999 Field Season

Director's Diary

Field Director's Diary

Trench PC 13

Trench PC 14

Trench PC 15

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.