V.Max Day 1

Today was the first day of digging so now these entries will become more weekly however I figured I would start off the dig week with one.  The vegetation clearers came and took out all the weeds with their giant weedwackers (I wish we had one for our other site) and so we were able to lay out a trench clear the top layer and begin.  It is so much easier to start a trench here since A) all the trenches are set up based on the existing walls and B) the top layer is just fill from when the site was a farm so there is no need to clip.  At Poggio Civitate we would have need the transit and a set of tape measures to put up the trench lines (these show us where to dig) and then since the site was abandon the top layer is really close to the Archaic occupation layer so we start finding stuff even before we sink a pick in.  Besides that most everything else is the same.  The tools are poorly made, it is hot, you have to push wheelbarrows to the dirt dump, you drink a lot of water so just like Poggio Civitate.

Although at the Villa Maxentius I get to work with Italians.  With the help of Matt (a masters student who has been at this site for 5 seasons) I was able to talk with Ale (short for Alessandro) about rock climbing.

Immersion is the best way to learn a language.  Like tonight I learned that pollo a pezzi does not mean chicken thighs but in fact parts of a chicken.  I mean it did look like thighs, but the butcher just cut up a chicken into a bunch of parts.  It was fine to cook for dinner but I was expecting something senza bone Senza is without another word I knew but didn’t use a lot till today, we had a conversation in the trench about how archeology is a life philosophy.  Somehow is came to that my life would be senza prociutto (I think I spelled it write) and who could live their life without pork.  So that is a great part of this dig that I miss working with only Americans.  The one down fall to working with Italians is I am not always sure what they want me to do there is a lot of pointing and miming.

I also thought that being in Rome I wouldn’t see any sheep until I got to Murlo.  Oh how wrong I was.  Today I decided to walk home, I wanted to see how close the Via Appia was to our apartments in Quartro Mighilo (the 4th mile neighborhood) and it is really close.  But at the start of the park beyond our dig site a shepard was grazing his sheep there, just on the side of the road hanging out.  Needless to say it was a little unexpected.  I also had a conversation with some of the locals in the supermarket, I am not sure of everything that they said but they asked where I was from and praised my attempted use of Italian.

So that is all for today.  The goal of tomorrow is to drop the tench to the ancient surface layer as fast a possible. And then dig quickly to find a column.  If anything exciting happens before then I will be sure to post but if not I will talk to you all over the weekend.  Ciao Ciao.


And there are some more pictures up.  Enjoy


About handyatmurlo

I am a Latin teacher at Regis Jesuit High School. I earned my MA at CU Boulder and my BA at UMass Amherst. I have spent my summers working in Italy as an archaeologist at three different sites. One I have worked at for 10 years at Poggio Civitate at Vescovado di Murlo. I have worked at the Villa of Maxentius in Rome for 2 years, before the project ended. I also spent 2 summers at the FSU excavations in Cosa.
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