Well it is hard to believe but I have just finished packing my bags to head up to Murlo tomorrow (although this post may not get up before I reach Murlo). The month of June has flown by. Last week during the excavation we did not move as much dirt as the first week but we found some interesting cuttings that we needed to trace. So we found no column but there are a set of tufa blocks that were part of the water drainage system of the 2nd century villa (Herodes Atticus’). We also found some of the 2nd century wall that had been cut open and then later (maybe Maxentian period) was filled it. And on the other side of this wall we found some of the marble floor still in place and it seems to run underneath the wall, so next season Giani Ponti (the Italian Director) wants to dig in that area (of course only time will tell where we dig). We also found several weird cuttings into the floor which no one is sure of what they are for. Today we just tidied up the trench and removed the last bits of dirt from the different cuts. So the season ends on a good note, a better understanding of how the 2nd century and early 4th century structures relate to one another. Nothing fancy or amazing in terms of artifacts but instead some helpful features in the trench to help with the narrative of the site.
This last weekend was spent in Rome. I visited Porta Maggiore and the Tomb of Eurysaces which finishes my list of sites of the Esquiline to see (I guess next year I will start on the Aventine list). I then had a lovely lunch with the other grad students, Diane and Jack where Jack talked to us about the 2nd sophistic movement before we saw the art work in the Palazzo Massimo (which has a lot of art from the 2nd sophistic period). The Palazzo was amazing, it had a lot of pieces that you see in introductory text books like the boxer and the discus thrower. After that I headed over to the Baths of Diocletian and the museum there (which has the tomb of the warrior, a elaborate Etruscan tomb, also a big name item in text books). I then walked around the Campus Martius looking for the rest of the people who were resting at a cafe but to no avail. So I headed home instead.
The next day I went to mass at the Pantheon. This was an amazing experience because the Italian church does a lot more singing and rituals that churches in America do not and also because I am pretty sure (with my little Italian that I know) that we were apart of a ceremony for a relic of Pope John Paul II which was different. We walked around the Pantheon in a procession behind the priest. Also it was great to be in the Pantheon with everything lit up and only about 75 other people, normally it is crowed with tons of tourist so this was a very peaceful and enjoyable. After that I visited the Ara Pacis of Augustus, the Palazzo Altemps (which houses the Dying Gaul and wife) and then the Crypta Balbi. It was a pretty museum packed weekend for me, but I expect to be too busy to travel once I get to Murlo so it was good to get as much traveling in as I did.
Now my laundry should be done, but you never know with these Italian machines. So I am going to leave you off here and check, but look for my next post about Poggio Civitate’s 2011 season.