Poggio Civitate Week 3

Well week 3 has come and gone in the typical slow yet hurried fashion.  This week was the first one of excavation for Poggio Civitate.  We are all digging in the area called Civitate B (CB) as I might have mentioned earlier.  Last year we found two strange deposits out here and are hoping to better understand them this year.  I am digging an exploratory trench to the northeast of all the other trenches.  It is designated CB-44, it is a 5m x 5m trench, so there is a lot of surface area for us to cover.

This week we excavated about 40 cm of soil from the trench, but didn’t find much but worn terracotta and pottery.  There was a cool piece of frieze plaque found, although it too was pretty worn.  The weird part is that two trenches south of me (one from last year and one from this) both hit sterile (i.e. unoccupied and therefore no artifacts) soil within 30 cm of the surface and I am still in an artifact producing soil.  In the end it just means we will have to dig more to find out.

Although it looks like last years 2 deposits might be part of one large ditch (fossa) but this only based on a week of digging, so that can and most likely will change.

For the most part the students in my trench were good workers.  As with any start of actual excavating some people are a little surprised at how hot it is in Italy in July and how much manual labor is involved with working.  But by the end of the week most of them were doing pretty well.  Hopefully they will make it back from 3 day weekend ready to go and didn’t forget everything we just taught them.

For my three day weekend I am keeping it low key.  Today I went out to Colle di Val d’Elsa.  It is a small Tuscan town north of Siena with the Bianchi Bandinelli Archeology Museum.  Bandinelli was a huge name in Italian excavation during the 20th century, he is the reason Kyle Philips started digging at Poggio Civitate in 1966.  The museum was a nice small museum.  It only took me 1 ½ hours to go through the whole thing, and I am a notoriously slow museum goer.  But it has the collection of Etruscan artifacts from the area housed in a restored Palazzo (Palace).  There was some nice reconstructions and most of the information panels (which I am sure have a technical name in the museum field but I don’t know it, but I am sure one of my museum studies friends will correct me on) but as I was saying before my digression, most of the information panels have both Italian and English.

After walking around town and then seeing the museum, I went to lunch at a place Tony recommended, L’Antica Trattoria.  I had a wonderful glass of Chianti and a delicious plate of pici in a venison ragu sauce.  After lunch I jumped on the bus, made it back in time to catch the 2:10 to Vescovado.  Tonight I will just hang around in town and enjoy the quiet.  Tomorrow I am planning on going up to the maggazino to get some work done so that I can keep working on the hill all week and finish my trench this season.

Well that is all for now.  I hope everyones summer is going well and will see you all soon.  Ciao.


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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