Last Cosa Update

This is a few days old but I’ve been busy with the high schoolers and bad internet.

So for the past few days at Cosa, I was moved around the site a bunch. I started helping Anna lay out her new trench north of the laconicum, then I helped shift buckets in the bucket room trench, finally I was sent to the cistern to begin excavations there looking for a possible reinforcing foundation, and finally I was sent to the bucket room to try and figure a way to control the water flow there. All in all a busy time, especially with the rain delays we had over the last two days. During the delays, as I mentioned before I helped measure, wash, and count pottery as well as scan old catalog cards in the digitization efforts of the dig.

But don’t worry, I’ve also had time to enjoy myself. Jay and I went and took pictures of the dynamite factory in Orbetello and yesterday we drove to Capalbio for apertivo before dinner.

Now I am on a train going south to Rome to pick up my students for the start of the second year of the high school archaeology program (I really need to come up with a snazzier name). I am glad to be taking the train south, there is just such amazing countryside here. For a person’s first time in Italy, taking the train while inconvenient in some scenarios is really the best way to do it. You don’t need to know how to get somewhere, just your final stop, you can either catch up on sleep, reading or people watching. And you get to enjoy the amazing farmland and country side of this country. (Not to mention the ability to get places and still enjoy all the local wine you want). Using a train is really a lost art in the United States, I understand some areas have good local systems but really I’m unimpressed with how the interregional trains work stateside (sorry Sean). It is very expensive to get any where. In the end, I also must remember that no place is perfect and Italy has as many faults as it does positive things, and really one must enjoy all aspects of a place they live in order not to go insane.
I am excited to be bringing students again to Italy. It really is just such a wonderful experience to share where I’ve been, things I’ve done and people I’ve meet with another group of people who I care about. While these next 2 weeks will be long and tiring they will be very fruitful in other ways. I am of the school that only by traveling and experiencing a place can anyone really start to grow in their understanding of themselves, others, and their place in the world. Don’t get me wrong, I’m not saying everyone needs to go to a 3rd world country or fly across the pond to have this type of experience, a person can grow visiting, living, and working with someone in the next town over. I’ve just happened upon Italy as my point of reference this time. What I am saying is that a person should leave the cruise ship for more than an hour and really get to know an area, either by traveling through it or living in one spot. But really learn the quirks of how stuff works, like that sometimes a shop opens at 10 and sometimes at 10:15 or that all the markets decide to close for the afternoon on the same day and if you want a snack you better be prepared. Or even how a SIM card can only have 12 gigs of data on it and that is it for the month. It is through puzzling through these different scenarios (all done by me) that a person learns to appreciate what one has and empathize better with those who don’t have. I am glad that not only do I get to share my love of archaeology with my students but also this opportunity to grow in their experience of the world.

Check out the student blog to see what I’m doing now:


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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