2002 DIRECTORS' DIARIES
P. Gregory Warden
Reports from the end of the field season
in his executive suite in the restauro. Michael Thomas in the
Greg Warden and Michael
Thomas shared the responsibility of writing the Directors' Diaries,
one of them writing each week. Greg Warden wrote entries for
the password protected page.
Week 5 - A Week Shortened
by Rain - Michael Thomas:
over the Podere Funghi during the rains of Week 5.
This week little was
done at Poggio Colla because of heavy rain on Monday and Tuesday.
Although we got in a couple of hours each day, both days were
pretty much wasted. To make things worse, the trenches had standing
water (in parts of PC 22, knee high!) and these conditions slowed
excavation for the following two days. The students seemed a
bit irritated with me because we tried to excavate through the
rainstorms. However, I really had no choice. We lost precious
time during this week, so much so that two trenches--PC 22 and
23--that I had planned to finish, will now have to be reopened
Large blocks resting on
bedrock in Trench PC 23.
I have been paying a
lot of attention to the excavation of the interior of our monumental
building this summer. Justin Winkler, Robert Vander Poppen, and
our architect Jess Galloway have frequent discussions on the
top of the hill as we stand overlooking the trenches. I am not
sure that we have solved any of the problems associated with
this building although we have come up with some interesting
scenarios. Our primary problem is that we do not have any interior
support for the building we assume stood on top of our foundations.
I feel at this point we can explain this problem in one of three
ways: 1) The crossing walls are within the still unexcavated
2.5 meter wide strip that runs across the foundations to the
east of PC 23; 2) Our building is not a building, but instead
a courtyard surrounded by rooms on at least two sides; or 3)
that the large blocks in PC 23 are part of interior foundations,
or as Jess and I recently discussed the corner of a smaller building
that used our larger foundations as a podium platform.
Jess Galloway, Project Architect, returns to the site.
View showing kilns, foundations, and tile fall inTrenches PF
6, 9, and 10 during Week 5.
One of our Research Associates, Prof. Patricia Lulof and Director
discussing the building structures and roof tiles of Poggio Colla.
Giuseppe Ancarani (Bepe),
Michael Thomas, and Estelle Reddeck.
Week 6 - Greg Warden:
It has been an odd summer
for me, for I have had to deal with responsibilities of non-archaeological
nature, part of my work as interim Director of the Meadows Museum,
that have necessitated returning to the United States for a few
days and spending some time in Madrid working on future exhibits
for the museum. Fortunately the excavation has been in the capable
hands of my co-director, Michael Thomas, whose reports you have
been reading. I have now been back at Poggio Colla for over a
week, and have had time to catch up on work in the field and
the excavation labs, and I am enormously pleased with the progress
that has been made.
Karen Stamm (left) conserves finds while Bridget Marx maintains
The laboratory, which
is my responsibility, has a talented conservation staff, led
by Karen Stamm, and a superb cataloguer, Bridget Marx, who has
been assisted recently by Susan McIntyre. They have been catching
up on digital photography and on the catalogue/data base, which
is now in exemplary order. These are the small, unseen details
of excavation life that are essential to proper understanding
and explication of the site. Our major priority this summer was
to work on material from the Podere Funghi, an area that we hope
to complete next summer and prepare for publication in the next
few years. This will be the first step of our publication program,
a monograph on the artisan quarters, building and midden, in
the Podere Funghi. In this regard, publication, Michael Thomas
and I are hard at work on a submission to the Etruscans Now conference
at the British Museum, and this fall we hope to submit an updated
report on the last few years' work to the Journal of Roman Archaeology.
See Publications for a list of articles published
by Poggio Colla staff.
View of Trenches 6 and 9 in the Podere Funghi during Week 6 of
The excavation proper
is the bailiwick of Michael Thomas, but I can't help commenting
on our progress and on the bigger picture. The Podere Funghi
is moving along well as we continue to define the extent of the
structure, uncover new kilns, and deal with impressive floor
packing that is chock-full of pan tiles. As you will see in the
specialized reports, we can now document at least two phases
of occupation, and from the work here we should be able to document
artisanal production of the Hellenistic period.
View of Trenches 19, 22, 23, and 24 on Poggio Colla during Week
6 of 2002.
On the acropolis, it
gets more and more interesting. The general rectangular layout
of the phase 2 and phase 3 buildings is clear, but the details
are still in question. That we have a sanctuary is by now very
clear to me, because of the layout of the structure and surrounding
areas, and because the extensive range of finds is now consistent
with those of a sanctuary/temple. Particularly interesting are
the stone base and circular feature in Robert Vander Poppen's
trench, which promise to elucidate details of the layout of the
phase 2 sanctuary.
Greg Warden with Professesors Luigi Donati and Giovannangelo
Right: Director Michael Thomas.
We were fortunate in
the past two weeks to have visits from some distinguished colleagues,
Profs. Giovannangelo Camporeale and Luigi Donati of the University
of Florence, and Prof. Daniele Vitali, who has been excavating
for many years at Monte Bibele and Monterenzio, sites on the
other side of the Apennine (north) of the Mugello. We also had
a visit this week from Dr. Luca Fedeli, Archaeological Inspector
for the Mugello. Their opinions and the lively discussion that
ensued during the site tours have been very helpful to us in
trying to put together the pieces of evidence unearthed in the
last few years. All four of these archaeologists have had extensive
experience excavating sites in northern Etruria; they have dealt
with exactly the same issues that we face at Poggio Colla. Particularly
interesting was the discussion with Daniele Vitali about the
great similarity of material culture at Monte Bibele and Poggio
Colla in the Hellenistic period. Also fascinating is the fact
that the sites to the north of us, on the other side of the mountain,
and our site were destroyed at about the same time in the 2nd
century BC. Michael Thomas had already suggested, in his article
on our bronze coin excavated in 1999, that the destruction of
our site results from Roman pacification and road building in
this area in the first half of the 2nd century, a conclusion
that seems to be supported by evidence at Monte Bibele.
Warden (center) with Dr. Luca Fedeli (right) and friend.
Right: Prof. Daniele Vitali.
This then is the broader
picture. As I write this report, rain threatens to halt excavation,
but the trench crews are energetically persisting. Only a few
days of excavation, but surely a surprise or two as well, remain.
Justin Winkler excavating two large pithoi in Trench PC 22.
Justin Gosses removing
mud brick samples from Trench PF 10 for testing.
Suzanne Georges video taping for her documentary on clandestini.
Week 7 - Final Report
- Michael Thomas:
Once again the end of
the season has come, the trenches are backfilled, the pottery
shed has been broken down, and the finds moved back to the museum
in Vicchio. Despite the occasional snag, overall students and
staff performed well and the season was a success. We did not
have the season of sexy finds, but I believe we had a season
of information gathering unparalleled at this excavation; I also
believe that we are much closer to understanding the important
issues on both the top of Poggio Colla (the acropolis) and in
the Podere Funghi. These discoveries invite speculation. Such
speculation is inevitably part of the scientific process that
involves the gathering of evidence, the theoretical assessment
of this evidence, and the testing of these theories in subsequent
seasons of excavation. So lets take a look at what we have.
Plan of Poggio Colla.
Below in the Podere Funghi,
we seem to have a good sense of the building. Clearly now we
have at least a two-roomed house/workshop with kilns. The room
with the hearth seems to be a habitation and at this time we
can speculate that the north room was perhaps a work area. There
now seem to be two levels of habitation with first phase tiles
used as floor packing. The actual level of the floor was plowed
out in PF 6, but we know we have a floor level in PF 5 at the
level of the hearth. I am considering leaving that section un-excavated
as a documentation of the floor level.
Trenches PF 6, 9 and 10 from the south at the end of the 2002
The importance of this
area was actually well illustrated by PF 12, a trench that turned
up little other than large deposits of fine clay. Although this
clay, not a wall, seems to be the anomaly found in the resistivity
survey of Dario Monna and Ivo Brunner, we are happy with this
discovery. The presence of clay here and in the fields nearby
(we saw a huge profile of clay in a trench dug by a backhoe in
the field next to the Podere Funghi) confirms our suspicion that
there was plenty of natural clay available for pottery production.
As evidenced by kilns and kiln wasters found in other parts of
the hill, Poggio Colla and the surrounding hillsides may have
been an area of significant pottery production. The Podere Funghi
gives us a glimpse into one of these small production centers.
View of Trench PF 12 from the west at the end of the 2002 season.
Results of resistivity
prospection in an area of the Podere Funghi.
The top of the hill is
equally interesting. At this time we can only speculate as to
the function and appearance of this building, but as I said above,
informed speculation based on available evidence is part of the
archaeological process. I am starting to have my doubts that
the large rectangle that we have posited was a temple may, in
fact, be something else. Several clues have suggested to me that
we may have, at least during Phase III, a courtyard building.
We have found little evidence of roof falls in the center of
our monumental rectangle. Instead we have evidence of large amounts
of tile (some used as packing) in rooms on the exterior (for
example in PC 9, 22, and 24). Moreover, it seems that there were
structures or rooms on at least three sides of the rectangular
foundations (PC 1,8,9,22, and 24). This then invited the possibility
that the rectangle is instead an exterior space. Within this
space, whether interior or exterior, we were able to identify
at least one, and perhaps two floor levels this summer. PC 22
and 23 showed evidence of a burned floor level, with mud brick
on top as if a wall collapsed onto a floor. In PC 23 there were
some smashed vessels underneath the wall. The large pithos in
PC 22 clearly seems to sit on a floor level with wall collapse
on top of it.
View from the west of the east-west axis of the 2002 trenches
on the arx of Poggio Colla.
Candace Grove, Aaron
Bartels, and Russell Moore excavate pithoi with seeds from PC
The presence of seeds
in these pithoi again forces us to ask about the nature of the
building. We cannot ignore the evidence that the acropolis functioned,
at least in part, as a sanctuary. The combination of the hilltop
location, votive items, and dressed architectural blocks certainly
seem to point to some kind of sanctuary with monumental architecture.
The blocks in PC 23 may have belonged to an altar or perhaps
the foundations of a smaller structure. But all of this evidence
seems to point to Phase II; the votive-like finds associated
with this complex seem to predate stratigraphically and stylistically
the Phase III building. The same can be said for the blocks in
PC 23. We also have to recognize that, as of now, there is no
conclusive evidence of Phase II construction in the exterior
rooms mentioned above. So what does this all mean? At this point
it is tough to say, but we may have to consider that the appearance
and function of the building changed between Phase II and III.
It may be that there were no "exterior" structures
during Phase II, and that only during Phase III were they added.
View of Trench PC 23 from the east at the end of the 2002 field
I am already looking
forward to next year and addressing the issues discussed above.
We shall finish excavation in the Podere Funghi and begin the
process of studying and publishing that area. Once it is done,
then we can concentrate on the top of the hill and finish the
majority of excavation there, I hope, in another five years.
In the meantime, we have an entire off-season to digest this
year's information. Greg and I shall present material at both
the Etruscans Now conference at the British Museum in December
and at the AIA meetings in New Orleans in early January.
Lynn Makowsky, Susan McIntyre, and Rebecca Lanthorne
pass buckets of dirt to backfill Trench PC 23 at the end of the
I have to thank all of
the students and staff for a very productive season. Despite
car breakdowns, heat waves, torrential rain, and a cold that
went around, everyone was in good spirits (well most everyone
and most of the time) and everyone, both students and staff,
should be commended.
Trenches PF 11, 6, and 9 from the south at the end of the 2002
Architect Jess Galloway making final drawings in the Podere Funghi
Robert Vander Poppen holds the ladder while Greg Warden shoots
final photos of trenches on the arx.
Kirk Nickel assists Michael Thomas in shooting final photos at
At season's end, architect Jess Galloway draws every trench by
to complement the AutoCad map generated from the Total Station
Final view of 2002 trenches on the arx of Poggio Colla. Left:
PC 24. Back: PC 19 and 22. Foreground: PC 23.
Ashley Bennett, Robert Vander Poppen, and Sarah Titus backfilling
Trenches PC 22 and 23.