2003 DIRECTORS' DIARIES
P. Gregory Warden
Michael Thomas - Week
Liz Wolfram, Kathy Windrow,
and Estelle Reddeck.
This week was a crazy
one. Half way through our long weekend, we were informed that
one of our students had fallen ill while touring Pompeii and
ended up in a Naples hospital. I owe a great debt to Kathy Windrow
and Estelle Reddeck, who ended up staying in Naples for four
days to take care of the student until the mother arrived. The
prognosis is good and we are all hopeful that the student will
make it out of the hospital soon.
Pan tiles under the hearth
in Trench PF 5.
On the hill, we have
made good progress. Although we have not had a spectacular year
in terms of finds, we have had a spectacular year in terms of
information. We have found some important clues about the chronology
and construction method of the buildings in both the Podere Funghi
and on Poggio Colla. We have discovered a layer of pan tiles
underneath the floor of the building in the Podere Funghi that
seems to be packing for the floor; packing likely made from the
remnants of an earlier building. Although we had evidence of
that from last year, we had no idea that we would find so many
tiles underneath the hearth area in PF 5. On the top of the hill
we may have discovered a post hole that dates to a very early
phase of the site, perhaps a phase that predated our Phase I.
Tile under foundation in Trench PF 6.
We are going to start
a test trench on the other side of the valley from where we are
excavating now on the property of the Bartolini-Salembene villa.
Here walking surveys discovered materials including some Roman
period pottery. We followed these surveys with a resistivity
survey by our colleagues from the CNR, Dario Monna and Ivo Brunner.
They found a significant anomaly, and we are going to put a small
trench there, to be run by Katy Blanchard. The hope is that we
will find the location of the structure so that someone else
can excavate this area in the future.
survey of the Bartolini-Salembene field by Dario Monna and Ivo
Michael Thomas and Katy Blanchard locating the site of Trench
Finally, we had a bit
of a surprise this week as we stumbled upon some old Italian
plans from the Poggio Colla excavations of the late 60's and
early 70's. It seems that the Italians excavated in some areas
that we did not realize that they had. We may wish to revisit
these trenches in the future.
Megan Emory, Jess Galloway, and Michael Thomas review
plans of the site drawn during previous years of excavation.
Michael Thomas - Week
We had a productive week.
Erik Nielsen, co-director of the
excavations at Poggio Civitate near Murlo visited our site and
gave a lecture for our field school students.
Erik Nielsen, co-director of the excavations at Poggio Civitate
with Greg Warden, co-director of Poggio Colla in the Podere Funghi.
We have opened the new
trench in the Bartolini-Salembene area. Considering the size
of the field that we are working and the difficult excavation
conditions, we may wait for a ploughed field to do a survey here
instead of carrying on with further excavation.
Benton Keith, Wes Court, and Katy Blanchard opening Trench BS
In the Podere Funghi
we made some interesting discoveries about our kilns. They definitely
pre-date our building and thus seem to establish at least two
phases in this area. We have what may be an early wall in the
northern part of PF 14.
Tile, pottery, and stones in the bottom of the kiln in Trench
On the top, we have the
exciting news of several important finds in the SW locus of PC
23. Here finds are coming out of a fissure in the bedrock; the
nature of some of these finds suggest that they were placed here
on purpose, thus this fissure was known to the earliest inhabitants
at Poggio Colla and perhaps was a place for votive offerings.
If this is the case, the sacred nature of this area may have
been established before any buildings were here.
students working in Poggio Colla trenches during Week 5.
Michael Thomas - Week
The last week is always the most exciting.
There is pressure to finish and, at the same time, there is the
anticipation of important finds. For me, it is bittersweet; I
feel as if we are just starting to gel as a team, but I know
that we only have a week left of excavation.
Greg Warden makes an appearance
as excavator on Poggio Colla.
The highlight of this week was the discovery
of a moulded block in a very deep deposit at the center of our
acropolis building. This block, located in the SW locus of PC
23, has been broken in half and deposited upside down. In my
mind this discovery goes a long way in helping us decipher our
chronology. The nature of the finds associated with the block
suggests that whatever building it belonged to was destroyed
in the late Archaic period. It seems to have been placed in the
preparation of an area for the Phase II building. This preparation
fills in the sections of bedrock and creates a flat preparation
for the Phase II foundations. This raises the possibility that
when the Phase I building was standing, the site preserved areas
of exposed bedrock. The deep fissures within our bedrock may
have been a part of the sacred nature of this area.
This week we were fortunate to have Professor
John Clarke of the University of Texas and photographer Michael
Larvey visit the site.
Michael Larvey, Estelle Reddeck, and John Clarke in July 2003.
Above and below: Trenches
on Poggio Colla as seen from the east during Week 6.
View across Poggio Colla trenches from the west.
View of Poggio Colla trenches from the northwest.
Above and below: Views
of Podere Funghi trenches from the south during Week 6.
Michael Thomas - Week
Left to right: Greg Warden,
Martha Reichert, Robert Belanger, Ivo van der Graaff,
and Alvaro Ibarra in the Podere Funghi for final drawings and
The season, from an excavation point
of view, is now over. We just finished backfill this morning
and we have begun the process of shutting down the site for another
year. It is hard to believe that we have flown through another
season. From my point of view it was a successful season. As
I mentioned last week, we now know much more about both of our
sites than we did before the season started.
Poggio Colla trenches as seen from the northeast at the end of
the 2003 season.
On the top of the hill we opened an immense
area with supervisors running up to three trenches apiece. Such
spaces would normally be too large for one crew, but our system
of supervisor and assistant supervisor allows us to effectively
manage larger areas. These large trenches permit us to see large
spaces and study the relationships of different areas of the
site to each other. What we found out this season told us a lot
about the nature of our building. It seems most likely that the
acropolis building, especially in the third phase, was some type
of courtyard complex, yet it is still too early to understand
the layout of the building. We have isolated a structure in the
west, the areas of PC 19, 22, and 27. Here, as we knew last year,
we seem to have storehouses for grain. I am curious if the structure
could have been two-story in this area, thus explaining the double
foundations. We have speculated that these foundations were for
two separate buildings, yet perhaps we should consider that these
belong to one two- story building that houses a granary on the
semi-subterranean ground floor. Could we then explain the odd
curved wall in PC 19 as foundations for an exterior stair? Perhaps.
View from the north of
Trenches PC 19 (foreground) and 22.
We also have better information about
the earlier phase. I mentioned last week the discovery of the
molded block deep in the southwest locus of PC 23. The position
of this block in our stratigraphy suggests that it belonged to
the Phase I building.
Molded block in Trench
A beautiful stratigraphic profile from
the northwest locus of PC 23 provides a clear detail the stratigraphy
at Poggio Colla. I believe that the building phases of the site
are preserved here. There seems to be a stratum that represents
the destruction of the Phase I building. The stratum above seems
to clearly illustrate an extensive terracing of the area for
the Phase II structure. Above that we have the floor level for
the Phase II building, with wall debris sitting directly on that
Stratigraphy of Trench
The Podere Funghi was the big surprise
this year. We discovered clear evidence of an earlier phase.
One of the kilns ran under a foundation wall.
Podere Funghi trenches
with kilns, from the northwest, at the end of the 2003 season.
We also found more tile used as floor
packing, tile that must have come from an earlier building at
the site. Finally, we found evidence of an early floor level
in the western part of PF 5 as well as a what seem to be early
foundation walls in the northern parts of PF 9 and 14. As much
as I hoped to finish this area, we will have to reopen next year
in order to keep exploring the early phase of this structure.
We should, however, be able to put only one crew down here, thus
enabling us to put 5 trenches on top.
Below the tile floor packing surrounding the hearth.
Early foundation walls in northern PF 9 and 14.
Finally, we have the area of the Bartolini-Salembene
excavation, which seems to have turned up evidence of a mediaeval
(or later structure).
Left: Operations Manager
Larry Lehman with Professor John Clarke. Right: Monika Cateni
and Vilma Ripi.
I need to take this time here to thank
our staff and students for an exceptional year. I would like
to particularly thank our Operations Manager, Larry Lehman, who
does a great job doing everything that keeps this site going.
I also want to thank one of our cooks, Vilma, who is retiring
after 8 years of wonderful meals.
Podere Funghi trenches as seen from the west at the end of the
Greg Warden (left), takes final photos, and Jess Galloway (right)
makes final drawings in the Podere Funghi.