2003 TRENCHES PC 24 & 26
Josh Moran, Field Supervisor



Field Supervisor Josh Moran
.

Week 5:

Field School Students:
Alex Keim
Natalie Heberling
Emily Lepkowsky
Cat Hinds

This week we've had some highs and lows in PC 26. It turns out that the large coarseware vessel that we had exposed half way does not continue into the western part of the trench. Jessica and Emily removed the soil to the west of the exposed portion only to find that there was nothing there. That was somewhat disappointing, but as it stands, we have just shy of half of the top of the vessel, with the possibility that there are more intact portions in deeper levels of the trench.


Natalie Heberling studies the dirt as she finishes the pass in PC 26.

In the northwestern portion of the trench, we've uncovered portions of another wall foundation. Natalie did a fine job of defining many of the stones in the wall so that we could get a good look at them. Not surprisingly, the wall is similar to the one about 5 meters east that divides PC 26 and PC 24. This means that it is a Phase III construction (the last phase of the site's use) made primarily of rubble and rocks of all shapes and sizes. The other characteristic that it shares is the fact that it is incomplete. There are rather large gaps in the wall which we are unable to explain. There are some pieces of tile and coarseware that can be found within these voids, but nothing that is at all substantial. It's possible that after the site was destroyed for the final time, people who were still living nearby came up to use the materials that composed the recently razed building. As such, they removed some stones from the wall foundations that they found to be useful for their own constructions. It is also possible that these walls were never finished in the first place. A question we must consider as we go further.


At right, wall emerging along the west scarp of PC 26.

 


Wall emerging in Trench PC 26, as seen from the west.

Very near the western wall, we found a rather interesting item. Jessica discovered a small fragment of fineware. After seeing there was more left in the ground, she removed the soil from around the item to find that there was a complete fineware bowl turned upside down. The strangest thing about the bowl was that it had a hole in the bottom about 3cm wide. The hole was apparently manufactured purposely when the bowl was made. We are not certainly exactly what such an item would have been used for.


Vessel found in Trench PC 26 after cleaning in the conservation lab.

Another high point is that we are now excavating the third stratum in PC 26. This appears to be the latest archaeological layer in the trench. In the northeast of our current pass, Alex uncovered a very large fragment of a fineware bowl that had a black glaze on it. The fragment was a portion of the vessel's rim, which means it is a "diagnostic sherd." Expert ceramicists will look at diagnostic fragments and often times tell the date and region of manufacture of the entire vessel. This makes the fragment an important find for determining a date of deposition for our third stratum.


Alex Keim and Cat Hinds in PC 26.

In the southeast section of our pass, Cat uncovered a piece of sandstone which has mudbrick sitting directly on top of it. Mudbrick was a sun-dried building material, similar to adobe, that Etruscans often used to build the walls of their buildings. It is unclear why such a small piece of mudbrick is sitting on top of this small stone, but there is still a fair amount of dirt to be removed in that area, so this may help to answer that question.

Week 6:


Left to right: Josh Moran, Jessica Leger, Cat Hinds, Alex Keim, Emily Lepkowsky, and Natalie Heberling.

This week we've spent all of our time excavating Stratum 3. Stratum 3 is our latest archaeological layer and contains the artifacts which are still in their original context. We've uncovered a number of interesting things in this stratum.


View from the south of the southwest corner of PC 26,
with foundation stones revealed along the scarp.

In the southwest corner of Trench PC 26, Natalie spent a good deal of time defining more stones that appear to be a part of our western wall foundation. Also mixed in with these stones was a fair amount of mudbrick, ceramics and other rubble. This portion of the foundation does not connect to the stones placed in the north portion. We are still uncertain why none of the walls in our trenches are complete. Mixed in with this mass of mudbrick and other materials, Natalie uncovered a sling stone. A sling stone is a small, round and heavy stone that would have been thrown with a sling as a weapon for hunting or military purposes. Also mixed in with this rubble was a small lead piece that had been pierced at one time. The hole in it currently holds some unidentified material. It may be organic in nature, but it is very difficult to tell.

Also in the southwest portion of PC 26, Cat uncovered a portion of a roof tile that was a bit unusual. It appeared to have an extra lip on the end. We believe that this particular type of tile would have been used at the bottom of a tiled roof in order to suspend an antefix.

Alex uncovered a large piece of iron in the southwest area. Iron tends to corrode and cement the surrounding soil to itself. As a result, it is impossible to tell what this particular piece of iron is at the moment. It was sent down to conservation for cleaning and identification.

We've managed to go a bit deeper into Stratum 3 in the northwest portion of the trench. This deeper level has seemed pretty consistent with the one we excavated just above it. The soil has a high concentration of little bits of pottery, tile and stone. There is also some evidence of burnt wood and seeds. One thing we have noticed is that there are a lot of bone fragments throughout these layers. Most are just tiny little bits, but a few are large enough that someone with a lot of experience in osteology may be able to tell what species of animal they come from.


Left to right: Natalie Heberling, Cat Hinds, Jessica Leger, Alex Keim, and Emily Lepkowsky.

Emily, Jessica and Cat have been finding a good number of fragments from a large fine ware vessel in the northwest portion of the trench. The fragments are scattered all throughout the area. Each time we find a small pocket of these fragments, we mark the spot so that once we've completed removing the soil in this area, we can do a small map of the types and number of pieces found in each spots. This may help us to ascertain how the vessel was broken, which could give us a nice hint as to how to interpret Stratum 3.


Left: Natalie Heberling mapping the location of finds. Right: Emily Lepkowsky and Alex Keim.

In keeping with her ability to find weaponry mixed in with rubble, today Natalie uncovered a stone projectile point near a large rock at the north edge of the trench. The tip is broken and there is a small chip in the side, so it is likely that this point saw some use. It seems that the point could easily have been repaired, so it is unclear why such an item would be found mixed in with a large quantity of broken tile and rubble. This is just another question we will try to answer over the next week.


Left : large rock in the north end of PC 26. Right: Asst. Field Supervisor Jessica Leger (foreground).

 


Jess Galloway and Josh Moran discuss the wall foundation in PC 26.

Week 7:


Left to right: Josh Moran, Jessica Leger, Cat Hinds, Alex Keim,
Emily Lepkowsky, and Natalie Heberling in their trench.

As usual, our last day of excavation was more hectic than all previous ones.
There was a lot of work to do in order to prepare the trenches for their final photographs as well as finish up excavating key areas. One such task was the removal of the majority of tile that was exposed in PC 24 by last year's excavation. While we were removing the tile, it was apparent that a number of coarseware sherds that were mixed in obviously belonged to the same vessel. After clearing more tile from around these sherds, one could see a good number of similar sherds still in the ground. It looked as though this large coarseware vessel had been smashed by the tile. Last year, this tile was interpreted as material that would have been packed into a floor to level and strengthen it. This doesn't seem likely if a vessel had been smashed beneath the tile. Such a find seems more indicative of a roof that collapsed into a room. At the moment, there is no way to say for sure, as most of the vessel is still in the ground, so it is impossible to know how complete it is. It's still possible that it's just a large portion of a broken vessel that was deposited alongside the tile and other rubble as a packing or leveling material. Next year's excavation should give us a better idea.


Trenches PC 24 (right) and 26 (left) from the south.

Back in PC 26, our final count for sherds from the fineware vessel that were emerging in the last week is 35 sherds in 11 different find spots. There are still a few sherds that we have left in situ for excavation next year. Hopefully we will eventually find all of the vessel. As it stands, many of the sherds that have been removed will join with each other. Based on the curvature of the body sherds as well as a few neck fragments, I believe this may be an askos, which is a jug with a very squat and rounded body/base and a long neck with a spout at the top for pouring. It is interesting that so much of this vessel is being found. Hopefully the plotting of all the sherd find spots will be able to tell us how this vessel was broken and deposited where it is now.


View from the south of Trench PC 26.

Many questions remain for PC 24 and PC 26. At this point, we don't know exactly what the function of this space was when the building was in use. It wouldn't be surprising to find that it was a storage space similar to that in PC 19 and PC 22. However, we do not currently have much evidence to support that idea. Also unclear, is the relationship of the two wall foundations to each other. Both are quite incomplete, appear to be constructed in the same fashion and run parallel to each other. Perhaps neither was ever finished or both were dismantled for materials after the site was destroyed. Discovering their relationship may also help to determine whether or not these spaces were interior or exterior.


PC 24 (lower left), PC 22 and 19 (upper left), PC 17 and 23 (upper right), and PC 24 (lower right).

One thing that is clear is that there is a definite relationship between the space in PC 26 and the space in PC 24. The soil that abuts the main building's southern wall foundation in PC 24 appears to have been deposited by the same process as the soil against the incomplete wall foundation in the west of PC 26. Both soils have large fragments of tile and pottery contained within them. They are also quite dark in color and remain very lumpy even when moist. They both have frequent inclusions of little bits of pottery, stone, tile and bone. Though it seems that they were created by the same process, we still do now know what that process was. Hopefully, there will be some clue in either PC 24 or PC 26 next season that will help solve that puzzle for both trenches.


View of Trenches PC 26 (foreground) and 24 from the west.

 


View from the southwest of Trenches PC 26 (lower left) and 24 (right).

 

Above and below: Trenches PC 24 and 26 from the north.


 


Assistant Field Supervisor Jessica Leger.

 


Emily Lepkowsky takes levels for Jessica Leger to make final scarp drawings.