RECONAISSANCE AT THE POGGIO COLLA ARCHAEOLOGICAL FIELD SITE,
Professor Robert Sternberg
of Earth and Environment, Franklin & Marshall College
2009 Field Season - Report
by Rob Sternberg
preparing a soil sample
placing a mold over the prepared sample
leveling the mold
squeezing plaster around the soil sample in the mold
noting the orientation of the sample
entering the site location and orientation of the sample
samples protected by plaster for transport to a lab
Rob Sternberg and F&M student Ali Neugebauer set up for magnetometry
Ali Neugebauer using the magnetometer to collect data southeast
of the arx of Poggio Colla
2007 Field Season - Report
by Rob Sternberg
High precision magnetometry at the Poggio Colla Archaeology Field
Avery Cota conducts magnetic susceptibility survey in NW 3
Erin Bradley and Prof. Rob Sternberg (F&M) setting up magnotometer
has come to increasingly utilize the application of techniques
from the natural sciences. This subdiscipline has been called
archaeometry, or archaeological science (Brothwell and Pollard,
2001). Although originally used more in the domain of prehistoric
archaeology, archaeometric methods have become increasingly applied
in classical archaeology (McGovern, 1995). Archaeological geophysics
is commonly used to locate archaeological sites and to identify
structures and artifacts within sites (Gaffney and Gater, 2003;
Sarris and Jones, 2000).
walks a line with the instrument while Rob Sternberg supervises
The goal of my visit
in 2007 was to carry out intensive magnetometry in the Podere
Funghi. I spent three weeks at the site, working with Erin Bradley,
F&M '09. We used a cesium vapor magnetometer interfaced with
a gps receiver, and a proton precession magnetometer for a magnetic
base station. Approximately 80,000 readings of the total magnetic
field were made over an area of about 2.8 acres. About a dozen
magnetic anomalies were tagged for future investigation as potentially
archaeologically significant. One of the large survey areas,
north of the road bordering the Podere Funghi, is shown in the
figure. The anomaly on the left boundary of the survey area is
about 450 nanoteslas (nT) in amplitude, due to a concrete pole
supporting a power line. The anomaly labeled A1 is about 5 meters
across, 150 nT in amplitude, and seems most promising as a possible
archaeological source. A number of apparent anomalies on the
right side of the diagram are very sharp with high intensities
up to 3000 nT, but were due to temporary signal losses by the
magnetometer. The fabric of subtle anomalies along the axis of
the survey is an artifact of the direction of walking with the
magnetometer. Data processing will continue in the Fall of 2007,
with further surveying and ground-truthing of anomalies anticipated
for the summer of 2008.
2007 Field Season:
and below: Erin Bradley and Rob Sternberg
using magnotometry in the Podere Funghi
Brothwell, D.R., and A.M. Pollard, 2001. Handbook of Archaeological
Sciences. John Wiley & Sons, Chichester, 762 p.
Gaffney, Chris, and John
Gater, 2003. Revealing the Buried Past: Geophysics for Archaeologists.
Tempus Publishing, Stroud, 192 p.
McGovern, P. E., 1995.
Science in archaeology: A review. American Journal of Archaeology
Sarris, A. and Jones,
R.E., 2000. Geophysical and related techniques applied to archaeological
survey in the Mediterranean: a review. Journal of Mediterranean
Archaeology 13, 3-75.
of Roman Archaeology 12, 231-236.
2006 Field Season
- Report by Robert Vander Poppen
Archaeological research has come to increasingly
utilize the application of techniques from the natural sciences.
This subdiscipline has been called archaeometry, or archaeological
science (Brothwell and Pollard, 2001). Although originally used
more in the domain of prehistoric archaeology, archaeometric
methods have become increasingly applied in classical archaeology
(McGovern, 1995). The term geoarchaeology has often been used
in a narrow sense, to refer to study of the sediments, stratigraphy,
and landforms in which archaeological sites are embedded. ProfessorRobert
Sternberg, a geophysicist on the faculty of Franklin & Marshall
College, prefers to use the term "geoarchaeology" to
refer to the application of any method from the geosciences to
archaeology. In this respect, geoarchaeology becomes similar
to archaeometry, because of the wide range of descriptive and
analytical methods utilized in the geosciences (Goldberg et al.,
2001). The best archaeometric research is done when there is
close collaboration between archaeologists, who know the archaeological
problems to be solved, and natural scientists, who can carry
out the technical analyses. Therefore a collaboration with the
staff at Poggio Colla has a very high probability of producing
Rob Sternberg taking samples from
Trench PF 15 in the Podere Funghi
Rob Sternberg explains his project
to student Fred Martino
2005 Field Season:
In the summer of 2005, Professor Sternberg focused most on the
use of field geophysics to consider land use areas at the site,
and to locate kilns and kiln wasters in the Podere Funghi kiln
area. Fred Martino F&M '08 used F&M Marshall Scholar
funds to participate in the field school and work with Professor
Sternberg on his geophysical research. They focused on the use
of magnetometry and magnetic susceptibility, particularly appropriate
techniques to use in the Podere Funghi where pottery was produced.
Kilns in particular are highly magnetic (Justin Gosses, Franklin
& Marshall, carried out an earlier project on the kilns in
Katy Blanchard and Fred Martino geoprospecting in the Podere
Professor Sternberg spent 2 weeks at
the site, from late June to early July. During that time he familiarized
himself with the archaeology of the site, and the work that has
been done so far. He supervised the geophysical work of Martino,
first of all teaching him how to use the magnetometer and other
equipment and then to take readings. One clear result indicated
the presence of an unexcavated kiln in the Podere Funghi. Site
directors can use this information as they plan future seasons.
Fred Martino will prepare a research paper on his results and
he will also present his results at the annual Autumn Research
Fair at Franklin & Marshall in the fall of 2005.
Because the work this summer indicated
that future work would be useful, Sternberg hopes to submit a
proposal for a Keck Geology Consortium project at the site for
the summer of 2006. If accepted, this would allow at least one
F&M student and, depending on the scope of the proposal,
2-8 students and 1-2 professors from other highly slective liberal
arts colleges with outstanding Geoscience departments to participate
in an expanded project.
Professor Sternberg's association with
Poggio Colla actually began several years ago. F&M alumnus
Justin Gosses carried out archaeomagnetic measurements in Professor
Sternberg's F&M lab using samples collected at Poggio Colla
in 2002. Although strongly magnetized, these samples did not
give a consistent reading of the paleomagnetic field. Rob Sternberg
hopes to carry out some additional archaeomagnetic sampling of
the kilns at the site to check this, and to see whether the kilns
might accurately record the Iron Age magnetic field.
Brothwell, D.R., and A.M. Pollard,
2001. Handbook of Archaeological Sciences. John Wiley & Sons,
Chichester, 762 p.
Gaffney, Chris, and John Gater,
2003. Revealing the Buried Past: Geophysics for Archaeologists.
Tempus Publishing, Stroud, 192 p.
Goldberg, Paul, Vance T. Holliday,
and C. Reid Ferring, 2001. Earth Sciences and Archaeology. Kluwer
Academic, New York, 513 p.
Gosses, Justin, 2002. Archeomagnetism
of Poggio Colla and Podere Funghi Archaeological Sites. Franklin
& Marshall College Research Fair, Fall, 2002.
McGovern, P. E., 1995. Science
in archaeology: A review. American Journal of Archaeology 99,