Illustrator JoAnn Boscarino completed over 70 drawings in 2012
and Conservation Report 2
At the beginning to week 5, the Selve lab is beginning to plan for the end of the season and the annual rituals of preparing this year’s material for migration to our winter storage facility. By establishing an intricately balanced schedule of deadlines, we will box up context pottery right after the last day of excavation and are now preparing the catalogued finds to accompany them to the museum basement in Vicchio.
In the meantime, field school students will be visiting the lab to carry out research for their final papers. Their assignment requires them to select one category of material evidence from their trenches for special study and to discover its associations site wide. The exercise helps students link the segment of Poggio Colla’s history they have uncovered to our site-wide narrative and to integrate the presence of artifacts with architecture to tell that story.
Three research students from Franklin & Marshall are working on a massive project to use the tomb groups from Monte Tamburino, a site to the north of Poggio Colla, to date contexts at Poggio Colla more precisely. These tombs are like time capsules , closed at the moment of burial for the deceased. Deanna Miserendino and Ben Hollenbach have created a spreadsheet of all the artifacts in the Monte Tamburino tombs and are carrying out a number of analyses to use the chronological information from the tombs to understand better our own stratigraphy. In addition, Bryanne Lotter is working on aspects of sex and gender among the tomb groups in order to shed light on whether categories of artifacts are, at least at the moment of burial, considered “male” or “female.” We hope her results will be useful in our continuing interest in identifying the gender of the deity or deities honored at Poggio Colla.
Phil Perkins has been a welcome presence in the lab as he carries out his continuing work on the bucchero from the site. He departs this week.
Matt Naiman and Hanna Bertoldi continue the primary work of the Selve lab, managing the inflow of finds and documenting them through photography and cataloging.
Laboratory Fellow Matt Naiman and Intern Hannah Bertoldi
Catherine Westerduin, Intern in Paleobotany
The conservation staff (conservator Allison Lewis and pre-program students Morgan Burgess, Hanna Bertoldi, Hillary Halik and Sarah Montonchaikul) has been busy cleaning and stabilizing finds of all sorts.
Allison Lewis and Morgan Burgess in the conservation lab
2012 Conservation students Hillary Halik and Sarah Montonchaikul (SMU)
Towards the end of the season we had the opportunity to come to site and help lift three fragile copper alloy artifacts in PC 45. We employed special measures to safely excavate the PC 45 copper alloy objects, first consolidating them (applying a dilute adhesive) in situ, then block lifting them. Block lifting entails creating a block of soil around a delicate object, then encasing the entire block of soil with plaster bandages. The plaster creates rigid walls to support the soil containing the object, immobilizing it during excavation and transit. This lets us get the object back to the lab in one piece, where we can carefully excavate the block and treat the object within.
At the end of 2012 Week 4, the conservation team was called to the
field to excavate two small bronze finds in Trench PC 45.
In addition to helping the archaeologists safely lift these bronzes, we’ve also been cleaning and reconstructing ceramic vessels ranging from sections of large pithoi (big storage jars) to delicate cups and bowls in various fabrics, and working on iron and lead finds. Our final task will be to enclose the metals in containers designed to maintain a very dry microenvironment , designed to slow corrosion. Next year conservation will pick up where we left off, treating finds excavated in the final days of the 2012 season and excavating the remaining block lift!
See series of photos below documenting the process of excavating, consolidating, and block lifting the bronze finds from Trench PC 45 during Week 4 of the 2012 field season.
Conservator Allison Lewis prepares a bronze rod for lifting in PC 45 during Week 5
Above: Allison Lewis excavating bronze rod in PC 45 during Week 5;
below, the rod prepared for block lifting and transport to lab
and Conservation Report 3
The last week of the season is wrapping up in both the Guardia and Selve labs. In Guardia, our conservation team is enjoying the challenge of a veritable flood of bronze, primarily from PC 45, and pithoi, a constant presence in Trench 22/30 in 2012. The Selve group is moving catalogued finds through the post conservation recording process and making plans for boxing up context pottery, non-catalogued and catalogued finds. The annual migration of our material to its winter home in the Beato Angelica Museum in Vicchio begins Wednesday, August 1, and will conclude on Friday.
A major focus for the Selve lab in the last two weeks has been supporting field school students as they prepare to write their final research papers. Students prepare a mock final publication of their trench, and they select one category of their finds as a focus to link the history of their trench to the broader narrative of the site. They examine examples of their focus category discovered in prior seasons, consulting the site inventory, trench notebooks, publications of site material as well as the objects themselves. They develop a nuanced understanding of how what they have uncovered in 2012 connects with the various chronological phases of the site and how the material record gives substance to our hypotheses of temporal connections.
With the departure of Phil Perkins at the end of week five, the Selve lab bid farewell to a major research focus for 2012, support for Phil’s continuing work on the bucchero from Poggio Colla. Hanna Bertoldi and Matt Naiman have spent considerable time and effort collecting examples of “sigla” graffiti and dipinti that communicate without referring explicitly to verbal communication. We hope to participate in the International Etruscan Sigla Project to which Nancy de Grummond introduced us in an earlier visit this summer.
Intern Hannah Bertoldi and Laboratory Fellow Matt Naiman, extremely busy at season's end.
Gretchen Meyers’ study of weaving tools at the site has grown to embrace the pins and fibulas that adorn textiles, and this category of evidence has formed a research project for a second season in 2012. Franklin and Marshall students Benjamin Hollenbach, Deanna Miserendino, and Bryanne Lotter have devoted an enormous amount to energy using the rich evidence of the Monet Tamburino cemetery near Monterenzio to explore dating context for the Poggio fibulas as well as to test theories that fibula types have gender associations.
Inevitably, this year’s work in the lab inspires ideas for 2013 research projects. The appearance of fragmentary but high quality black gloss pottery in Trench 22/30 in 2012 has inspired us to look again at similar contexts revealed in the past five years to understand better both the chronology of our site phases and the function of our architectural complex at various moments in the site’s history
The second half of the season brought several visitors to the labs—George and Pat Edmonds, newly converted Etruscophiles from Andover Massachusetts, March Di Giulio, Assistant Professor of Hebrew of Franklin & Marshall while on a visit home to Florence, and Jon Albers, Institut für Kunstgeschichte und Archäologie der Universität Bonn, who is conducting research for his Habilitationsschrift on Etruscan sanctuaries.
As we close the door on 2012, we look forward to our continuing research over the winter and our return in 2013 when we will welcome new and returning students and friends. Energetic work by our lab staff has put us in an excellent position to hit the ground running when we reconvene next summer.
Student Julie Knetchges working in the lab
of Research Ann Steiner
of Materials Gretchen Meyers
For reports and more information on research projects, see Research. For photographs
of key finds from trenches in the recent season, see Finds.
on the Conservation Lab, see below. For additional information
on the lab and magazzino, visit the Labs
page listed under Facilities.