2012 TRENCHES PC 22 and PC 30
Field Supervisor: Michael Guarino

Field Supervisor Michael Guarino


Opening Report:

This season at Poggio Colla we will be re-opening trenches PC 22 and PC 30, creating one super-huge megatrench. Excavators Julie, Dash, Kasey, Beth, Emily and Deanna will become well versed in all of the practices of archaeology, including wall definition, the reading of stratigraphy, delicate metal excavation, and even the exploration of geological features such as fissures. In fact, Even before we finished the seemingly endless process of removing the soil from both trenches (both of which have been partially excavated in previous seasons), we knew of the presence of four fissures in the bedrock. This geological feature has a special place in Etruscan ritual, with evidence from more than one site, including Poggio Colla, where offerings seem to have been made at spots like these.

Michael Guarino works with his student team

That brings us to the first goal of the season. We will be looking to further understand the ritual nature of the space that we occupy on the hill, where many of the key finds that define the site have been located, including gold jewelry, a votive deposit of silver coins, and two iron axe heads.

Students working in Trenches PC 22 (left) and PC 30 (right) during Week 3

Our second goal of the season involves reading the stratigraphy of our trenches and trying to determining the phasing of the structures that were built upon our hilltop. It is believed that we have three distinct “phases”, and PC 22 is where a very large intersection between two phases of the walls occurs. We will be trying to understand the chronology of these walls and their relationship to each other, along with the other features of the site.

Week 3 view of Trench PC 22 from the north, showing Victoriati pit

This summer promises to be an extremely productive one here at Poggio Colla. In PC 22 and PC 30 we are looking to have an amazing amount of fun, and hopefully learn about archaeology as well.

GO Tigers!!!!

Emily Caldwell and Beth Greenleaf excavate a pithos
containing barley in PC 30 during Week 3


Trenches PC 22 and 30 seen from the southwest during Week 4


View from the west of wall in Trenches PC22 and 30


Michael Guarino and PC 22 and 30 Trench Team students Dash Jordan,
Kasey Murphy, Deanna Miserendino, Beth Greenleaf, and Emily Caldwell


Students digging in Trench PC 22 during Week 4


Kasey Murphy preparing the board for trench photo ID


Covering Trenches PC 22 and 30 at the end of a work day in Week 4


Michael Guarino digging in his trench during students' cookie break


Field Supervisor Michael Guarino explains discoveries in PC 22 and 30 during Trench Tours


Final Report:

This has been a very interesting season in the Tiger trench. My fellow feline excavators Beth, Dash, Deanna, Emily, Kasey, and Julie excavated two previously opened trenches this summer, resulting in numerous bits of information that have helped us interpret the occupations of the acropolis at Poggio Colla. One of the most interesting areas we excavated in was a floor surface for the Phase III structure, where we found numerous large storage vessels called pithoi. Within many of these pithoi we uncovered numerous caches of burnt barley, leading us to believe that our area on the hilltop, at least for a time, was used as an agricultural storage area. The total amount of barley found nears 3-4 liters, all found in their primary context. We even found a nearly intact lead rivet, which may have been used to repair a broken pithos.

Photo by Gretchen Carlson: The Tiger Team of Trenches PC 22 and 30 -- Michael Guarino,
Dash Jordan, Beth Greenleaf, Deanna Miserendino, Emily Caldwell, and Kasey Murphy

We also were able to uncover previously buried courses of the Phase II wall foundation, directly beneath the Phase III foundations. This was a significant find because it cleared up an issue that we have been debating lately in terms the phasing of the site. Having found these blocks, along with other stratigraphic clues, we were able to form a relatively strong hypothesis suggesting that there were, in fact, four phases of construction at Poggio Colla, one of which may never have been finished. This had been a theory coming into the season, and the work done by the tigers this season made significant strides in confirming this theory.

Week 6: tile pile in Trench PC 30.

The ending stages of the season we were able to uncover an area that had a very high density of animal bone and broken pottery. Although this area is not technically a midden, which is defined as a pit into which trash has been thrown, it does appear as if this area was a deposit of trash at one point during the occupation of the Phase III structure. This gave the students the opportunity to practice some of the finer strategies of excavation, detailing each piece and exposing it fully before taking photographs and carefully removing the artifact.

View from the southwest of the team at work in Trenches PC 22 and 30 during Week 6.

Numerous other artifacts were found in the trench which helped us better understand the activity on the acropolis during Etruscan (and possibly earlier) habitations. We were able to uncover a stone ball which would have been used as a projectile for a sling-shot type device. We found numerous iron nails and a few chunks of bronze, along with many of the common vessels we often find here at Poggio Colla. We even found a flint arrowhead that dates to sometime in the Neolithic period. While this is probably not an artifact associated with any Etruscan occupation at the site, its presence, along with a few other fragments of older ceramic vessels shows us that occupation of Poggio Colla stretches back well before our friendly Etruscans arrived.

Mike Guarino and his team in Trenches PC 22 and 30 at the end of Week 6.

I have had the pleasure of working with five of the most engaging, thoughtful, fun students I have ever been around this year, and without their efforts and hard work this summer would not have been as successful as it was. I want to take this opportunity to thank Dash, Beth, Deanna, Emily, Kasey, and Julie for making this an incredibly fun, productive summer. Go Tigers!

Photo by Gretchen Carlson: The Tiger Team of Trenches PC 22 and 30 -- Michael Guarino,
Dash Jordan, Beth Greenleaf, Deanna Miserendino, Emily Caldwell, and Kasey Murphy


Emily Caldwell worked tirelessly all season in Trenches PC 22 and 30.


Deanna Miserendino and Kasey Murphy work on their field notebooks.


Dash Jordan excavating in Trench PC 22 at the end of Week 6.


Intern Morgan Burgess and Field Supervisor Michael Guarino draw scarps at season's end.


Final photo of Trenches PC 22 (lower right) and 30 (upper left) from the southeast.


Final photo of Trenches PC 22 (upper right) and 30 lower left) from the southwest.


Final photo of Trenches PC 22 (left) and 30 (right) from the north.


Final photo of Trenches PC 22 (left) and 30 (right) from the north.


Final photo, detail of Trenches PC 22 and 30 from the north.