Field Reports from
the end of the 2000 Field Season
Week 5 August , 2000:
Greg Warden and Kathy Windrow
after a Poggio Colla photo shoot.
I have been procrastinating. Our webmaster,
Kathy Windrow, is busy concocting our latest web update and has
repeatedly reminded me that I am past the deadline for submissions,
but I have put off the writing of my report until the last possible
minute, 11 PM on Wednesday, August 2. The updated weekly reports
will be put on the web early tomorrow morning. The reason for
my dilatory behavior is not laziness, nor can I claim the burden
of an overtaxed schedule in this penultimate week of excavation.
The reason I have dithered is in the hope that I might have some
good news from Trench PC 18, or at least some kind of explanation
of what we are finding there. I do not have such an explanation.
There are moments when I feel certain that we are closing in
on a tomb, and others when I feel that its one of the most
confusing contexts Ive ever seen. The good news is that
Michael Thomas is turning up some spectacular, very early decorated
pottery. What it all means will have to await further excavation.
Trench PC 18 with pit feature
and bucchero vessel fragments in foreground.
The news from Trench PF 5 in the Podere
Funghi is quite spectacular. The walls of the new building are
large and deep; it must have been quite an impressive structure,
not the mean little farm building we had imagined. Just today
Robert Belanger and his crew turned up a beautiful, circular
hearth near the area where they had found some interesting concentrations
of cooking ware (makes sense). This area will take several years
to excavate but it has great promise.
Circular hearth in Trench
Trench PC 20 continues to produce wonderful
pottery. Particularly dramatic was the excavation of a bucchero
chalice last Friday. The vase has already been restored by our
talented conservator, Won Ng, and looks quite handsome (the inside
border is decorated with a lightly impressed reticulate pattern).
What is particularly important is that this pottery comes from
an undisturbed early stratum, a rarity at our site. There is
more important news from this trench. Under the northern (later)
terrace wall we have found an upside-down molded podium block.
This will be important evidence for the destruction (and reutilization)
of the earlier monumental structures at the site.
Bucchero chalice in Trench
PC 20. See also Conservation Week 5.
Upside-down podium block in Trench
PC 20 is near the bottom of the photo.
The architectural bounty continues in
Trench PC 19 where Sarah Kupperberg has found some truly interesting
walls, cavities, and worked blocks. Its beginning to look
more and more like a cistern, but we will have to wait until
next year, Im afraid, to know for certain. Even Trench
PC 21, which was supervised until recently by Margaret Woodhull
and is now being run by Laura Proud, has turned up a series of
fascinating post holes.
Worked Phase 2 sandstone
blocks visible in the cavity just
outside and below the Phase 3 foundation wall of Trench PC 19.
Trench PC 21 post holes, one at the top
and the other at the bottom of the photo.
This penultimate week is living up to
its promise; like an autumnal harvest rich with the bounty of
a fruitful season, the harvest of information and fascinating
finds begins to mount and become meaningful. Now we will need
to pull it together and understand its meaning, but for this
task we will have a winter and a spring.
Krista Farber, Prajna Desai,
and Jess Galloway hover over Justin Winkler
as he works to remove the bucchero chalice from Trench PC 20.
Week 6 August , 2000:
Greg Warden and Robert Belanger discuss the season's
discoveries in Trench PF 5 during final trench tours.
It has been a spectacularly successful
season. We have learned a great deal and found a great deal of
material: new architecture and ceramics as well as more exotic
items. We are learning more about the early phases of habitation
at the site (PC 18, 20, and possibly 21) as well as of the later,
Hellenistic phase (PC 19 and PF 5). It will take time to process
the new information. One thing that is clear at this point is
that the site is vast (we have discovered traces of Etruscan
habitation across the Sieve valley), that the scope of the project
is ever growing larger, and that we will have to formulate a
broader research design for future years, one that may incorporate
other researchers and institutions.
Greg Warden photographing
catalogued finds from the 2000 season.
As usual we are in a last-minute frenzy
to pack away our material, close the trenches, vacate the rental
houses. This is not a time for careful consideration of the new
knowledge we have gained in this exceptional seasonin some
ways the most exceptional season we have had at Poggio Colla.
I will write a final report for this seasons web page,
one that summarizes the results in more detail, when I return
to Dallas next week.
Backfilling trenches on
the arx at Poggio Colla.
Trench PF 5
Trench PC 18
Trench PC 19
Trench PC 20
Trench PC 21