Field Reports from
the end of the 2000 Field Season
FIELD DIRECTOR'S DIARY
Week 5 August , 2000:
Michael Thomas and Kate
Topper excavating bucchero in Trench PC 18.
As I write this report, I cant
help but feel a certain nostalgia for a nearly completed season
of excavation. I am elated at the extent of our success this
season. Every trench has provided a bit of excitement. Trench
PC 20 continues to pull up amazing pottery and equally amazing
architecture. Trench PC 19 has discovered a surprising addition
which, at this very early stage, seems suspiciously cistern-like.
View of Trench PF 5 from
Perhaps most exciting are the developments
in Trench PF 5. Here Robert Belanger has not only discovered
some impressive foundation walls, but what seems to be a hearth.
Margaret Woodhulls Trench PC 21, which has now been taken
over by Poggio Colla veteran Laura Proud, may have a series of
post holes cut into the bedrock. My own trench, Trench PC 18,
has discovered some beautiful bucchero.
Sherds of an incised bucchero vessel
partially exposed in Trench PC 18.
As an architecture person, it is an especially
exciting season that has raised some intriguing questions. Did
Margarets T 21 discover evidence of a portico along the
southern side of our site? Does Sarah Kupperberg have evidence
of a cistern adjacent to our temple foundation walls? Do we have
evidence for an Hellenistic settlement in the Podere Funghi?
These are all questions that will not be answered this year as
we may re-open several (if not all) of this years trenches
Cavity (a cistern?) below
the Phase 3 foundation wall in Trench PC 19.
I am particularly excited about architectural
developments in Justins Trench PC 20. He has discovered
a reused podium block in our north terrace wall. This conclusively
dates this wall to the later periods of the site (as the stratigraphy
from Trenches PC 20 and 3 suggests). Moreover, he may have a
footing for one of the large Phase I foundation blocks set in
the oldest datable stratum heretofore discovered.
Upside-down podium block in Trench
PC 20 is near the bottom of the photo.
Week 6 August , 2000:
Michael Thomas drawing additions
to the field survey map.
It is always a little sad to see something
that you have spent seven weeks excavating completely filled
with dirt after only 1 hour and a half of backfill. Several students
I have talked to over the past couple of days seemed quite upset
at the thought. For me, the great moment of finality every season
is the sight of backfilled trenches. Anyone who now walks up
to Poggio Colla, or to the Podere Funghi, will be greeted by
Backfilling Trench PC 19 at the end of the 2000 field season.
Despite the sadness associated with the
end of the season, we are ecstatic from its results. The impressive
finds are countless and the new evidence for architecture is
inspiring. Yet before I launch into an account of our season
I should thank some of the people who worked very hard to make
it successful. First and foremost are our students. In my mind,
we have never had a field school filled with such talented excavators.
I hope that we see many of them back again next season. Secondly,
I have to thank Kevin Beard, our Operations Manager, and Gillian
Bearns, our House Manager. No one has worked harder this season
than these two. Finally, our Trench Supervisors Sarah
Kupperberg, Justin Winkler, Margaret Woodhull, Laura Proud, and
Rob Belanger have done an amazing job and the great results of
our season are a tribute to their hard work.
Housing Manager Gillian Bearns
and Operations Manager Kevin Beard.
I am not going to dive into detailed
descriptions of our trenches; the trench supervisors have done
that in their final reports. I do, however, want to look at the
ramifications of this seasons work on what we know about
Poggio Colla. In other words, let us look at the big picture.
The big picture, and the focus of excavation
now for three seasons, is the monumental building on the acropolis.
A building that we believe was a temple. Sarahs discovery
of the west wall filled in the last piece of the puzzle and we
now know that our building measured 11 by 23 meters. Justins
trench answered some interesting questions about chronology.
The stratum that held the large Phase I block (that was discovered
during the excavation of Trench PC 3), Stratum 4, produced no
late pottery and an amazing amount of Orientalizing and Archaic
bucchero (late 7th through the 6th century B. C.). The latest
datable piece of pottery was a sherd of Attic Red-Figure (1st
half of the fifth century B. C.). We therefore can speculate
that the earliest phase of the building was built in the early
6th century. Its destruction and subsequent rebuilding took place
sometime in the 5th century. At the same time, as confirmed by
Justins careful excavation, the south terrace wall was
built into the destruction debris of the earlier building. This
new wall extended the terrace of the hilltop to accommodate the
larger Phase II building. Justins trench also confirmed
the later construction of the north terrace wall. The discovery
of another podium block built into the north wall likely places
at least one set of these blocks (we think that we have two different
types) on our Phase II building. The cuttings in bedrock in Trench
PC 21 may suggest the presence of a portico--perhaps in conjunction
with a precinct wall--along the south side of the hill.
Trench PC 20 from the north.
Trenches PC 18 and PF 5 may have given
us clues about the people who inhabited the lower slopes of the
hill. On the terraces of the north slope of Poggio Colla, Trench
PC 18 may have discovered evidence of the Archaic habitation.
Perhaps the most exciting discovery of the year comes from Trench
PF 5 we have foundations from a Hellenistic period dwelling,
complete with everyday pottery and what seems to be a hearth.
Thus we may now have habitation areas that coincide with our
building phases on the acropolis.
View of Trench PF 5 from
the west, with the hearth to the left.
I am excited about what the future holds
in store for the excavation at Poggio Colla. Next year I am considering
opening up larger trenches, especially in the areas of Trenches
PC 19 and 20. Such trenches would be excavated over a two or
three year period and enable us to see and understand larger
expanses of our building.
I cant wait!
Trench PF 5
Trench PC 18
Trench PC 19
Trench PC 20
Trench PC 21