Field Reports from
the end of the 2000 Field Season
Trench PC 18
Week 5 August , 2000:
Melinda Swendrak, Kate Topper,
and Amy Hedgecock open a new locus in PC 18.
I would have hoped to say, especially
after nearly 6 weeks of excavation, that I would be able to provide
a sound theory about what we are excavating in Trench PC 18.
Unfortunately that is not the case. We spent an especially exhaustive
week of excavation bringing our expansion of T 18 down to the
level of our original trench. After the removal of an amazing
amount of earth last week, the early part of this week brought
us two interesting developments. We have found additional fragments
of a bucchero chalice base that we found in Locus 1. We have
also found nearly twenty fragments of a beautifully incised bucchero
vessel in the same area. This week, we also discovered an interesting
feature in our new Locus, a circular feature of approximately
70 centimeters in diameter that seems to be the top part of a
View of Trench PC 18 at
the end of week 5, with the new
locus brought down to the level of the original trench.
Yet we still have no evidence of a tomb.
The bucchero fragments, although quite impressive, seem to be
out of context. That is, if they were originally part of a tomb
group, they are now out of context because there is no evidence
of the tomb itself. I was sure when I first saw our pit feature,
that it was the top of a pozzetto tomb. This pit, the majority
of which was excavated on Wednesday, seems to be empty. As we
only have two days of excavation left, I am afraid that this
years T 18 may end without the discovery of a tomb. The
other possibility is that we shall discover a tomb on the last
day of excavation (one always seems to discover the most important
things on the last day of excavation).
Left: view of the pit, feature 2 in Trench PC 18. Right: detail
of trench with bucchero fragments
Whether or not we have a tomb, T 18 has
produced one great find, Kate Topper my assistant. Kate, who
will start her graduate work at Harvard in the fall, is in my
mind already a proven archaeologist. As Field Director, I often
find myself away from the trench. Fortunately I have been able
to leave the trench in Kates hands and she has done a superb
job of running things when I am not around. I am deeply indebted
to her for everything she has done this season.
Kate Topper (left) and Gillean Bearns.
Left: Michael Thomas removes
bucchero vessel fragments from Trench PC 18.
Right: view of PC 18 from the north, with bucchero in foreground
and pit feature in background.
Week 6 August , 2000:
Kate Topper and Gillean Bearns
defining bucchero fragments in Trench PC 18.
As one would expect, the last week of
excavation was eventful in Trench PC 18. Not only did we find
some beautiful bucchero, but also we have new evidence that may
help solve the puzzle of T 18 and its environs. The evidence
we discovered suggests to me that T 18 and its pottery are not
associated with a tomb.
Gillean Bearns continues to define the bucchero oinochoe
so that they are ready for the conservators to consolidate and
Incised bucchero oinochoe fragments and handle.
First, lets start with the pottery.
The last week of excavation centered around our new Locus, Locus
2. We had expanded the trench two weeks ago after finding significant
parts of a bucchero base. We expanded the trench thinking that
we had indeed discovered a tomb. After the week of excavation
needed to bring the new Locus 2 down to the same level, we were
finally able to explore the possible tomb area. Once we reached
this level, I also resumed excavation in Locus 1. We discovered
right way that the area of dark soil that we discovered was not
a tomb, but instead a stratum that covered most of the trench.
Excavation in this stratum produced spectacular finds this week.
The highlight was an early bucchero oinochoe from Locus
2 that may or may not be associated with the above-mentioned
base found in Locus 1. The removal of much of the oinochoe
required the help of our conservators. We have so far recovered
nearly fifty pieces and the conservators have successfully restored
the neck and the beautiful notched handle. They have also put
together large segments of the incised body. More pottery followed
from the same level in Loci 1 and 2. These included a bucchero
rocchetto, a coarseware lid, and a bucchero chalice fragment
preserving three stamped griffins.
Joined fragments of the incised bucchero oinochoe.
Michael Thomas holds a PC 18 bucchero sherd with the
first example found at Poggio Colla of this incised motif.
The pottery was fragmentary and scattered
across the trench in Stratum 5. If we had been digging a tomb,
we should have recovered nearly whole vessels in a localized
and distinct context. Careful study of our stratigraphy suggests
at the lower levels the strata level out (instead of following
the sloped upper strata). This means that the road near our trench--where
we had originally found pottery in this area after a large rain--had
in all likelihood cut through a terraced area. This suspicion
was confirmed during conversation with Giuseppe Ancarani, or
Beppe. Beppe told me that a significant amount of pottery was
discovered when the road was initially cut in the late 1960s
(at the start of the Italian campaigns at Poggio Colla).
Amy Hedgecock excavating bucchero in Trench PC 18.
So what does this all mean? At this point
we can only speculate. I believe that the terraced area where
we are digging T 18 may have supported a habitation area. In
fact, Mark Corneys survey discovered a series of terraces
running down the slopes along Poggio Collas north end.
These terraces may have all been part of the early Etruscan settlement
at Poggio Colla. The pottery found in T 18 suggests that the
settlement dates to the late Orientalizing and Archaic periods
(circa 600-500 B. C). Of course, it will take several years of
excavation to solve this (much welcomed!) dilemma.
Amy Hedgecock, Melinda Swendrak,
and Ashley Bennett in PC 18.
That said, I shall conclude this years
report by thanking my trench crew. In addition to my assistant
Kate Topper my crew this year consisted of three field school
students, Amy Hedgecock, Melinda Swendrak, and Ashley Bennett.
All three have turned into great excavators and I would be happy
to see them all back at Poggio Colla. We were also fortunate
to have Gillian Bearns, our house manager, help us during the
last two weeks.
Left: Melinda Swendrak sifting.
Right: Ashley Bennett, Melinda Swendrak, and Amy Hedgecock.
Melinda Swendrak, Gillean Bearns, Kate Topper, Ashley Bennett,
and Amy Hedgecock on the last full day of excavation in Trench
PC 18 (from the west).
Ashley Bennett measures stratigraphy in scarps of Trench PC 18
that Kate Topper can make final drawings in the field notebook.
Scarp in Trench PC 18.
Final photo of Trench PC 18 from the southeast.
Final photo of Trench PC 18 from the southwest.
View of Trench PC 18 from the north.
Trench PC 18 Catalogued
Finds from Previous Weeks
Bucchero lid finial.
Trench PF 5
Trench PC 18
Trench PC 19
Trench PC 20
Trench PC 21