Field Reports from the end of the 2000 Field Season
Trench PC 21
Margaret Woodhull, Field Supervisor
Laura Proud, Field Supervisor


Week 5 - August 5, 2000 - Margaret Woodhull:

View of Trench PC 21 from the north.

Week five brought some excitement to Trench PC 21. After cleaning back our bedrock in the central part of our trench—a never-ending process, it seems—we discovered what appears to be a complement to our "pithos pit," almost exactly 2.5 meters due east of our original one. I’m revising my thinking on these holes and am coming around to the possibility of their being post holes. They are oriented in the same direction as our phase three building and may have formed part of that complex somehow. Another exciting find for T21 was that the northern side of the enormous block that comprises our original hole has been excavated and does not appear to be bedrock as we originally expected, but instead curves under itself towards the south, in a beautifully worked curve with some suggestion of architectural use. Could this be a reused architectural block from an earlier phase of our site?

Bridget Marx drawing a level plan in the Trench PC 21 field notebook.

In the course of the last week, it has also become clear in a way that was not evident in the southern portions of the trench that our northern extension constitutes a more densely occupied area of the site than the southern part of Trench PC 21. In the course of the last week, the heavy concentration of Hellenistic ceramics and other cultural materials, e.g. iron nails, bones, burn areas, here in stratum three far outweigh the materials we found lower down.

For our final week, we’ll concentrate our efforts on clarifying our pits, the block mentioned above, and bringing down stratum three in the northern extension.


Week 5 - Laura Proud:

Laura Proud, Field Supervisor of Trench PC 21 during weeks 5 and 6.

Monday of week five was the last digging day for Margaret Woodhull and the first digging day for myself, Laura Proud, as the replacement trenchmaster.

During week 5, we have continued to focus our efforts in the far northern and southern sections of Trench PC 21, since the central portion of the trench is completely exposed bedrock which requires no further excavation other than in the bottom-most nooks and crannies.

Our first interesting find of the week was a hole aligned with the hole that was discovered last week in the central bedrock section of the trench. The two holes are approximately 2.5 meters apart, and appear to be lined up in a roughly east-west orientation in the trench. Like the first hole that we found, this second hole initially had a pile of tiles in it, which we removed down to the bedrock floor. Also like the first hole, the sides of the circular depression appear to slope inwards, and we are beginning to wonder whether these two holes were dug to support posts after all. If the posts were tapered at their bases, it is possible to imagine them set into these two holes, as the support for some kind of structure. Of course, this is all speculation at this point.

Left: two holes on the east-west axis of PC 21, one in the foreground, one across the trench in the background.
Right: closeup of the second possible post hole found in Trench PC 21.

As we continued digging in the northern end of the trench (the extension), we initially came down upon large lenses of a greyish-yellow mottled clay that we thought might just be decayed bedrock. Thus, we thought that we were very close to bedrock in this end of Trench PC 21. However, as we further explored, we discovered artifacts nestled in the clay, and so have continued to excavate in the clay (stratum 21e-1-4-1). We will keep digging in the northern end of the trench until we either come down upon something that we can definitely identify as bedrock, or until we have dug deep enough in the clay level that we can convince ourselves that we are unquestionably in sterile soil.

Probably the most exciting find of the week is a piece of bucchero that we pulled from 21e-3-2 in the northern section of the trench. This piece of bucchero is unlike anything that I have ever seen before: it has what appears to be a spout and a curved handle-like piece with a hole in it. We were extremely excited when we discovered this piece, because we have not pulled very much bucchero out of the trench up to this point.

As far as the southern end of Trench PC 21 is concerned: we have continued to excavate in stratum 3, which we believe is lying directly on top of bedrock. We have exposed bedrock in several patches of the southern end, but hopefully by the end of the week we will have pulled stratum 3 back and completely exposed bedrock there.

Since this is our final week of excavation, we are working diligently and pushing ourselves to discover all that we can about this enigmatic trench. As always, we forge heartily ahead with the digging.

Stacy McKenzie working in Trench PC 21.

Laura Proud (right) helps Jessica Hollander with her locus in Trench PC 21.

Week 6 - Laura Proud - August 2000:

Laura Proud directs her crew in measuring the scarps in
Trench PC 21 for final drawings in the field notebook.

Friday August 4th was our final day of excavation, and the members of Trench PC 21 were jubilant: we found bedrock in both the far Northern and far Southern ends of the trench! This means that we have excavated through all of the cultural levels in both ends of the trench and are down to sterile soil. Now all we have to do is UNDERSTAND the features, artifacts, and layout of the trench: a task that will be more mentally strenuous than the digging was physically strenuous.

Final day of excavation in Trench PC 21 (view from north).

Right now, my understanding of what went on in Trench PC 21 is quite muddled. I know that there are two very unusual holes in the bedrock oriented east-west in the central portion of the trench. These two features seem like they might have either been postholes or some kind of support for wooden columns. I know that there is a large area in the central portion of the trench that appears to be packing or foundation or possibly some kind of architectural feature, because it is different from the natural bedrock that we exposed in the far Northern and far Southern ends of the trench. I know that there are three other pits in the bedrock that contained collections of tile fragments. I know that we found bucchero in both the far Northern and far Southern ends of the trench, in levels very close to the bedrock. I know that we found bits of metal (a bronze ingot and other bronze) in the Northern end of the trench.

Three post holes visible in this final photo of Trench PC 21.

Post hole next to the west scarp of Trench PC 21.

Based on these bits of evidence, the story that I have pieced together for Trench PC 21 is as follows: I think that there was some kind of significant architectural feature running east-west through the trench. This feature could have been a portico with columns set into the worked bedrock, or a large defensive wall, or possibly part of some other kind of structure, supported by large posts or columns. I do not think that the other three pits in the bedrock are related to this structure, however. I just think that when the top of the hill was cleared and leveled and the debris from a destroyed structure was swept toward the edges of the hill, bits of tile and bucchero and other ceramics were deposited into the natural pits in the bedrock. Hence the concentrations of tile and ceramics in these natural pits that we discovered upon excavation.

Final photo of Trench PC 21 from the southwest.

During the final week of the excavation, we are cleaning up the trench for final photos, drawing the plans and scarps of the trench, and packing up the top of the hill as the students and staff prepare to leave Vicchio and Poggio Colla for the season. Everyone has worked extremely hard this summer, and I particularly appreciate the cooperation and support from my trench members, Jessica Hollander, Stacy McKenzie, and Bridget Marx. They took the trenchmaster transition from Margaret to myself in stride, and did their best to make me feel at home and in control. I am a very lucky, lucky trenchmaster to have been given such a great team!

Jessica Hollander cleaning bedrock and scarp for final photography.

Stacy McKenzie in the south end of Trench PC 21 mid-season.

Bridget Marx taking levels on the scarp for Laura Proud's final drawings.

T he highlight of the week was when Bridget
discovered a large sandwich in Trench PC 21.


Trench PC 21 Catalogued Finds from Previous Weeks

Two views of a bucchero spout/handle vessel fragment from Trench PC 21 on the conservators' table.

Glass bead found in Trench PC 21.


Director's Diary

Field Director's Diary

Trench PF 5

Trench PC 18

Trench PC 19

Trench PC 20

Trench PC 21

Conservator's Reports

Student Diaries