Field Reports from
the end of the 2000 Field Season
Trench PC 21
Laura Proud, Field Supervisor
Week 5 - August 5, 2000
- Margaret Woodhull:
View of Trench PC 21 from
Week five brought some excitement to
Trench PC 21. After cleaning back our bedrock in the central
part of our trencha never-ending process, it seemswe
discovered what appears to be a complement to our "pithos
pit," almost exactly 2.5 meters due east of our original
one. Im 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, well 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
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
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
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
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
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'
Glass bead found in Trench PC 21.
Trench PF 5
Trench PC 18
Trench PC 19
Trench PC 20
Trench PC 21