Field Reports from
the end of the 1999 Field Season
TRENCH PC 15
Report 4: July 23
Field Supervisor Sarah Kupperberg
Assistant Field Supervisor Robert Vander Poppen.
As we near the end of the field season
in Trench 15, we find ourselves much closer to being able to
answer the questions with which we began excavation: what was
the chronology of human activity on the site, and how do the
architectural features we have discovered relate to that sequence
In the past week, we have made our way
through Stratum 3, the thick layer of earth which represents
the collapse of the second phase of construction on Poggio Colla
and the preparation for a subsequent rebuilding, and we have
begun to excavate Stratum 4, a layer with which we associate
the second phase of human occupation on the site. Stratum 3 lies
just overtop of the Phase 2 wall foundations in Trench 15 and
contains an abundance of architectural debris, such as roof tile,
stone rubble, and mud brick. The foundations of the third phase
of construction lie in Stratum 2, just above the layer of architectural
debris. Stratum 3 also contains a lot of pottery, but no complete
vessels. Even a smashed pithos we discovered in association with
the seeds it once contained was not complete. All of this indicates
that after some destructive event, and a partial collapse of
the structure whose exterior we have been excavating, a movement
of earth around the exterior occurred for the purpose of creating
a level building surface.
Assistant Field Supervisor
Robert Vander Poppen
triangulating a find in Trench PC 15.
The coin which we found last week in
Trench 15 has been identified as belonging to the middle of the
3rd century BC. This evidence provides a Hellenistic date for
our Phase 2, the second period of occupation and construction.
Once we began excavating in Stratum 4, we found more evidence
for this attributed date. We have found pottery which can be
dated confidently to the Hellenistic period and is strikingly
similar to fabrics and forms found in the Podere Funghi, the
"Field of Dreams". We also found the top of a very
large block which is out of alignment with our Phase 2 and 3
wall foundations but is almost in line with Phase 1 blocks found
in Trench 8.
Sarah Kupperberg helps
volunteer Jennifer Freidel excavate a small bronze object.
View of Trench PC 15 from
the west showing Randi Graham and
Sarah Kupperberg removing an artifact next to the Phase II/III
Report 5: July 30
We are closing excavations in Trench
15 for the 1999 field season with many questions answered, and
with the expectation of learning much more from this trench in
In the past week, we have taken the whole
trench down to the bottom of Stratum 4, the very dark layer of
earth which we believe represents the period of occupation associated
with the second phase of architecture on the site. In the eastern
portion of the trench, Stratum 4 lies just overtop of a very
large worked stone. This stone appears to be cut into bedrock
and is approximately in line with large worked stones from Trench
8 and Trench 3 which have both been identified with the first
architectural period on Poggio Colla. We also found two fragments
of beautiful stamped bucchero lying in the top of Stratum 4,
and in close association with our supposed Phase 1 block. In
the western portion of the trench, Stratum 4 dives down to a
depth of almost 1.50 meters. In this pit, which follows the natural
undulations of bedrock and may be a convenient trash deposit,
we found an abundance of very fine, and often incised, bucchero.
The exceptional pottery which has emerged
both from this deep pit and from the top of our Phase 1 block
seems to be Late Archaic in date. It does not appear to be in
situ, but has perhaps been shifted and moved around in an attempt
to create a level surface for building on the hilltop. Our recent
finds contribute to our understanding of the sequence of events
at Poggio Colla in the following way: the evidence from Trench
15 suggests that, following the initial phase of Archaic occupation
on the site, a destructive event took place. The debris from
this destruction was smoothed out, over the top of the Phase
1 wall foundations, to create a surface for rebuilding. Another
period of occupation and construction ensued, probably early
Hellenistic in date, and was destroyed in a catastrophic burning
event. The debris from this event, and from the resulting architectural
collapse, was again leveled off for yet another period of activity.
This is my version of the basic outline
of events as I see it, after another season of excavation. Im
sure my ideas will change and progress with further evaluation,
and hopefully our work this summer will contribute to the overall
picture. Thanks for reading about our adventures, and well
see you next year!
Final view of Trench PC
15 from the east.
Final view of Trench PC
15 from the north.
Final view of Trench PC
15 from the west.
Exhausted Sunday worker Hallie Falquet sleeps to the right.
Field Reports from the
end of the 1999 Field Season
Trench PC 13
Trench PC 14
Trenches PC 16 &
Trench PC 18
Trenches PF 2 &
After December 2000, see the 1999
Annual Report for the season summary by Professor Gregory