Field Reports from
the end of the 1999 Field Season
TRENCHES PC 16 & 17
Richard R. Marius
Report 4: July 23
Richard Marius contemplates
walls revealed in Trench PC 17.
Well, with our last week of excavation
underway, it is amazing to realize just how fast six weeks can
go. This Friday marks the end of our 1999 field season. Next
week is reserved for final drawings and backfill, so it is official
crunch time at Poggio Colla. Since last week, some very interesting
things have occurred.
Now that Loci 1 and 2 are being excavated as one locus, it is
much easier to view both loci as one entire locus. Since the
trench was twice as large, it took us twice as long to make one
pass. For a few days we excavated the last pass of Stratum 2.
Before we could excavate the pass of 17-1-2-4, all at once, we
had to remove our first feature of our trench, which was a circular
packing of pithoi, tile, stone and ceramic. This feature was
used during the third building phase as a sort of floor rubble
packing. It actually rested on top of our second phase foundation
wall blocks, only 20 centimeters away from the third phase foundation
walls. After excavating the feature, we realized that not all
of the pieces of pithoi belong to the same pithos. Since there
was tile, ceramic and stone mixed in with the pithoi sherds,
we believed that we were not looking at a collapsed pithoi. Since
we also did not find any seeds or carbon pockets imbedded within
the feature, we came to the conclusion that the pithoi sherds
were used as a sort of rubble packing as well as other ceramic
sherds, tile and stone.
View of PC 17 from the
east early in the fourth week.
Excavating 17-1-2-4, we did not find
that much ceramic and the ceramic that we did find tended to
be of coarseware origin. We continued to find large amounts of
tile, which makes sense since we are dealing with a rubble floor
packing. Within this pass, three more larger, well cut blocks
associated with the second phase foundation wall were found in
what was originally called Locus 2. One interesting block, measuring
nearly one meter in length, seems to have been reused from the
first phase foundation. Due to its large size and well executed
craftsmanship, we think it dates to the first phase here at Poggio
Finishing the pass of 17-1-2-4 and starting
the pass of 17-1-3-1, it looks as though the third phase foundation
wall does continue onward, without a corner in sight. Oddly,
the second phase foundation blocks stop suddenly, also without
any sign of a corner. Perhaps, the corner was moved at one time
and reused during the third phase, we just dont know.
Now that we are in the pass of 17-1-3-2, we know now that the
third phase foundation wall continues along the southern side
of the trench and there is a lot of packing jammed between the
two foundation walls. Along with this packing we have found 16
loom weights and 3 rocchette, which were used for weaving. It
is interesting to find so many loom weights used as a rubble
packing. Were these loom weights rejects, or did they function
as something other than just loom weights? There is always the
possibility that these may not be loom weights at all. With a
few days left, we hope to answer some of our questions, but in
the process, others shall surface.
Stay tuned for further reports.
Chip Ransler and Marjon
Nijenhuis in the west end of Trench PC 17.
Report 5: July 30
Well, the last week is upon us here at
Poggio Colla. It has been a great year for myself and all of
the students. Marjon, Laura and Chip have been excellent excavators
this year for Trenches 16 and 17. Even Marjon, after having cut
her finger preparing the lunch, came back the next day and three
stitches later with digging enthusiasm. Since only two days were
reserved for excavation last week there have not been any major
discoveries since last weeks report. For the remainder
of this week, the days are filled with drawing the scarps and
backfilling the trenches.
Since last weeks report, we finished
our entire pass of 17-1-3-2. Tile and coarseware ceramic continued
to surface and even a few more loom weights were discovered.
At the end of our last pass of Stratum 3, we came to the darker
greyish stratum we call Stratum 4. Since time was against us,
we decided to focus our attention on the interior of the second
phase foundation blocks. In doing so, we called the area north
of the second phase foundation blocks Locus 3.
Now that we were upon Stratum 4, we decided
to make a five centimeter pass of this stratum associated with
the earlier phase of Poggio Colla. After a few trowel turns within
this pass, pieces of bronze slag were found thoughout this darker
grayish soil layer. Few ceramic pieces were found and those that
were unearthed were mostly of fineware origin. Also within this
stratum, far fewer pieces of tile were discovered.
View of Trench PC 17 from
the east during week five.
Richard Marius, Marjon Nijenhuis, Christiane Thompson,
and Chip Ransler clean exposed walls for photography of this
Considering the wall foundations, we
now know that the second phase blocks seem to stop their eastward
direction. One interesting thing found was a large mudbrick that
continues into the eastern scarp. Perhaps we are dealing with
the same situation that occurred on the western side of the trench.
Maybe one of these larger second phase blocks were removed, but
then a sort of rubble packing along with mudbrick was used to
fill the void.
Two pieces of the bronze that were unearthed
are very interesting. One seems to be an early Archaic fibula
used for clothing, very similar to a modern day broach. The other
was determined to be a nail head. Both of the pieces are in fairly
good shape, which is nice considering how hard our soil is on
Unfortunately, we were unable to make
it to bedrock this year in Trench 17, but the fact that we now
know that the third phase and second phase wall foundations continue,
without a corner, answers many questions as well as suggests
Overall, I am very happy with this field
season. Knowing that the dimensions for our third phase building
are larger than once anticipated makes us very excited because
we are now dealing with an immense building up on the hilltop.
Hopefully next year we will continue westward and perhaps find
a third corner to our structure. Once again, I thank all the
students who helped out this field season. Marjon, Laura and
Chip definitely deserve high-fives. Thank you and see you next
Final view of Trench PC
17 from the east.
Final view of Trench PC
17 from the north.
Final view of Trench PC
17 from the west.
Field Reports from the
end of the 1999 Field Season
Trench PC 13
Trench PC 14
Trench PC 15
Trench PC 18
Trenches PF 2 &
After December 2000, see the 1999
Annual Report for the season summary by Professor Gregory