Thank you to PEA Communications for posting a link to our blog on the exeter.edu website. We truly appreciate the support that we have received from both the Classics department and the Exeter community. Special thanks to Magister Unger for speaking to Communications, and to Mike Catano for writing an article for Lion’s Eye.
Now on to the day’s report: The weather report read over 80 degrees and sunny today. As expected from the Orvieto weather (its sporadic nature can compare to that of New England), although the heat was evident and persistent, teasers of rain and thunderstorms scraped against the Umbria sky. Around 12:00 P.M., a roar of thunder resounded over us, and immediately, we stopped what we were doing and began to tarp our site in fear of drenched mud. Despite the scare, the sky cleared up and droplets of rain hit our hats every few hours. However, the sun was out and the heat was strong. Short sleeves, sun hats, and sunscreen were essential.
During the wild weather, I returned to trench C Central after a break yesterday. According to Keenan, yesterday, we concluded that rather than ridding locus 662 entirely, we would clear up the ground in hopes of finding a rocky pattern. Since much of the ground was threaded with inclusion rocks, the hope was the entire floor and locus would look alike. Although tedious, it was an important job that required us to diligently dig away at the ground, even with the sun staring at our backs.
What made the dig even more difficult was the lack of finds. In contrast to yesterday’s remarkable discoveries, today brought forth two small pieces of fresco. Admittedly, they were beautiful pieces—one was red and the other green and red. We named the green and red fresco piece emerald ruby (a very scientific term).
While our trench’s endeavors weren’t as exciting, trench A made too immense discoveries today. Both of them being coins, we awaited tonight’s dinner’s dessert. More importantly, however, the coins further advanced our knowledge of the time period of our site. Because there were visible inscriptions on the coins, we will be able to identify which Roman time period the site was utilized in, and hopefully, help conclude what the site was used for.
After dinner cleanup, I joined Bliss to watch the big Euro game: Germany vs. Poland. Perhaps it is the fact that I am in Europe, but I am beginning to really enjoy watching soccer.
Now that I have really settled into a routine, I feel as if this week has gone by much quicker and the sudden realization that I only have two more weeks here has hit me. This is yet another reminder to enjoy this amazing opportunity I have in Umbria to walk in the same steps as the ancient Romans—and Etruscans—once did. Awaiting for tomorrow, I know these next two weeks will bring about even more realizations.
First of all: thank you to the PEA Communications Office for featuring this blog on the Exeter website. It’s such a great honor and I’m so happy that you deem our writing worthy. We’re also quite eager to share our experiences with as many people as possible and draw potential applicants interested in classics to our school and have accomplished both now.
I’ve really fallen into the second week doldrums here, as today went exactly the same as yesterday. Wake up at 7, get in the van at 7:30, start working at 8—blah blah blah. Today’s work was like all week’s: we were working, in Trench C, on locus 512. It was hot again, the locus was dry and hard to distinguish, except this time my hand were calloused so it was even harder to use the trowel. We accentuated the collapse and chunks of cocciopesto all morning and sweeped away the dust. Although this work is tough and repetitive, I know that it is for good purpose and will pay off soon. On the brighter side, I found six mosaic pieces intact in the dirt—which indicate that the interior of the collapsed room might be covered with wall or floor mosaic. After nearly a whole day in C I moved to Trench A for the last hour of the afternoon and worked on helping to trowel and sweep an old road. The work there, while not easy, was a welcome relief from the “cocciopesto vomit” of C North and I enjoyed the change in locale. Sadly, we did not work on inscriptions today—our work in that sphere will recommence Monday afternoon.
Because today marks essentially the halfway point of my stay in Orvieto, I would like the time to reflect on my experience so far. Although the accommodations have been somewhat spartan, to use a classical reference, and although my sleep levels have been almost 333-era low, I’ve thoroughly enjoyed my stay in Italy. Archaeology, while not exactly what I envisioned, has been a very interesting, albeit difficult, subject and I have come to appreciate the work archaeologists have, and continue to, accomplished after witnessing for myself how tedious trench work can be. It’s a much more exact science than I expected, completely unlike the Indiana Jones-type method I always imagined as a child. Although I can probably say with confidence that I will not be an archaeologist, I’ve really learnt a lot not only about archaeology but also myself—the experience has really made me realize my immense passion for linguistics and classics and has allowed me to define my interests more clearly. To close my post in the same way I began, I’m so thankful for the Exeter Classics Department for financing our participation in this project and I look forward to a fruitful second half!