Day 1: Home Stretch

Jo:

The first day of the home stretch: I woke up early since I was part of the breakfast setup and cleanup crew this week. Benefiting from the early wake up, I had a full meal before I headed out to the steamy dig.

The sun greeted us this morning, ironically shining down on our dull faces. By this point of the season, we had gotten tired of the heat and although delighted that we were able to dig, we were weary of the sunburns and sweaty trenches.

Battling the heat, trench C middle continued layering off locus 686, now void of large rocks and craters. We used the hand pick, the large pick, and the handy dandy trowel to complete the job. After we finished, we cleaned and were told by Silvia and Serena to complete another pass (layer off once more).

In the process of digging, we discovered several pieces of pottery (we only kept the diagnostic pieces—rims, bases, handles, etc.), medieval glass, pan and cover tiles, tesserae, and colorful fresco.

After layering off the ground, we began working on the three walls that surrounded the ground. Two of the walls, the north and the west, were well cleaned and had clear rock imprints. However, the east wall wasn’t as clean-cut. Mortar and soil covered the rocks, a destruction that most likely resulted from a collapse. To clean up all three the walls, we used trowels to pick away at the soil hinged between each rock. By doing so, we made it easier for the non-archaeologist viewer to see the large rocks of the wall.

After lunch, we continued cleaning the wall. The production did slow down, since the temperature and weariness were increasing. At the end of the afternoon, we heard rumblings of thunder and decided to tarp the entire site. It was the final week, and we did not want to risk dampening and watering the soil. It was impossible to work in such soil conditions, since either the mud was too sticky, or too easy to remove (which meant artifacts were lost). Plus, no one wants worms!

After the dig day, I joined a group of five to help Darlene and Professor George bring up boxes of artifacts up to the Cavita 254. Because it was near the end of the season, it was important to keep the finds in a safe place—the cave.

In this final week of the excavation, I continue reminding myself how great of an opportunity and how lucky of a student I am to be part of “Dig Umbria.” Although my muscles have grown sore and my head distracted by the heat, I can assure you that I will make the most of these last couple days. Until tomorrow, VALE!

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