Day 3: Final Photos


My final day taking pictures in the photography lab began and ended with a box of Etruscan pottery shards and tile pieces, all discovered in Cavita 254. I learned that in the year 264 B.C., the Etruscans were driven out by the Romans from the modern city of Orvieto, so all of the artifacts found were dated to be earlier than then.

I can still remember on the first day of photography lab, I was confused and unknowing of all the tips and tricks required to take a clear and readable picture. After hours of photo taking during the past three weeks, I know I’ve learned so much. First off, each artifact has a name. For instance, one artifact I photographed today was 14A15674. “14” marked the year, 2014. “A” marked the location, so region A in Cavita 254. “15674” marked how many artifacts were found in 2014, in region A, so 15673. This name was written with black, blue, or white ink (depending on the color of the artifact) on nail polish (so there was an easy location to write) in an usually visible location. It was vital to have this name in the first photo.

Sometimes, this name is extremely difficult to read. I saw several today that had blank ink on a black surface, and only after multiple iterations of putting my flashlight on it did I figure out what the numbers were. Nonetheless, the importance of the name is that without it, the artifact’s photographs cannot be matched to the record. Thus, the photos become of no use, since researchers cannot reach them.

After making sure the name is in the first picture, it is important to photograph all possible angles of the artifact. If it is a triangle shard, the process is fairly simple. Rotating it about its side, and then flipping it over, then rotating about it sides again does the trick. Now, it gets a bit more complicated if you attempt to photograph a pot handle. Not only is balancing the handle on its base difficult, but documenting every single angle is also a task.

While completing both of these essential objectives, you have to consider the lighting as well. I was given four lamps today, and the placement of these lamps determined how well an artifact was pictured. I usually put two lamps near the back end of my station and two shining directly at the artifact from the right and left sides. The placement does depend with each artifact, however.

After making sure these three things were done correctly for over 1100 pictures today, I was mentally exhausted. I had documented over 150 artifacts in just about eight hours.

It was nice to understand the importance of my work, though, since I know researchers will be thankful that I paid attention to close details in respect to lighting, the names, and the angles.

While I was absent from the middle, several significant hypotheses were made. In trench C Central, a second part of a larger piece of architectural terracotta was discovered, which further gave evidence that the piece depicted Dionysus. This was extremely interesting, since it might imply that the site was a temple for Dionysus (or Apollo, since often Dionysus was depicted with Apollo). A temple for Dionysus is something very rare, and we can only wait until next season to find out if we have a gem in our hands.

Another discovery made happened in trench A, where the well was dug down 1.2 meters. Although they have yet to reach the bottom, Will predicts that the well could possibly be up to 2 meters deep. This is another question left to be answered for next season.

Unfortunately, unlike planned, I will not be going to Crocifisso del Tufo tomorrow, since Silvia, the leader of our portion of the site, will be absent. However, I will be measuring inscriptions tomorrow in the photography lab. Ciao!


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