Monday, November 9, 2009

Gabii Project: 2010 field program

The Gabii Project announces its 2010 field program!
The Gabii Project will again offer a field program for students and volunteers in 2010; the program will run from June 20 until July 31, 2010.  Applications will be accepted online via the project's website and the deadline for applying to the program is January 31, 2010; all qualified students are eligible to apply, not just those associated with the University of Michigan. Notifications of acceptance will be made by March 1, 2010, and accepted volunteers must submit their payment in full by March 25, 2010, in order to secure their spot.  The cost for the 6-week program, inclusive of room and board, insurance, equipment, and local transportation, will be $4,500 (USD).  Academic credit is not offered for participation in the field program.  The information below outlines some of the basic details of the field program; more complete information can be found on the project website.

  • Accommodation:
    • The Hotel Villa Mercede in Frascati, Italy, will serve as the Gabii Project's base of operations.  The team will be accommodated there and will take their meals during the week at the Balubino restaurant, while lunches will be provided on-site.
    • Volunteers will be accommodated in shared rooms (2 to 4 people per room) with a private bathroom.
    • Convenient local train service links Frascati to downtown Rome and regional buses provide other transportation options.
  • Work on-site:
    • Volunteers will work on site 7:30 am to 4:30 pm Monday through Friday.  Applicants should note that this is a labor-intensive program and be aware that working in the hot sun is to be expected.  Applicants must be in good health, have passed a recent physical examination, and provide up-to-date records of current inoculations.
    • Volunteers will work in small team supervised by experienced excavators.  Additionally, the field program will expose participants to all facets of fieldwork, including working with ceramics and other archaeological materials, environmental sampling, flotation, topography, conservation, and documentation.
    • Regular site tours will help keep all team members up to speed on the progress of excavation work.
  • Instruction:
    • The above-mentioned rotation on-site will be accompanied by various instructional opportunities from 'hands on' instruction in excavation technique to small group instruction on archaeological materials and topography.
    • The 2010 field program will include a lecture series (averaging 1 lecture per week) on topics related to the methodology field archaeology and to the archaeology of Central Italy.
    • Several weekend outings will be arranged where guided tours will be offered.  In 2009 weekend trips included the Forum Romanum and Palatine Hill as well as Ostia Antica.
  • Atmosphere and Experience:
    • The Gabii Project is a large team (75-80 people) effort.  Teamwork is the key to our success, but the working conditions can be intense.  The successful applicant will be ready to work as part of a large team and welcome the opportunity to work and learn cooperatively.
    • The combined experience of the Gabii Project’s multi-national staff offers volunteers the opportunities to learn and practice some of the latest and most cutting edge techniques of field archaeology.
For more information, please contact Prof. Jeffrey Becker, the Managing Director (gabiiproject (@)

Thursday, October 15, 2009

Gabii Project: 2010 staff recruitment

The Gabii Project is Seeking Supervisors and staff members for the 2010 field season

The Gabii Project is an international archaeological initiative focused on the excavation of the ancient Latin city of Gabii located 18 km east of Rome, Italy.  After two seasons of survey and study, a 5-year campaign of excavations began in June 2009 under the direction of Professor Nicola Terrenato of the University of Michigan.  The dates of the season for staff members are June 13 through August 7, 2010; staff members must be available for the duration of the excavation season.

We are seeking experienced excavation staff members to serve as trench supervisors and assistant trench supervisors; we are also seeking specialist staff for the field laboratory, including those with experience in illustration and conservation.  The ideal candidate will have completed a field school program and have at least one prior season of fieldwork experience.  Experience with stratigraphic excavation, Harris matrices, and GIS applications is a plus; while not a requirement, the ability to communicate in Italian would also be advantageous. 

In some cases the project will be able to subsidize the cost of room and board for staff members and, in exceptional cases, may be able to subsidize travel costs for certain staff members. Necessary equipment and daily transportation to and from the site will be provided for excavation staff.

Staff members must be in good health, have passed a recent physical examination, and submit documentation of current and up-to-date inoculations.  Staff members must also be committed to working as part of a large team and providing leadership and guidance for students in the field. Staff members must also have a current passport, valid until at least October 2010, allowing for entry into Italy.

If you are interested in submitting an application for a staff position with the Gabii Project, please send a cover letter, current curriculum vitae, and a letter of reference from someone familiar with your fieldwork experience and credentials to:

Prof. Jeffrey Becker
Managing Director, The Gabii Project
c/o Department of Classics
McMaster University
1280 Main Street West, Togo Salmon Hall 706
Hamilton, Ontario, Canada  L8S 4M2 or

The application deadline is December 1, 2009.  Electronic submissions are encouraged.  Arrangements may be made for informal interviews either at the AIA/APA meetings in Anaheim, Ca., in January 2010 or via other means.

Thursday, October 8, 2009

Gabii Project at the AIA meetings in Anaheim

There will be two Gabii-related presentations at the upcoming 2010 annual meeting of the Archaeological Institute of America in Anaheim, California.

Session 2G: Poster Session -- Thursday, January 7, 11:00 AM - 3:00 PM

"The Gabii Project 2009: The First Season of Excavation"
Anna Gallone (The Gabii Project), Marcello Mogetta (University of Michigan), Nicola Terrenato (University of Michigan) and Jeffrey A. Becker (McMaster University)

Session 1E: Pre-Roman Italy -- Thursday, January 7, 8:30 AM - 11:30 AM

"Infant Burials and Emerging Social Hierarchy in Orientalizing Latium"
Jeffrey A. Becker (McMaster University) and Jessica Nowlin (Brown University)

Thursday, July 30, 2009

A new plan for Gabii

The Gabii Project is pleased that an article detailing the results of the survey campaigns of 2007 and 2008 is due out in the October 2009 issue of the American Journal of Archaeology:

Jeffrey A. Becker, Marcello Mogetta, and Nicola Terrenato. "A new plan for an ancient Italian city: Gabii revealed". AJA 113.4 (October 2009).

Sunday, July 26, 2009

Gabii Project fifth week

The fifth week of the Gabii Project has come to an end and the majority of the team has departed from Frascati. The project is most grateful for the energy, hard work, and enthusiasm that marked the 2009 season, and thanks all of the team members for helping us to achieve so much in this first excavation season. In the coming weeks a season roundup will be posted here, so stay tuned ...

Tuesday, July 21, 2009

Gabii Project fourth week

The fourth week of fieldwork at Gabii was exceptional and hugely productive. With the overburden of colluvial silts removed in many areas, our team spent the balance of this week investigating stratified contexts, which is of course very exciting. Across the site progress has been marked not just by hard work but also by enthusiasm as staff and volunteers alike push ahead to complete work in their respective areas. In some sectors the tops of tumbled walls are coming into view, while in others the challenge remains interpreting features cut in the volcanic bedrock of Gabii. We also continue to investigate the network of streets within the urban area, since a main goal of this campaign is to begin to establish a chronological sequence for the urban grid. As week five arrives it is time to complete excavation of a number of features and work on the completion of various documentation before we can really begin to digest the results of this season.

Summer Program in Archaeology (SPA) at Gabii

The Summer Program in Archaeology at the American Academy in Rome offers graduate and advanced undergraduate students an opportunity to come to Italy to engage archaeology firsthand by means of site visits and a month of archaeological fieldwork. This season five SPA participants came to Gabii to work in the field and lab and the Gabii Project could not be happier about having had them aboard. Since the SPA attracts students from a broad spectrum of interests within Classics, Archaeology, and Mediterranean studies, the contribution the students bring is correspondingly broad. In the give and take of field archaeology, fresh and different viewpoints are extremely valuable. At Gabii this year were Catherine Baker (Cincinnati), J. Marilyn Evans (Berkeley), Duncan MacRae (Harvard), Casey Shamey (Missouri), and Miriam Tworek-Hofstetter (Texas).

Wednesday, July 15, 2009

Gabii Project team, 2009

The Gabii Project team, 2009
Front Row (l-r): A. Zarbo, J. Lipkowitz, J. Wang, A. Crawford, D. Tincu, E. St. Cyr, R. Ketelaars, K. Marks, N. McFerrin, S. Zottis, A. Thorne, F. Andreacchio. Second row: M. Deokoran, L. Temple, M. Tworek-Hofstetter, F. Herman, L. Fessler, V. Scarpellino, C. Baker, L. Di Bartolomeo, C. Canada,. A Duvall. Third row: A. Greenberg, A. Smith, A. Adelmann, M. Evans, C. Frueh, J. Toro, N. Eckert, B. Hawes, J. Farr, D. MacRae, N. Kennard, E. Robinson, B. Benson, C. Arno, J. Nowlin, L. Motta, M. Mogetta, L. Banducci, J. Becker, A. Gallone, N. Terrenato, Sandro. Fourth row: C. Connelly, A. Benner, S. Tohm, A. Conison, J. Speidel, D. Reagan, R. Whitfield, B. Roberts, E. Adkins, J. M. Harrington, L. Herring-Harrington, I. Cangemi, L. McAlpine, K. Love, A. Johnston, R. Opitz, B. Frueh, C. Monda, B. Zappaterreno. Back row: T. Brown, C. Shamey, L Johnson, B. Balco, C. Pry, R. Apostol, K. Moleen, E. Bembeneck, K. Davio, B. Buckley,

Saturday, July 11, 2009

Gabii Project outing to Ostia Antica

A large contingent of the Gabii Project visited the archaeological site of Ostia Antica today, guided by Prof. Hilary Becker (Oberlin College), Evelyn Adkins (Michigan) and Andrew Johnston (Harvard). The group was thrilled to visit the site and is grateful to the Soprintendenza per i Beni Archeologici di Ostia for according our group a gratis entry to the site. An added point of excitement was that one of our team members, Allia Benner (Dartmouth), celebrated her 21st birthday by visiting Ostia - and was properly serenaded with a birthday song (in Latin) in Ostia's forum. The ruins of Ostia provide one of the most ideal classrooms, as it were, for the study of Imperial Roman urbanism, architecture, and society. With vast tracts of well preserved architectural remains, Ostia is an excellent place to stroll and observe archaeology up close. Of particular interest are building techniques and building types, along with a host of evidence for architecture and society in Imperial Ostia. During our visit this week the group considered not only the commercial and domestic architecture, but sacred architecture as well, including Mithraea in Ostia, the Campus of the Magna Mater, the Christian basilica, and the Jewish synagogue.

Third week comes to an end ...

Again it is Saturday evening in Frascati. A number of the Gabii staff spent the day in the field, both excavating and surveying. In all, the third week of this year's campaign at Gabii was a great success, with good weather allowing significant progress at the site. In our 'Area C' we begin to see the emergence of architectural remains, and throughout we are amazed at the formation of the site of Gabii after its destruction, as an unbelievable amount of silt has accumulated over time atop the ancient layers. As these remains emerge from their silty realm, we feel we are beginning to at least glimpse some possible phases at the site, but of course it remains premature to speculate about any dates. The trajectory of Gabii's urban history is, until now, so dimly understood that in all likelihood there are many new - and possibly even unexpected - chapters to be written. So as we press forward into the fourth week of work, we have an eye on understanding what we have been working on this season as well as an eye toward inserting this new material into the overall context of Gabii

Saturday, July 4, 2009

On the way to the Forum Romanum (but nothing funny happened) ...

Today dawned hazy, and turned into a sweltering day in Rome. Nearly 40 members of the Gabii team went down to take in the sites of the Forum Romanum and Palatine Hill today, and a good time was had by all, it would seem. Jeffrey Becker and Hilary Becker pointed out salient architectural and topographical features as the group toured around. In the Forum we could check out the sculptures on view in the Curia Iulia as part of the Vespasian bimillennium show and on the Palatine we could see the recently restored wall paintings in the House of Augustus. In all, the Forum and Palatine challenge all of us in terms of archaeological viewpoint and remind us of changes in excavation strategy, not to mention the mindbendingly complex stratigraphy that inspires awe amongst diggers. We're grateful to the archaeological ministry in Rome for granting us a free entry to the archaeological area.

The challenges of week two

The second week at Gabii in the 2009 season was full of challenges. First, the celebration of a major holiday in Rome (the saints' day of Peter and Paul) kept us from working on Monday, and then torrential rains on several successive afternoons did their best to hamper us the rest of the week. One particularly rough storm on Wednesday 1 July was unbelievable - wind, hail, torrential downpours - and made such a mess of the site that we could not work the following day. We did learn that there is tremendous downslope erosion at Gabii, explaining a good deal about deposition at the site. We used Thursday to work on documentation and talk with the team about topography and GIS (thanks to the Topo team for a great presentation) and to work on practicing the Harris matrix. Friday saw us back at the site, cleaning up after the rains.

There were some positive developments this week, including good progress in environmental sampling, work on the U.S. zero finds, and the exsposure of some stratified layers, including more mysterious bedrock cuttings. So we move on to week three hoping for calmer weather and steady progress ... hopefully Iuno will allow it.

Saturday, June 27, 2009

A beautiful start to digging Gabii

After torrential rains last weekend, June 21st dawned as a beautiful day - a perfect one, in fact, for working in the field. And now, we have completed the first full week of fieldwork at Gabii. Staff and students arrived on site for an initial orientation and equipment checkout, along with a tour both of the new excavation area and other parts of Gabii that have been the focus of past excavations. During our various tours members of the group reacted to Gabii's impressive topography, as well as the extent of what was once the walled city. For 2009 a sector of the slope of the crater of Castiglione has been chosen as the focus of investigations, with three areas defined within that zone. Surprisingly, perhaps, these three areas each present a varied and different picture and, at least preliminarily, seem to represent different points in the occupational history of the site. While it is too early to speak of chronology or interpretation, it does seem safe to say that the excavation of these three sectors will offer up a new and so far relatively unknown story about Gabii's urban history. And we are so glad to have so many staff members and students here to help tell that story. prepared, and hopefully we are ready to tackle the archaeology there.

Sunday, June 14, 2009

Staff arrives at Gabii

The staff of the Gabii Project is beginning its work on site tomorrow, in preparation for the field season and the arrival on site of the full team on 22 June 2009. This week the staff faces various challenges - from the mundane chores associated with setting up work spaces and equipment to the more engaging tasks of discussing excavation and documentation methodology and the beginning of digital data collection at Gabii. We expect to have more news to share in this space very soon, so stay tuned.

Saturday, May 30, 2009

Gabi topsoil survey

As preparations for the start of excavations at Gabii have been underway, we'd like to share news of the recent survey of the topsoil layers at Gabii by the project's new friend and colleague, Stuart Elton. Stuart spent a week in Gabii and Frascati and used a metal detector to survey the topsoil layers as they were being removed to expose the main excavation area. The survey was worthwhile in the end and we thank Stuart for doing such a great job at it.

Monday, May 18, 2009

And they're off....!

Happily, work at Gabii for 2009 has begun! Since 14 May, work on site has been underway. Thus far, activities have been fairly mundane, including delimiting the entire excavation area and preparing for the installation of the perimeter fence. Once the fence is set, excavation huts and facilities will be put in place and in just a few days the first layer of top soil will be cleared.

Saturday, April 11, 2009

Summer approaches

The Gabii Project team is busily preparing for the beginning of the 2009 field season. We are fresh from stimulating discussion about Italian urbanism that took place at the 8th conference of Roman Archaeology held recently in Ann Arbor and buoyed by how much interest our colleagues have expressed in the outcomes of the geophysical survey and the anticipation for the inception of excavations in about 8 weeks' time. During the field season we will be posting regular updates to this blog, so we hope you'll keep track of our activities in the field.

Saturday, February 28, 2009

Gabii Project at the 8th Roman Archaeology Conference (RAC)

Marcello Mogetta will present a paper at the upcoming 8th Roman Archaeology Conference (RAC) that is being hosted by the University of Michigan in Ann Arbor, April 3-5, 2009. M. Mogetta's paper, in a session on current approaches to the study of urbanism in first millennium BCE Italy is entitled, ""Grid Cities": Latin Planned Urbanism and Roman Colonial Layouts".

Gabii Project at the 6th 'Convegno Lazio e Sabina'

Results of the 2007 and 2008 field campaigns at Gabii will be presented at the 6th 'Convegno Lazio e Sabina' this week in Rome, Italy. The three day conference is being hosted by the École française de Rome, the British School at Rome, and the Istituto Nazionale di Studi Romani; the conference runs March 4 through March 6, 2009.

The Gabii Project's paper, which will be presented by Nicola Terrenato, is "Urbanistica ortogonale a Gabii: risultati delle nuove prospezioni geofisiche e prospettive per il futuro" (co-authored by J. A. Becker, A. Gallone, and S. Kay).