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.