Sunday, June 27, 2010

Gabii Project 2010 - reflections on the first week

The first week of 2010 fieldwork at Gabii has flown by -- and in such a quick fashion that week two is half over and we are just now composing this update! In all, the first week on-site was fantastic - the weather was good (cooler than average) and the progress in terms of work was excellent (certainly above average!). We are pleased both to see a lot of new faces on this year's team, but also to welcome back numerous familiar faces; old and new team members are bonding well together and are giving work on-site a great atmosphere.

The first day dawned a bit cool, and was sprinkled with spots of drizzle. This did not stop us from bringing everyone to the site, signing out equipment, and taking tours of our own work site and the larger area of ancient Gabii. Students saw both the temple of Iuno and the excavated area that belongs to the Soprintendenza in Rome. Inside our own area we recapped the 2009 field season by exploring the various features brought to light and also observing various new features exposed by natural erosion and also our enlargement of the excavation area. We discussed with the team this year's excavation strategy and the key points we hope to address. These include further investigation of the road system identified by geophysical survey in 2007 and 2008 and further work on architectural remains on our Area B and Area C, wherein we see Imperial phases and their post-abandonment layers and for which we hope to construct a broader narrative in terms of phases of use (and disuse).

As the week progressed, the weather warmed up decently, but was pleasant. Italy's wet spring has produced a bumper crop of wildflowers and it almost seems a shame to weed them out of the excavation area. We all spent a good deal of time this first week cleaning the site and beginning to understand the newly expanded areas A and C. This cleaning, though a bit tedious, is a great opportunity for the team to begin to gel and already signs point toward a great and productive season with a great group.

Saturday, June 5, 2010

Pre-season preparations for the 2010 season

This week has been a busy one on the ground here in Italy as preparations for the 2010 excavation campaign are in full swing. The list of chores is long - from purchasing supplies, reorganizing the logistics area, cleaning - but each task completed brings us closer to the beginning of what promises to be an exciting season in the field. During the last few days we have been expanding the limits of two of our excavation areas with the careful help of a mechanical digger and a dump truck. By scraping away some topsoil the directors are able to verify the subsurface situation in terms of preserved archaeology and, thus far, the indications of some interesting new features are beginning to emerge. We are looking forward to the arrival of the field staff on 13 June - just more than one week from today!