Saturday, July 7, 2012

An intense week at Gabii

The second week of the 2012 field campaign has come to a close - and it was an intense week of work and activity at Gabii. Not only were normal excavation operations in full swing - with the team accomplishing an amazing amount of work - but a steady stream of colleagues and consultants came by the site to see what the Gabii Project has been up to recently. 

In the excavation sectors, progress continues in two main areas of excavation for 2012. one sector (Area F), located on the extreme western edge of the excavation area, gives us a look at yet another city block of the ancient grid and the remains of structures therein. Area F diggers have also been learning at first hand about the site formation process at Gabii, wherein the accumulation of huge natural layers of colluvial soil have played a leading role in the post-occupation phases of the city. Digging the colluvium can be frustrating, but the chance appearance of sporadic finds carried along in these erosional events has made for some interesting discoveries. Cutting through the silt at warp speed, area F should see more structural remains in week three. In a more centrally located sector (Area D), another part of the team continues to investigate a late archaic complex that came to light in a significant way in 2011. This area, too, is working its way through the remains of abandonment, robbing, and collapse of ancient structures, hopefully in search of well-stratified layers relating to the habitation of the complex. 

Pier Matteo Barone (center) at Gabii.

Visitors were in abundance this week. Among them were project consultants, including Dr. Pier Matteo Barone (Roma Tre) who is carrying out a new campaign of ground-penetrating radar (GPR) study at Gabii, Robyn Veal (Sydney) who is studying charcoal evidence from the site, and soil micromorphologist Dr. Cristiano Nicosia (Brussels) who is on-site to study the soils themselves and the role played by soils in the site formation. We also were visited by surveyors from the University of Texas Ostia Synagogue Area excavations

Cristiano Nicosia at Gabii.
On July 4th, 2012, Gabii hosted a half-day visit by 2012 NEH Summer Seminar ("Communication, Empire, and the City of Rome") participants in a group directed by Richard Talbert (UNC-Chapel Hill) and Michael Maas (Rice). In addition to a tour of the ancient city and the Gabii Project excavation site, the seminar participants engaged in lively discussion about networks, modelling, and 3-D digital applications and their role in documenting and reconstructing ancient world view. On Friday, July 6th, 2012, David S. Potter (University of Michigan) visited Gabii after having given a talk for the field school students at the American Academy in Rome the previous evening. Also on Friday, Dr. Fabrizio Marra (University of Rome 'La Sapienza') visited Gabii. Marra is a geologist interested in the geology of central Italy and is going to be collaborating with staff member Jason Farr (Michigan) who is carrying out a Ph.D. thesis on tufo quarries at Gabii. 

NEH summer seminar participants at Gabii.

David Potter (left) visited Gabii.

Trench tours concluded week two.

All in all, a busy week. On to week three ...