Stay up-to-date with daily blogs from students currently undertaking the RD Milns International Museum Internship and Material Culture Field School (ANCH2900) in Italy from January to February 2019.

Students are working primarily on the finds from the Etrusco-Roman site of Rusellae (Roselle). They are helping to date the so-called ‘Baths of Hadrian’ as part of a larger project looking at the relationship between the urban settlement of Rusellae and the rural site of Alberese with its workshops and temple area.

Monday 14 January

Our first day as participants of the Alberese Project was a wonderful experience, the background of the late antiquity, the middle ages and the relevance to Italian archaeology was highly useful especially in conjunction with learning the background of the region we will be conducting study in. All this has vastly improved any knowledge we had previously and has brought much anticipation to the group for the future inclusion in this project. This excitement was then further enhanced along with our curiosities with the overview of the project and the beginnings of the excavations of the baths at the Roselle site. It was interesting learning the background of Italy, particularly the impact of the Lombard’s from Scandinavia, as they are a topic which was previously unexplored and unknown, especially their impact and present in relation to the sites of the Alberese project. It was also an interesting topic, regarding the impact and the presence of castles, particularly their important function as security and protection of the cities from the 4th- 7th centuries. It was not realised how much impact the presence of castles had in the northern cities and even how much of a presence they had during this period.

All this background was great anticipation for the introduction into the site of Roselle, which soon become of much interest mainly due to how different it is, as well as the unexplained questions it created, allowing for a variety of hypotheses to develop which may or may not be present at the end of our participation in the Alberese project. Of was the public baths, in an area of a domus, this dual role of the building created many questions within the group. Of interest, is how much of these public baths would have been incorporated into the domus, also the fact that this is the only building commissioned by an emperor on the site of a domus creates vast interest in the role the upper-class family living in it may have played in such an important site at Roselle. There was also an interesting fact about the deceased found in the cemeteries surrounding the site, in that the people living there all seem to be in good condition health wise, which is particularly surprising in our line of enquiry as this is something we are not using to seeing. in conclusion our group is very excited and privileged to be participating in this project and to explore the findings that will be found at the Roselle site.

Emily B

Tuesday 15 January

On day two of the Alberese Archaeological Project we were introduced to numismatics by Dr. Massimo de Benetti. We learned that coins are effectively ‘windows to the past’ and can provide useful information pertaining to minting techniques, historical events, and economic changes. When found in an archaeological context, coins can also inform us of site chronology and the breadth and extent of monetary circulation. 

We commenced the day by discussing the production of ancient coins. We learned that although molds and casts were used in coin production, a method known as ‘striking’ was preferred. This method involved inserting a blank coin between two dies (stamps). By striking the coin on an anvil with a hammer, the engraved surface of the die was transferred to the coin.

Alongside addressing their production, we also examined the presence of coins in the local archaeological record. Over the years, the Alberese Archaeological Project has uncovered over one thousand coins. The majority of these come from the river port area and most date to the Roman Imperial Period. 

Dr. Massimo de Benetti also informed us on how to read, identify, and classify ancient coins. To do so, one must first identify the coin’s denomination. A denomination identifies the monetary value. By recognising it, one can potentially assign an approximate date and location to a specific coin. 

As such, numismatics is integral and relevant to our study of the ancient sites in Grosseto. We look forward to applying this newfound knowledge to the remainder of the Alberese Archaeological Project.

Channon B

Wednesday 16 January

Day three with the Alberese Archaeological Project saw us having a more in-depth look into numismatics. Archaeologists have found c. 500 coins in Roselle, most originating from the Imperial and Republican ages. Very few coins survive from the Medieval age, as the administrative centre moved from Roselle, leaving the area mostly abandoned.

Armed with this knowledge we visited the Museo Archeologico e d’Arte della Maremma to handle the coins that we had been studying. The first coin was an Etruscan coin from the main mint, Populonia, and it depicts a face and two X’s to indicate its value. Surprisingly, Etruscan coins only have an image on one side of the coin, which makes for an artefact that is different from our contemporary perception of a coin. We also discovered that coins have been coming in a variety of shapes since antiquity, as evidenced by the 3rd C BCE oval-shaped Etruscan coin that we found.

During our lectures we have learnt about the various types of coin hoards common in antiquity and it was at Museo Archeologico e d’Arte della Maremma that we finally got to analyse a hoard in person. This coin hoard contained eighteen silver coins from the Republican era, which were discovered in a group of rocks. Upon closer inspection these coins depicted Roman gods and goddesses, like Mercury, the messenger god, identified by his winged helmet.

After our museum visit, we had a chance to practice reading coins on our own, a very difficult but exciting prospect. First, we had a look at the effects of bronze disease on coins and discussed the numerous restorations to these coins required to maintain their integrity. Again, many of the coins we inspected came from the Republican period. One such coin was a silver coin with Jupiter wearing a laurel wreath on the obverse and Victory with a soldier on the reverse.

All of us were deeply fascinated with this close up look at Roman coinage and very thankful to Massimo De Benetti and the Alberese Archaeological Project for organising these lessons and workshops. We all now have greater understanding and appreciation for ancient coins.

Josie C-W

Thursday 17 January

Today we had a wonderful tour around the Arcaeological Museum of Grosseto. We were shown around by Matteo and Elena who provided us with an abundance of information on the archaeological finds from Roselle and from Vetulonia ranging from the Villanovan era to the middle ages.

The museum layout was very well done with it being set out chronologically. This was clear in the museum with each room identified in their respective periods from Etruscan archaeology at the start and the late antiquity and middle ages period at the end. The Etruscan cabinets showed pre-historic pottery and finds from the 10th to the 7th century B.C that indicated Roselle was an Etruscan town from the 7th century. Moreover, the bucchero found in the forum at Roselle indicates that the buildings in the area were of public and religious contexts because of the nature of the finds. For example, cups are interpreted as votive offerings.

Antefixes that were found were thought to be part of a temple in the forum and is dated to 6th and 5th centuries B.C. Near the back of the first level was evidence relating to Hadrian’s baths a beautiful reconstruction of the baths is also seen in the back. (See fig. 2). Interestingly, the late antiquity and medieval rooms displayed evidence of christianisation with a lot of Christian motifs found in the area.

The second floor was dedicated to the Villanovan era, a civilization that were the predecessors of the Etruscans. The evidence showed a society rich in resources and culture. There is also evidence that suggested a dramatic cultural shift in their society , as seen in their language and funerary practices. This is indicative of trade, commerce and various other links with Greek civilization.

The museum’s use of ‘story-telling’ is quite comprehensive in that they use visual aids and clear labels to help identify each item along with their context although this was directed at a more local audience because the labels were in Italian. The museum also makes efforts to engage with the community for educational purposes. As such they have school programs for young children to get involved and interested with archaeology. The museum app helps patrons further gain understanding about the layout of the rooms and is very helpful. Overall, the museum was great in presentation and information.

Melissa D

Friday 18 January

Today was the much anticipated site visit of Roselle Archaeological Park. We have been learning about the site and its finds since our first day in Grosseto. This visit had been delayed due to weather, however the extra time was filled by a visit to the Archaeological Museum of Grosseto. This turn of events, I believe, was in our favour since today turned out to have some of the best weather that we have had since we arrived in Italy, and we were able to gain even more knowledge about our destination from the Museum, in particular about the layout of the site.

So, we all piled into cars and drove up to the park. Here, we were formally introduced to some of the assistant instructors that would accompany us in future excursions. Aside from the ever-present Matteo, there was Julia, an anthropologist; Paula, an art historian; and Kiara, an archaeologist from the Archaeological Museum of Grosseto. For our tour, we were able to enter the site along the ancient road leading to the site, which has been repaved multiple times, the last time being in the late antique period. This road led us up to the centre of ancient Roselle with its Roman forum, domus and bath areas. This area had been visited repeatedly over the years as part of grand tours but was not excavated until the early twentieth century. These early excavations were not conducted using the methods used today, and so a lot stratigraphical information has been lost and the finds of later periods, especially from late antiquity and medieval periods. However, the more recent excavations attempts to better preserve the relationships between the different eras and show how the site changes with them. This is especially evident in the excavation of the two Etruscan houses under the Roman forum. This same ‘trench’ also shows that there was two layers of fora, a lower one from the Republican period and a higher from the later Imperial period.

Matteo guided us through the site explaining what areas we were looking at so that we could connect them with the lecture and museum tour that we have attended this week. After seeing the forum and the buildings associated with it, such as the ‘House of Mosaics’, we viewed the imperial baths before moving up to the amphitheatre. After “testing” - mucking about - with the acoustics of the amphitheatre, we then went to the site of the ‘Impluvium House’, before moving on to the great walls of Etruscan Roselle. This concluded our tour of the archaeological site. This visit gave us context to the subjects we have and will be studying over our time at Grosseto.

Madde F

 

Monday 21 January

Today marked the beginning of Week 2 – Pottery!

The day commenced with a fantastic introduction to pottery by Dr Massimo Brando, in which we were introduced to the many different types of pottery found in the Alberese excavations, particularly table wares, lamps, transport amphorae, and coarse cook wares. In doing so, we discovered just how much information we can learn from pottery – chronology, economics, society, culture, and technology. Who knew that such a small piece of baked clay could teach us so much about ancient Roman society?

During Dr Brando’s lecture, we were introduced to a wide variety of pottery types, including Italian sigillata, African red slip, and lead-glazed wares. We learnt how economic processes meant the production of pottery shifted from Italy to Africa in the first century AD because it was cheaper, and how workshops stamped their products for quality control. We also looked at the use and reuse of amphorae in antiquity, and discovered that “Reduce, Reuse, Re-cycle” existed even in Late Antiquity!

After the lecture, it was time to get down to business and have a go at classifying some Italian sigillata pottery from the excavation at Roselle.

With the help of various concordances and Dr Brando’s seemingly never-ending knowledge, we were able to identify and classify a few sherds of pottery by matching the sherds’ shapes and stamps with images in the Corpus Vasorum Arretinorum and the Conspectus. Though we’re only beginners, we’re keen to keep improving and we’re excited to see what tomorrow will bring!

Tiffany H

Tuesday 22 January

Today at the Alberese project, we continued to identify the fragments that we were given yesterday, however today we were slightly more prepared with our copies of the concordance for easier and more streamlined identification. There were still many questions and frequent calls for Dr. Massimo Brando (Massimo) for confirmation and clarification, however we soon started to gain more confidence in our deductions.

After some necessary translations from the concordance that featured German, French, and Italian, we had identified, classed, and dated our allocated fragments and we were ready to begin the process of cataloguing them. This quickly became a group discussion as we strived to remember the meanings of all of the categories and what aspects of our knowledge belonged where. As we completed them, we placed each collection of fragments to the side, before taking them up to Massimo for approval of our first attempts at categorising pottery.

Our second round of identifying pottery was much more difficult as our fragment pieces were all plain ware pottery! This made classifying and identifying the fragments into specific object types almost impossible for the newly trained, so we stuck to identifying what our fragments were from; a wall, or the rim for example.

Whilst intense, today's class was extremely interesting and taught us many practical skills of identifying pottery and how to potentially catalogue it. I believe today's lesson can be summed up by an interaction with Massimo and one of the other students;

'Should we label this as a wall of a fragmentary wall?'

'Don't be masochistic'

Georgina J

Wednesday 23 January

Today on Wednesday 23rd of January, the ANCH2900 class analysed and catalogued pottery extracted from the Rosellae Archaeological Park. The pottery analysed varied from plainware, black glazed and bucchero, predominantly from the time period of 3rd c. BC to 1st c. AD. Through doing such cataloguing, we have learnt that an eye for detail is the most important thing, and that the smallest mark or dent in the pottery can significantly change possibilities of what kind of item it came from. Being our third day of this workshop, we were more efficient and getting better at identifying the pottery shards. Some difficulties remained however, such as when we sometimes tried to identify fragments that were unidentifiable as a result of their size or lack of features. This was usually in the case of wall fragments, which had no identifiable features. The presence of a lip or foot made it possible to determine the type of fragment, with the use of the pdf. Books provided. From doing this, the fragments can then be dated down to the century, which assists in building the contextual chronology of the site or layer where it was found. We feel that we have learned a lot from this workshop, and are very grateful for the opportunity to take part, as now we have a better understanding and appreciation that usually goes unpublished. 

Heather M 
 

Thursday 24 January

Today, our group visited the medieval hilltop town of Massa Marittima to complement our studies in archaeological laboratory work and museology. We began our day with a walk through the town square to the Archaeological Museum of Massa Marittima, a museum dedicated to the Prehistory and Etruscan history of the region, curated in a historic building. Matteo, an archaeologist provided a tour for the visit, pointing out the most important artefact in the museum, a Copper Age anthropomorphous stele of Vado all’Arancio, many of which have been found over all over Europe.

We found this particularly interesting in combination with many artefacts found in nearby Etruscan tombs and the use of models alongside artefacts to demonstrate their use (e.g. stone tools) to visitors. We then visited the Cathedral of Saint Cerbonius, the patron saint of the town, a beautiful place of worship with much significance for the town. This was followed by a stroll through the many streets, experiencing a windy winter day as well as a much-deserved hot chocolate while a few brave souls ventured to the town’s hilltop tower during forceful winds.

Our warm re-fuel was followed by a visit to the Museum of Sacred Art which houses much of the cathedral’s relics, past artworks and portions of its architecture. Paola, an art historian, provided a tour of the museum, providing insight into the most significant works, many of which depict Saint Peter, also a significant saint for the town. We enjoyed the museum’s elegant exhibits and our visit was made exceptional by our meeting the curator who provided us with a complimentary copy of the Guide to the Museums of Maremma, an invaluable travel and educational resource.

All in all, our field trip to Massa Marittima was an exciting and insightful day, invaluable to our university experience and education.

Allie S

Friday 25 January

Today we were back in the labs after a fantastic field trip yesterday and some interesting pottery classifying workshops earlier in the week with Dr Massimo Brando, who was our guide while we visited the Colosseum and the Forum in Rome. Today was all about drawing the pottery fragments that we classified earlier in the week. We began the day with a short lecture from Massimo, who showed us all the steps we would use to draw our pottery fragments.

The first step is obviously to identify the type of fragment you have – in our case we had rims or feet of various vessels. Then, Massimo taught us to find the diameter of the whole vessel using our tiny fragments and a graph or a complicated geometric equation. Needless to say, most of us found it much easier to use the graph, unless we had really tiny fragments, in which case we asked a friend for some help. The next dimension we needed was the height of our fragments, which was occasionally challenging, due to the way they were broken. Then, we learned to use the calipers to measure the thickness of our fragments, taking care to note where the thickness differed on the fragments, to make sure that we would be able to use the pottery combs correctly when we needed to. The next step was to find the orientation of the fragment by placing the flat part of the rim or foot on the table, which I found very difficult with one of my pieces, as it had a rounded rim.

Now we were ready to use the pottery combs to find the shape of our fragments to trace, which was an interesting experience for me, as I didn’t quite get the orientation right on my first two pieces, so I ended up with the completely wrong angle and had to start again (like most others as well!). All in all, it was an interesting experience and we would all like to thank Massimo one more time for his patience and wisdom – we’ve had another wonderful week here in Grosseto and are looking forward to next week!

Catherine S

Monday 28 January

For class today we had Dr. Valentina Pica give us an introduction to ‘Small Finds,’ in which were focused on Roselle. ‘Small Finds’ are objects that are of numerous functions and materials which are found in archaeological excavations. These small finds can either give cultural or economic information. To find out the classification of the object, you first have to look at the material. That way it is easier to draw objects and search for a comparison and to create a typology. Small metal (eg iron and bronze) objects include roof nails, wall nails and nails of small dimensions for different uses, bronze studs, rivets, iron/bronze clamps, or other metal objects for fastening and fitting, keys, lock-bolts. There are also objects for personal adornment or dress, brooches (fibulae) and pins (for the hair - conical, spherical, cuboid or decorated heads).

Other objects include textiles, everyday life, toilet, surgical or pharmaceutical instruments, weighing, measuring, steelyards, furniture, games, tools, fishing hooks and lead weights for nets. Beyond scrap finds, metal workshops can be detected or confirmed by the presence of ingots; raw materials to be processed or disposed of by selling. In the case of via Sacchi, Roma – there were scraps of a bone workshop in which the analysis of the material made it possible to distinguish the different processing stages that go from the semi-finished bone element to the final product. More interesting finds include glass objects and beads which are often personal ornaments (jewellery) or game pieces. There are more economical materials made out of clay for everyday uses, personal ornaments and working activities, as well as weights for nets and looms.

After our introduction to ‘Small Finds,’ we then migrated to the labs to draw some of the finds provided for us. To draw the finds, the rules are the same as the ceramics; the profile is obtained by placing objects directly on the sheet and repassing the piece profile with a pencil. The important thing is that the pencil is orthogonal to the sheet. After you’ve finished drawing you have to measure where there is a variation in thickness or to distinguish where the object is solid or hollow as well as determine the height by using callipers. 

Cindy V

Tuesday 29 January

Following our introductory lecture and initial lab session yesterday, today the ANCH2900 crew returned to the lab to continue working on small finds from Roselle. We were able to extend our rudimentary knowledge, established through the iron nails analysed yesterday, into a wider range of objects which Valentina Pica had selected for us.

Today’s objects were of a higher quality and made of a vast range of materials. She encouraged us to look closely at our new objects – which were not only of iron! – to identify what they were more confidently, and look closely to distinguish between the object and any imperfections such as dirt or corrosion – a more difficult task than one may expect. Throughout the day, Dr Pica also highlighted some of archaeological and recording problems associated with small finds, including the use of sticky labels on bags, which simply fall off after a time – a problem encountered by many of us over the last fortnight – and the difficulties in establishing concise typologies in the study of small finds.

After our much-anticipated lunch, Dr Pica showed the group how to correctly record small finds from archaeological sites, which will be entered into a database over the next few days. Although this process is a repetitive one, it did underline the need for a physical analysis of finds, and that there is no ‘easy’ way to complete certain tasks.

At the middle table of the lab, we handled and recorded glass, bone, bronze, iron and copper-alloy objects, including studs, weights, brooches, decorative belts and the ever-present nails. As a group, we are finding that this “Small Finds” week is full of strange oddities and surprises; for example, it was extremely exciting to see the remains of a boar’s mandible, which was rather unexpected indeed (photo courtesy of Channon Briar)! A huge thanks is already in order for Valentina, who has been very patient and supportive as we learn how to analyse and record small finds.

Jacqueline W

 

Wednesday 30 January

Coming soon!

Thursday 31 January

Today was yet another day in the workshop looking at small finds with Valentina Pica. Over the past week we’ve all learned how to identify, draw, and insert small finds into a database. Today was cut short at lunch time as a few people were sick and some didn’t even make it due to sickness. Nevertheless, the rest of us kept at it, working on the remaining finds. Most of us have by now drawn and categorized between seven and ten different objects. A vast majority of the finds have been nails, studs, or random pieces of bronze or lead metal. I myself have done eight objects, including two nails, two studs, a fibula, and three other random pieces of bronze.

Personally, I’ve really enjoyed this week. While the objects might have been simple everyday items to the Romans, to me they are so much more. Figuring out what a random piece of bronze could’ve been used for is pretty fun. One of my pieces seemed to come from a military belt, however it could also be from a hinge or metal band. Another piece was small and thin, and had obviously been folded over. Why? We don’t know. However, both sides were decorated, and a small nail had been inserted to (I assume) hold the now folded metal together. To me, all this is exciting! It’s all a big mystery just waiting to be solved, and I love it! Valentina is also so knowledgeable about small finds and is quite inspiring to me. Throughout the week she has been very supportive to everyone, encouraging us to try our best and helping us when we did things wrong. This past week has opened my eyes to small finds, something I might decide to pursue in the future.

Chris W.

Friday 1 February

Coming soon!

Monday 4 February

‘A museum is more than just a building.’ These were the words of Doctoressa Chiara Valdambrini, our expert who led our class today in our first museum workshop. Over the past four weeks, museology, or the study which examines the science in organising and arranging museums, has been a hot topic. We’ve talked about museology  at archaeological sites, galleries, and even at the dinner table, and in class today, our group was finally able to compile our thoughts and express them in a thorough discussion that enveloped what we had learnt and practised. Our class first began by asking the question: ‘What is a museum to you?’ We established that the nature of a museum is diverse, and that a museum can have many different functions, including acting as an educational or social centre for the local community.

After establishing the diverse nature of a museum and its many fun, our class moved on into comparing the Museo Archeologico di Grosseto with the RD Milns Antiquities Museum, our home museum at the University of Queensland. It was interesting to see parallels develop between the two museums, despite their distance geographically and their different target audiences. Chiara then encouraged us to perform a SWOT (Strengths, Weaknesses, Opportunities, Threats) Analysis on our museum at home. This experiment was revealing of not only the objectives and limitations of the museum itself, but the priorities and concerns we have as guests. Our results clearly demonstrated the importance of a museum engaging with the local community and establishing itself as a site of heritage and value among its citizens, tourists, and related buildings. Following our lunch, Elena and Matteo then invited us to conduct a SWOT Analysis on a museum of our choice in Rome. Our class dissolved into vigorous debate, and after closely following Chiara’s steps provided that morning, we compiled our thoughts on the board.

Practising analysing the museum space as a medium of communication resulted in interesting discussion, illustrating how diverse our opinions could actually be. One result was clear: visiting a museum is a subjective experience, depending on your personal upbringing, ideologies, beliefs, and even your own background with other museums and galleries. A trip to the museum is something you can make your own—and it is for that reason museums are powerfully meaningful, and, as Chiara suggested, far more than brick and mortar.

 

Tuesday 5 February

What a day it has been! This morning, we were escorted around Vetulonia by resident archaeologist Constanza, who took us to the Mura dell' Arce and explained its Etruscan origins. She also explained that in the Villanovan era, there were two small villages on the hill on which Vetulonia is situated and the adjacent hill. Constanza then took us on a tour of the archaeological site, showing us around the various buildings that have been discovered, including the House of Medea and the House of the Dolia. The site dates to approximately the third century BC and Constanza speculated that it was probably a Roman municipium. We then visited the Isidoro Falchi Civic Archaeological Museum with Constanza directing us to the finds from the site we had just seen. Some of us marvelled that the museum had a video guide in most sections that included both Italian and English audio as well as sign language, making it accessible for visually and hearing impaired persons. After our visit to the museum, we had lunch in the sunshine and then drove to Follonica. While we waited for the museum to open, we spent some time down by the seaside enjoying the afternoon sun and marvelling at the beautiful colours of this foreign ocean. Visiting the Museo Delle Arti in Ghisa nella Maremma (MAGMA) was an amazing experience. It tells the short, but rich history of the area of Follonica from the times of Leopold II Grand Duke of Tuscany, when it was established as an iron industry. Favourite aspects of the museum for many students included the interactive features and the reproduction of certain environments, as they helped us to contextualise some of the information we were reading on the display boards. This was a really wonderful way to finish off a very busy day and we would like to thank all of the amazing people who drove us around today - we really enjoyed our day!

Wednesday 6 February

Our group began the day with a visit to the Museum of Natural History of the Maremma in Grosseto. The director of the museum, Andrea Sforzi, provided us with an insightful tour, highlighting research projects throughout the region which correspond with many of the exhibits. While this museum is not ancient history or archaeology focused, our visit proved a valuable experience as it has provided an understanding of the biodiversity which has accompanied the history of the area. This provided a connection with our archaeological studies as well as those in museology. The museum predominantly consists of diorama displays, providing a dynamic and realistic demonstration of natural environments within a museum setting. Our visit was completed with an introduction to ‘Citizen Science’, an international interactive program aiming to involve the everyday person in scientific research, involvement also being the aim of many archaeological projects and museums around the world.

Allie S.

After our visit to the Museum, we were privileged to spend time with Professor Giovanna Pizziolo and Professor Nicoletta Volante. To begin, they delivered a lecture which looked at the Prehistory of the Grosseto region, the evidence, the types of methodologies used by prehistory and landscape archaeologists. Given our focus on the Etruscan and Roman history of the territory, the lecture was a reminder of the importance the physical landscape and its changes prior to the Iron Age. The territory of Grosseto was a dynamic landscape during prehistory before becoming a water basin (later named Prile Lake). The professors showed us the strategic position of the territory through a variety of maps and diagrams, highlighting the advantageous position through the coastal characteristics, natural harbours, and the vicinity to neighbouring islands.

Within this region, there are three major cave sites which have been studied by Prof. Pizziolo and Prof. Volante. La Fabbrica Cave has revealed a stratigraphy that shows three levels of occupation, but none seem to show a settlement pattern. The second example, Spaccasasso Cave, is notable for the extensive mining of cinnabar during the Neolithic period. Cinnabar is most famed for its extensive use as a red paint, as seen on frescoes from Pompeii. In the Copper Age (3600-1900 BC), the cave took on a different function, and was instead the final resting place of around 120 individuals after ritual activities which included exposure and the fracturing of bones. Furthermore, research at this site has revealed evidence from the Neolithic, Copper, Early Bronze, Middle Bronze, and Late Antique Ages, stratigraphy spanning over 5 000. The changing function of this cave shares a connection to the third cave, the Scoglietto Cave, the third site which is important, as it is a funerary cave but in the vicinity of a Temple to Diana.

Following this lecture, we were shown some of the finds from the Spaccasasso and Scoglietto excavations. It was very eye-opening to see prehistoric regional connectivity documented through small finds, evident in obsidian and faience objects from Spaccasasso Cave. We were shown different types of funerary pots, including a six-handled cup and other pots with incised decorations. Prof. Volante showed us the different cultural contexts represented through the shapes of these different pots, including Tyrrhenian, Adriatic and Tuscan styles of pottery. Finds from Scoglietto were also presented, ranging from low to high quality: a bag of pottery shards, refined bone tools, jasper arrowheads, obsidian blades and a quartz object.

Following lunch, the group joined with Matteo, Elena and Janette in a discussion about museology, focussing on some of the differences and opportunities for museums. We considered the effects of curatorial visions, education versus research programmes, didacticism, inclusion, variables of museum experience, the use of historical buildings, reconstructions, and contextualisation. It was a session that helped us to think about the differences between museums at Rome, in Tuscany and home in Australia. All in all, a big day, but a very rewarding day that encouraged us to think outside the box of the Classical past and Classical archaeology. 

Jacqueline W.

Thursday 7 February

Coming soon!

Friday 8 February

Today’s workshop was the final one for the Albarese Archaeological Project and Winter School of 2019. Despite only being our second day working with marble, we quickly got back into the patterns of recording, drawing and identifying the ancient finds. For the first part of the morning we did this with what was primarily greco-scrito marble excavated from Hadrian’s baths. While doing this, Federico taught us skills to assist in identifications relating to marble. These skills included how to determine what use a piece of marble may have had, which could be argued upon the evidence of tool marks, grooves, mortar remains or clamp marks.

The quantity of this marble from Hadrian’s baths that we had to work with was small, and so we completed it quickly. Because of this, we were given more modern marbles that we had to identify. There were many different kinds such as green conglomerate fragments, red porphyry, nero porphyry, brecchitia di sciro and green serpentine porphyry. It was useful to be able to feel and see the differences in texture, weight and transparency in these differing pieces.

Towards the end of the day, we ventured to the university gardens to view the marble works that were there. In the ways of marble, the gardens contain a variety of differently shaped and sized pillars, tubs, sarcophagi and building tools. Federico was so kind as to teach us passionately about the different kinds of marble used, as well as how and when they were sourced. The students and I appreciated Federicos enthusiasm in such a field. 

Heather M.