Category: Archaeology

Summer 2015 Archaeology Fieldwork Final Report


Final research report for the 2015 season

[ n.b.: this post links to two PDF files; see below.]

Our Summer 2015 training and fieldwork project was a success. In the field, we were able to complete an intensive survey of the ancient site, which in all likelihood was a villa in the territory of ancient Chiusi (Etruscan Clevsin, Roman Clusium), occupied from the 2nd c. BC through the 3rd c. AD, which had processing and storage facilities for agricultural products as well as accommodations of some luxury, including a bathing complex. We also may have located an ancient road that runs just to the northeast of the site.

For the local antiquarium (in the Palazzo della Corgna), we were able to craft a timeline and fashion two brochures (one for adults, one for children; see below) to help visitors enjoy and understand the museum and its displays.

A summary of all the different facets of our work (classroom instruction, field training, field trips, community engagement, museum projects, student project and presentations) can be read here: [PDF; 24 MB].

The team’s final survey research report is also available here: [PDF in English; also 24 MB]. Thanks to all of our participating students, who worked so hard on the project, and to our partners in Castiglione del Lago and the Umbra Institute in Perugia.

Thanks also to funding support from the Department of Classical Studies, DePauw University, and a private donor, who all made it possible for faculty and students to participate.

Umbra Institute Summer Archaeology Program 2015Brochure

Umbra Dig 2015: Settling In

We are back in Perugia just under a year after we moved back to Indiana. Some of the family had already made visits back—we have begun to help lead Smithsonian Institute Journeys Tours (Highlights of Italy [done in 2014 and again in 2015] and Gems of Tuscany and Umbria [2016]), and Pedar led a DePauw Winter Term tour for soccer players in January of this year, in which Simon participated. This summer, Simon is taking an intensive Italian course at Umbra Institute, and we are partnering through DePauw with Umbra for a new summer archaeology field school.

Summer Archaeology Class of 2015

Summer Archaeology Class of 2015

The view from the Umbra Institute's classrooms

The view from the Umbra Institute’s classrooms

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Hidden in Plain Sight: Perugian Epigraphy


The entrance to Il Parma. Why did it take us 10 months to notice the inscription?

This weekend our friend and colleague, Jinyu Liu, is visiting Perugia. She is our last guest before we depart for the States. For several weeks we have been willing ourselves to pay attention to Perugia, soak in the views, and imprint lasting images in our memories.

Yesterday we took Jinyu on a walking tour of the city along the streets and paths that we have been traversing for months. The streets are the same but the views change with the light and the seasons.  Our tour took us from the Etruscan remains under the duomo, we went up to the acropolis (Porta Sole), down to the Arco Etrusco (across from the Università per Stranieri), back up along the outside of the Etruscan walls to Piazza Morlacchi, up to the Fontana Maggiore, down Corso Vanucci to the bastion at the edge of the Giardini Carducci (the views were spectacular yesterday), under the giardini into the Rocca Paolina, and finally back to Via dei Priori (with a break at Gambrinus for gelato). As we came down the street, for some reason, we decided to look up at the facade above the Parma alimentari. First we saw the Latin inscription above the door. Then one of us noticed that there were inscriptions in the window frames of the next two stories. Jinyu’s epigrapher instincts kicked in…

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A Day in Umbria


View of Lago Trasimeno from Tuoro

Saturday we had an Umbrian day: Lago Trasimeno, Roman/Carthaginian battle site, torta al testo, a Lombard tower, an Etruscan tomb, and home-made wood-fire pizza with friends as we watched the sun set against Perugia. June 21 was the 2231st anniversary of the Battle of Lake Trasimene (217 B.C.), an epic disaster for the Romans at the hands of the Carthaginians and not generally commemorated in Italy. Nevertheless, in the morning we set out for Tuoro, the Umbrian village above the battle site (which, diplomatically, now has Lamta, Hannibal’s home town, as a ‘sister city’). From here we followed part of the battle itinerary.

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Marble Marvels

Micah and a marble worker

Would Magritte say that Micah was with a marble worker?

We just finished our Easter (Pasqua) break; the kids were off 10 days from school, and Alan and Barbara were visiting. We took a tour of coastal Tuscany, from Lucca in the north to Cerveteri in the south, accompanied by lovely spring weather.

One day, we took the A11 north to Carrara, location of the great marble quarries that the Romans first exploited in bulk beginning in the second century BC. Above the town, the peaks are white — not from snow, but from being cut down for the bright stone that makes up the mountains.

We visited the Civic Marble Museum in Carrara, had a fantastic pranzo at a Calabrian restaurant next to a working marble yard, and then toured one of the underground quarries before finishing the day at Forte dei Marmi, now a posh holiday beach town.

Micah was keen on the adventure; all day (and after) he talked about the ‘marvel quarries’. Continue reading

Farmers, Pilgrims, and Angels

Family farming gone

Small farms abandoned

Travelling through the landscape of Apulia a month ago, we wound down the scrub-green slopes of the Gargano Promontory, a massive rock projecting into the Adriatic, and largely a national park for its highest and darkest forests.

It was once a sacred mountain too, and still is a place of pilgrimage and healing, and a center for the controversial cult of Padre Pio, as he is buried at San Giovanni Rotondo, where we stayed for a night on our journey south.

To the South  and West lies perhaps the flattest land in Italy, the Tavoliere, a wedge of silt dumped by rivers threading to the coast past Foggia and Cerignola. Everywhere were massive fields, and everywhere were abandoned farms. Along the 25 km. between Lido di Rivoli and the on-ramp to the A14 to the south, we saw perhaps two or three occupied houses. And several walled compounds of massive agribusiness concerns.

View south from the Gargano to the river plains

View south from the Gargano to the river plains

What happened?

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