promoting cultural heritage and conservation

Life in the Trenches: Week 5 at the Dig

The last week of excavation at Parco dei Ravennati was a bipolar mix of calm instruction and frenzied activity: though it was declared that we were officially finished with the actual digging, many tasks still remained to be done. After a lecture on different types of pottery and marble, we assisted Julia Elsey in the monumental task of cleaning, labeling, and recording every shard we had found this past season. Additionally, the guest lecturer Alessandra Ghelli came to give an enlightening talk on a field we all have little experience with – Marine Archaeology.

On Thursday, we took a short break from the dig site to visit areas of Ostia Antica normally closed to the public. Dr. John Pollini, USC Professor of Art History and History, guided us through wonderfully preserved villas filled with frescoes and mosaics. We were also taken to the local museum for a tour on the various works of art found in Ostia. Back at the site, one group made a last sketch while another poked around a little more in the tombs. Everyone had to help to clean the site and get ready for our big press conference at the end of the week.

I know I speak for all the students in the program when I say that this dig has been an incredible experience. Through the careful guidance of our instructors, we learned a little of what it means to truly be affective archaeologists. Special thanks should be given to Dr. Alberto Prieto and Dr. Michele Raddi – at every turn, they were there to offer patient insight and encouragement. This is sure to be a trip that none of us will soon forget!

~Catherine Whited
, University of Texas

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