Another season begins, and so does my first week behind the trowel. Having never excavated before, and having never blogged before, I’m starting to realize the importance of pictures and how I should have taken quite a bit more of them for my own personal use as we progressed through the dig. Seeing as how I don’t have many, you’ll just have to take my word for what follows...
I was assigned to Allison’s trench, where we dug up the caldarium (a hot bath) all the way down to its foundation. We ended up uncovering a cocciopesto wall, a bench, a stamped brick, marble revetment and tubuli (conduits which channel hot air as a heating mechanism for the baths).
|Section of the caldarium after excavation|
What archaeologists don’t tell you is that elevation points are taken an absurd amount of times: several for each new soil layer and each new find. Moreover, we have to measure this with a leveling rod, which involves adding or subtracting two digit numbers—a daunting feat for anybody. We did this often since Rebecca, though she was sick, helped us power through our stratigraphic units like a bulldozer.
In our neighboring trench, the team found mosaics and a purported “one bazillion” fragmented pieces of tesserae from said mosaics, which was great, but resulted in some grueling cleaning on Friday when we all sat down at noon to wash our finds for the week.
I can’t say I know too much about Ann’s trench, unfortunately. The day that I wanted to investigate it, it seemed like every time I looked over she was furiously sawing away at a large log which blocked her excavation and only mocked her efforts at removing it. She eventually took it out though, and held it as a trophy for all to see.
All in all, the first week gave us a lot of special finds, and it’s got me excited for the next section of our trench. Darby took a group of some select people down into the large reservoir across from our dig site, and showed us around inside the channel.
He knew every detail there was to know. In another life, he must have been a tour guide. To conclude…
What I’m thankful for:
Ashley’s water flavoring packets
Allison’s razor sharp strati rod arithmetic
Rebecca’s iron resolve in the face of illness
Darby’s bottomless cistern of wisdom
What I’m not thankful for: