The rain has finally let up and we have now had two good weeks of excavation at the Gioella site in the Comune of Castiglione del Lago. We began work with two trenches (quadrati) in an area that our survey (conducted in 2015) suggested had a high concentration of pottery, tile, and brick from the Roman period. Indeed, we spent several days digging through a thick layer of debris that either tumbled down the hill or was used as fill in a later period.
Prof. Bevagna and Marco Bagli helping out on the site.
Adam holds the base (toe) of an amphora; and the base of a terra sigillata cup in situ.
Unfortunately, below the debris is a clean layer of sand, i.e, there is no evidence of material culture. We were concerned for a day; fearing that the entire area we cleared was a dump and not a habitation area. However, at the very southern edge of our second trench, parallel with the line of the trench itself (remarkable!), there is a ditch (fossa) cut through the sand. In the ditch roof tiles have been reused, placed vertically in pairs, to cover something below. At first we considered that this might indicate a late Roman/early Cristian burial (“tomba alla cappuccina”) but it soon became clear that the ditch and the line of tiles is too long for a burial. We don’t know yet what this line of tiles might be covering. Parallel to the channel is evidence of a wall constructed of large stones and tiles.
At the end of our second week we expanded the excavation area to the west to determine where the wall and the channel are going. Stay tuned…
Over the weekend, Profs. Bevagna and Foss took the students on a much-deserved excursion to Rome.