This week we completed excavation and finds processing for the Gioiella-Vaiano site; the previous week we had to contend with sudden cool weather (which was nice) combined with rainstorms (which were not). We made tremendous progress, however, thanks to the hard work of the students and staff, and were able to present our preliminary findings at a press conference organized by the Comune di Castiglione del Lago on Wed., July 5. That presentation can be seen here on YouTube:

We have identified three main components of the site so far: 1) an area with deeply-founded walls, an apse, and a substantial staircase (the bottom of which we have not yet been able to reach); 2) a bath complex of at least three rooms, with portions of the underfloor heating system intact; and 3) a large drain, perhaps an outlet for part of the baths. The site is almost certainly a large Roman villa with a lifespan of ca. the 2nd c. BC to the 3rd c. AD.

The staircase; note how the stone supports for the (probably wooden) steps were keyed into the side wall. We do not yet know how deep the staircase goes, or what parts of the site it once linked.
The apsidal building, just east of the staircase, which was later built over by a wide, heavy cement wall
Corriere dell’Umbria article; 6 July 2017

Regional media outlets picked up the story, and broadcast a story in the Corriere dell’Umbria newspaper for 6 July, and on the 5 July evening news for TGR Umbria (television; starts at about 15:38; note that it may not be viewable outside of Italy): 

Umbria 24 also ran the story:

And back in Greencastle, Indiana, it appeared in the Banner-Graphic:

State plan of the site, with the staircase and apsidal building at upper left, the drain (dug in 2016) at middle right, and the bath complex (lower right)

Our sincere thanks to the Soprintendenza dell’Umbria for permission to excavate this year, the Comune di Castiglione del Lago for sponsoring and supporting the project, the Umbra Institute for organizing the project, Stefano Spiganti of Intrageo for handling logistics and reporting, DePauw University and its alumni for providing additional support, and of course all the students who participated in the 2017 season.

The ‘complesso thermale’, or bath complex, showing the waterproof cement (cocciopesto) and small columns (pilae) of the underfloor heating system used by the Romans. There were at least three rooms to the baths, and the structure suffered heavy collapse (through which we have been digging).

One thought on “2017 Season’s End: Press Conference and Preliminary Results

  1. Very fun to be a small part of this! Students and staff were professional and fun! A lot of very hard work! Great results!


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