Friday, June 13, 2014
Expanding Our Dig Space
I am an amateur so please excuse my terminology when I attempt to describe what is happening today on our dig space. (See what I mean?)
Here's a picture of Sophie and Jay taking measurements of our expansion. Yesterday Rachel discovered a turn in the main wall and collectively a decision was made to expand our dig space by 1 meter. So exciting! We want to be able to determine whether the wall adjoins another outside of our dig space.
I am working on the wall which is already exposed to find the floor area, which happened today. Who knew how exciting it could be to reach the floor and find some perfectly preserved opus signinum? I guess I have learned something. For those of you who might be reading and don't know, this material is very durable, waterproof and used in ancient Rome for flooring, among other things.
Since this is my last day on the dig, I just want to talk a little bit about what my experience has been like. Of course, it was a privilege to work with Professors Andrea de Giorgi and Darby Scott, who have been providing terrific leadership for this project. My fellow diggers are fabulous! So much fun and so hard-working...it's a great combination.
One of my favorite parts of this dig is its rhythm. Almost everyone arrives at 8 am, ready to go to work in our respective areas. We work from 8 - 11, at which point we take a little break for some water and refreshment. When I say little, I mean just a couple minutes. At 12 noon, we all take our bins of treasures down to the museum area, in the shade, in order to be washed or dry brushed. Today our treasures included pieces of ancient glass, nails, marble, pieces of painted plaster, urns and all sorts of pottery. Then lunch, followed by a couple of hours more work, and the end of the day involves processing and putting away all of the finds so that tomorrow we start fresh. It's all done together.
I love the idea that we process our own finds in a way that supports community. We work together and get to see what each other found, share the stories of the day, and pitch in and help each other. It's a time of bonding and education. Many times there will be a find in one area of the excavation that relates or is similar to, a find that was made days ago. It's important to know what everyone is doing.
I also like the fact that day after day, we get to stay in the same dig space. It's really motivating to stay in one place and to see the picture unfold as you take down the layers. I think we also become emotionally attached to our respective digging places, which means we think about them at night and work really hard to make more progress the next day. Some might say it's a bad thing to get emotional about scientific work, but I think it's great to really love "my wall" or "my door."
So, as I prepare to leave the Cosa Excavation site, I want to say thank you to all who made this dig a memorable experience for me. Thank you for your kindness - and I'll always remember the House of Worms and Pick Wizardry. :o)