It takes a team, and we have a small but dedicated group. Phil Perkins (Open University, UK) and I have worked at Poggio Colla together, and it is good to be in the field again. Phil is directing the actual excavations, always on site. I am running around, as usual, driving all over the place, trying to coordinate the overall logistics. The site is spectacularly beautiful, perched on the top of the Apennines, but it is, to put it bluntly, one hell of drive. We have rented a 4WD Dacia Duster, a trusty work horse, that can negotiate the hellish last part of the road and trail that takes us up to the site. The rest of the group gets driven to the site in transportation provided by the Hotel Piccola Firenze in Firenzuola, where the group is lodged. They get dropped off on the road, where it is still decent, and hike their way to the site, about ten or fifteen minutes of good trail. Alessandro Nocentini is an architect who also wrote a doctoral dissertation of the digital imaging of the Stele di Vicchio. He is the site architect and our Director of Digital Documentation.
The team includes two experienced excavators who worked with us at Poggio Colla. Crystal Rosenthal is a classicist who will begin her doctoral work at UT Austin this fall. Sarah Hiepler was an SMU undergraduate who excavated at Poggio Colla in 2015, our last season, and has now finished her MA (on an Etruscan topic!) at the University of Oxford.
We have three neophytes with us; they are from very varied backgrounds. Isabelle Prince majored in Creative Writing; Leslie Pickel is studying art; and Chris Darrin is a language buff who hopes to improve his Italian while he is with us.
Also with us for the first week is Dr. Lisa Lodwick from the University of Oxford. She is studying the palaeobotanical remains from Poggio Colla while also setting up a system of palaeobotanical sampling for Albagino, something that is essential for us as we try to reconstruct both the physical and cultural contexts of the sacred lake.
Follow us and you will get to know us individually in the next few weeks, as everyone will take a turn at blogging and sharing our experiences. It takes a team, and we have a good one in place.
Greg Warden July 9, 2018