During a fortunate pocket of clear skies between periods of pouring rain, the directors of the IMPERO Project took advantage of the opportunity to officially begin the season’s work. Professors Alessandro Sebastiani and Michelle Hobart brought several students to Castellaraccio, where all participated in the clearing of rocks and felled trees. Professor Hobart likewise acquainted these pupils with the most up-to-date understanding and conjectures of the site’s layout, chronology, status and anomalies, and integration with the surrounding area, including the site of Podere Cannicci. She painted a picture of the castle in time and space while taking her listeners physically through the foci and extents of last year’s excavation, answering questions and explaining the processes behind past and ongoing investigation choices. After these introductions, all with her joined Professor Sebastiani and Alberto Ghini, who cleared much of the covering vegetation to allow for the future use of satellite imaging, in moving the fallen trunks and branches down the hillside and in clearing the collapse within a selected postulated house inside the outer wall. Not only were these moments filled with laughter, anticipating a tight-knit team for the 2019 season, but the amount of work achieved in just a few hours exceeded expectations and made for a fruitful introduction to the labor.
Simultaneously, Dr. Edoardo Vanni, although he also joined those at Castellaraccio to significantly assist in the clearing of rocks, took the remaining students to wash and become acquainted with some of the pottery from the previous year, acquiring a feel and appreciation for the types of material culture that will frame the coming weeks. While the separated students engaged in different forms of labor in their introductions to the project, both groups gained a deeper understanding of IMPERO’s mission, the field at large, and the sites that we investigate. All field school participants, both those new and returning, made today as productive as possible before the storm set in—promising a season full of dedication, teamwork, and broadened horizons.