Castellaraccio di Monteverdi – Day 5

Today spelled not only the end of the week but the final moment of joined effort at Castellaraccio. After putting tremendous hard work and comradery into both the keep, Area 1000, and the house, Area 2000, even the students more inclined towards the Classical site were filled with the joy of this priceless experience engaging with the Middle Ages. 

At the keep, students removed yet another invasive stump and well-defined the walls of the area—training their eyes to differentiate tile from stone and mortar from soil. Deeper into the covering of trees, excavators at the house likewise began with the mission to better define the walls of the perimeter and search for mortar to assist with that goal. Along the northern wall, students began by lowering the soil along its base, evening it to the level of the portions of the room’s interior dug over the preceding few days. Despite this, the wall proved too damaged by tree roots, and its edge was obscured by its collapsed state; therefore, students began to work alongside the external side of the northern wall’s collapse, following the alignment of three stones discovered yesterday. This new plan proved significantly more fruitful, suggesting that the wall’s position was further back and more truly in alignment with the visible external castle wall as well as elucidating the trajectory and original position of the collapse most drastically affected by the growing trees. The students along the western wall conquered the invasive flora even more fervently, with site supervisor Michael McCabe and student Thuraya Hazer finally meeting on the other side of an enormous and pervasive stump that has, until now, largely prevented them from fully defining the structure. On the eastern wall, the early morning likewise came with the conquest of several problematic tree roots, and these triumphs revealed this wall to be deeper under the collapse than previously postulated as well. 

In Context 2, in a trench directly outside the southern wall in its western corner, Marc Hunter continued to find chronologically significant pottery and, in addition, discovered charcoal within the southern wall on its external side. Directly below this charcoal, however, Marc brought to light a series of stones which may indicate a threshold—providing potential answers for questions of the house’s orientation and layout in relation to the rest of the castle and the neighboring, so far unexcavated, structures. The team plans to extend the trench approximately half a meter on its eastern and southern sides to better understand this threshold in connection with the house’s perimeter as well as the extent of the hypothesized post-holes and their alignment. Although rejoicing in the onset of warm weather and the coming labor at Podere Cannicci, all participants at Castellaraccio are deeply moved by the opportunity to uncover the traces of life in the Middle Ages, to hold unfamiliar pottery in their hands, and to imagine inhabitations from root-torn rubble; they will miss their trenches in the trees.

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