Castellaraccio di Monteverdi – Day 8

After the hard work of the last two days, this afternoon at Castellaraccio di Monteverdi was mostly focused on cleaning the curtain wall 3 for taking a picture of it and working in our new excavation area in the North West corner of Area 1.

The results of this day are promising, since we may have found the first context under the collapse of the building or at least an interface.

Podere Cannicci – Day 8


The IMPERO Team had an appreciated helping hand at Podere Cannicci this morning when the machine came to clear both our steadily growing spoil heaps and the dark brown soil covering Context 36. With the aid of this machine, the entirety of the team managed to level out the context and further expose the almost-black soil beneath. There is still brown soil to be troweled away, but the team made great strides today in leveling out the context, and we even found the tissue laid by the original site excavators from the 1980s and 90s to protect and mark the level that they reached.

On the other side of the trench, part of our team continued to pickaxe and scrape away Context 35, seeking a new, yellowish soil underneath. Context 35 proved to be deeper and less even than expected, but after the great perseverance of our members, the streaks of yellowish-gold soil gave way to several patches of the new context to be properly exposed tomorrow.

On the home front, two more students stayed with our pottery specialist, Massimo, this afternoon, and further expanded their understanding of fragment treatment and identification under his guidance. Tomorrow morning heralds a great deal of work, but the IMPERO Team is prepared for all of the hard work and wonderful discovery awaiting us at Podere Cannicci!

Castellaraccio di Monteverdi – Day 7

New day, the same castle. After an exciting morning in Podere Cannicci we all moved back to the Castle of Monteverdi after lunch.

After the hard work of all the team now the western part of Area 1 is relatively free from rubble and roots. In the northern part of the excavation area, we began to expose what seems to be the first stratum under the collapse which butts up to the wall 5. We defined a smaller trench, where tomorrow we will test the depth of the remaining collapse.

Podere Cannicci – Day 7

The entire team banded together again this morning to continue our work at Podere Cannicci. Half of the original Roman site excavators continued their effort on Context 35, leveling out the soil to the depth exposed last week and evening out the borders of the context. Behind them, part of the team continued to reveal the newly uncovered wall toward the back of the site and also discovered the continuation of the trench found in 2017, the stones of which seem to have collapsed inward. The new workers from Castellaraccio at Podere Cannicci likewise furthered their helpful labor—troweling to clean stones and pickaxing the much shallower Context 1.

While the rest of the team worked, our first students, Ryan Poloncarz and Rebecca Gilliland, joined our pottery specialist Massimo to clean all of the collected pottery fragments from the Roman site. They found the experience incredibly rewarding due to Massimo’s magnificent expertise, and the success of this first students-expert collaboration beyond the site has us fondly anticipating the rest of our students’ experiences with Massimo.

Podere Cannicci – Day 6

This morning, the IMPERO Project team returned to work from a weekend of beautiful adventure tasting wine and exploring the Abbey of Sant’Antimo at Montalcino. Even though we had two full days away from the labor of excavation, our archaeologists had a strong start at both Podere Cannicci and Castellaraccio. As our team leaders announced on Friday, we combined the previously separated groups working on both sites to better optimize our efforts—in the morning, the Castellaccio segment of the team joined with the one formerly working alone at Podere Cannicci, and after lunch, the people focused on Podere Cannicci joined with those at Castellaccio to work on the castle.

For such a significant reorganization, the teams united seamlessly and gave their all to their new positions. At Podere Cannicci, the new team members began to uncover a previously set aside segment of the site, and the original crew continued to uncover the two contexts (35 and 36) and wall features exposed last week.

Moreover, our pottery specialist Massimo Brando has joined the team and has started to provide a number of information about chronologies of the newly discovered contexts. In the coming days, we will post some data coming from the pottery analysis and its related typologies.

Although there is a great deal of work still left at both sites, we are extremely proud of the adaptability of our team as a whole and how well and passionately we all came together at the start of this new week. We eagerly await what breakthroughs our incredible students and team leaders make over the course of this week!

Castellaraccio di Monteverdi – Day 6

Due to the new program, we spent the morning in Podere Cannicci but we came back to the castle after lunch with the full team of archaeologists and students.

With the help of our reinforcement, we were able to remove a great part of the collapse (2) in the first half of Area 1. We still do not know how far we should work to find the first archeological layer under the heavy stones of the collapse but we hope to reach it for tomorrow or for the day after tomorrow.

Podere Cannicci – Day 5

On Friday, we were able to start removing a yellow clay context in the new room, defined by a wall that presents a different alignment. The context resulted to be very rich in pottery and material culture in general and covered a much more compact clay deposit.

Just outside of this space, in the southern area of the excavation, we cleaned the wall-tops of the drain and removed an abandonment stratum. Two walls were revealed, making a corner as they touch the drain.

From next week, a change of strategy has been planned. The two archaeological teams will be working together at Podere Cannicci during the morning, while the afternoon will be spent at Castellaraccio.

Castellaraccio di Monteverdi – Day 5

Fifth day of excavation at Castellaraccio. We were finally able to produce a first sketch of the plan of the castle, while the rest of the team was still working on the collapse of Area 1, exposing the central part of the wall 5, which can be later than the others. The construction technique is still rubble masonry, but there is a rich presence of reused bricks in the core of the wall, which may indicate a later phase of construction compared with the main curtain wall; moreover had been used a different kind of mortar, white in color.

In the evening the team from Podere Cannicci came to pay their first visit at the Castle.

Castellaraccio di Monteverdi – Day 4

At Castellaraccio, we are still dealing with the collapse in Area 1 which is deeper than what we expected at the beginning of the excavation.

Another part of the team dedicates their time in exploring the rest of the wooded hill to provide a draft for a preliminary plan of the castle. Most of the main defensive wall circuit is immediately visible and needs only to be cleared from the vegetation, while several wall alignments are visible in the northern part of the castle, forming probably a series of rooms. More structures are probably located in one or two terracings, in the western part of the hill of the castle.

Podere Cannicci – Day 4

Today, we were able to fully expose a new context in the NE area of the excavation. This layer was covered by 34, a brown, clay level rich in pottery and metal slags that also covered an earlier wall. The latter presents a different orientation and seems to have been modified with the laying out of wall 6.

In the southern part of the excavation area, the team completed the removal of the topsoil and exposed the side walls of the main drain, located at the center of the site. We finished the day by taking a number of pictures and planning the strategy for the coming days.