I had no idea what was in store when I signed up to be a part of the Monteverdi Field School. I expected waking up sore after long days working in a field. I expected to work very hard and be covered in dirt and sweat. What I didn’t expect is how much I would be affected by the places, people, and pets that surrounded me for that month. The walk up to Castellaraccio felt new and exciting every day in the hope of finding something new, but at the same time, the site felt like home. Being able to immerse me in a forest that overtook a medieval castle was special. I was able to get to know this forest and the collapsed walls within it like I never thought I would. I visited other archaeological sites and learn how they are interpreted. I knew I would learn a lot on this trip, but I didn’t know how much I would gain not only from the professors but from the late night conversations with the other students and archaeologists on this trip. From discussing politics and relationships to Italian phrases and intimate stories, I found myself amazed with every conversation I had with the people on this trip. But what I least expected was how much the animals at the estate would affect me as well. I still think about Candela and Sebastian daily and wonder if they are doing well. I hope the stray cat Sebastian is still getting along well without us feeding him every morning and showing him love all night. I yearn for the days where I would lay in the hammock with Sebastian during the lunch break before going out to the site again to finish our dig for the day. When I look back on this trip it doesn’t feel real. Did I really spend a month on an estate tucked into the mountainside of Italy? Was I really able to experience Italian archaeology first hand? Without the photos I took that whole month would have felt like a dream, like something I would have to convince other people that happened. I captured moments throughout this adventure where I fell in love with my surroundings—both the beautiful landscapes and the wonderful beings that kept me company during that month.
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