Unearthing Ancient History in Tuscany
The goal of this expedition is simple: to help experts reconstruct the complex past of Populonia as fully as possible.
For hundreds of years, Populonia dominated the ironworks industry in the Mediterranean. The transfer of the city from Etruscan to Roman rule around 250 B.C. did not halt its metalworking activities; iron exports supported the Roman expansion in Africa, so the ruling class had important economic interests in the area’s industrial production and commerce.
To reconstruct the economic and social history of the city of Populonia, researchers must answer many complicated questions: When and where did iron smelting take place? How was the society of the city shaped by metalworking and trade? Who were the ancient people that lived and worked in the harbor, the mines, and the iron smelting industry?
By joining this expedition, you’ll help fill in gaps in knowledge about the Populonia area. Your team will focus on one of two fascinating sites:
Teams 1,2,3, and 4 (teen team) will work between the remaining walls of a Roman villa on Poggio del Molino (Windmill Hill), overlooking the Mediterranean Sea. The villa was built at the start of the 1st century A.D., when the main city of Populonia was mysteriously abandoned. People continued to live at the villa, though, until the end of the 5th century, so it is one of the few existing sources of information from this time period.
Teams 5-7 will excavate at the Baratti and Populonia Archaeological Park. The area has not yet been investigated by rigorous archaeological scientific methods, but it is a critical place to discover more about the lives of the people who lived in Populonia between the 7th and 1st century BCE. Volunteers on these teams will also have the opportunity to visit the Villa Poggio del Molino as well.
Live the life of a professional archaeologist as you unearth artifacts, then clean and study them. You might also try rebuilding original objects from the fragments you’ve discovered. You’ll have an unparalleled chance to get close to Italy’s ancient past.
A Typical Itinerary
- DAY 1 Arrival, travel to accommodations, welcome presentation
- DAYS 2-6 Excavations, catalog artifacts, map excavation sites
- DAY 7 Departure
You also have the option of joining the expedition for two weeks.
HOW WILL YOU HELP
You'll spend most of your time removing the earth around objects with trowels, brushes, and other tools.
Map excavation sites
To help record the layout the excavations and where objects have been uncovered, you will help draw features of the site.
Record, analyze, and preserve artifacts
Help clean and catalog the finds you uncover, and analyze the source and age of stones used as building materials. When you find bits of pottery, you'll try to reconstruct the original vessel. You'll also draw and do some basic conservation of building decorations, such as mosaics.
Field conditions and research needs can lead to changes in the itinerary and activities. We appreciate your cooperation and understanding.
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