Summer School in Classical Archaeology

Previous Editions

Did we actually find out something in last year’s edition? Sure we did, and here you can learn about that and see what you can expect from the 2019 Summer School. Download the 2018 edition report of the Digging Vada Summer School: Report_Vada_2018_eng (qui potete scaricare la versione italiana del report 2017: Report_Vada_2017_ Ita.).

Digging the Roman age buildings of the Vada Volaterrana harbour...

Digging the Roman age buildings of the Vada Volaterrana harbour…

Plan of the buildings currently under excavation.

Plan of the buildings currently under excavation.

A recent GPR (Ground Penetrating Radar) survey allowed us to identify in the Southern sector of the harbour settlement, the structures of more buildings, whose excavation started in 2013. Starting from 2016, drone’s survey are run at the end of the excavation, in order to get a detailed plan of the newly discovered buildings.

The most ancient structures, dating to the Ist cent. AD, are located in the NW sector fo the area. Here a backery and its round oven (rooms 1-2) were dug out. Later, likely between the end of the Ist and the starting of the IInd cent. AD, a large rectangular building with many rooms (rooms 1-4, 5-7) was added. At the starting of the IIIrd cent. AD more room (rooms 8-11), maybe part of a small sanctuary or of the seat of a guild, were added at the Eastern side of the second building. They faced a large open courtyard.

 

The 2018 edition: digging marble rooms…

The excavation of the marble rooms 10 and 11.

The excavation of the marble rooms 10 and 11.


 

Bronze Age pottery fragments from the Western sector of the excavation.

Bronze Age pottery fragments from the Western sector of the excavation.


Vada Volaerrana excavation area.

Vada Volaerrana excavation area.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

In the Eastern sector of the excavation area our researches focused on rooms 10 and 11. We discovered they had a rich decoration. Both the floor and the baseboards were made of white, grey and blue coloured marble slabs. At the end of the campaign we were able to end digging in the small square Room 10, whose marble floor had been destroyed and replaced by a poor roof-tiles floor, maybe between the IVth and the Vth cent. AD.

East of Room 10 some of the perimeter walls of a large apsed room (no. 11) have been discovered. This room is the Easternmost of the entire area and the starting of its excavation will be one of the aim of next campaign. Its funntion is still unclear but the richness of its floor testify it was used for important events.

In the Western sector of the area, next to the bakery, the excavation of walls foundations allowed us to intercept sandy layers containing Roman Age pottery mixed with Bronze Age one. Thanks to the discovery of the latter, we know the Roman Age harbour quarter was built on a sandy dune, in turn covering a Late Bronze Age settlement. The shape of the pottery fragments tells us the people living here were involved in salt production.
Salty water was taken from a nearby lagoon and then boiled inside pottery cilindrical containers, in order to get the salt.

Drone view of the Eastern building. On the left the apsed marble hall.

Drone view of the Eastern building. On the left the apsed marble hall.


 

The necropolis

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Students digging a female tomb during the 2016 season

Since the very start of the our excavation, tombs were dug out. So we understood that during the Vth-VIth cent. AD – the building been already abandoned – the area and the structures were used as a cemetery – a common practice in Late Antiquity.

Despite containing no grave-goods, the burials allow us to get a privileged insight into the local community life. Tunisian amphoras for olive-oil or fish sauces were often used as coffins for burying children , while simple graves dug in the soil were used for adults.

The last tombs the be dug out belong to a man and to a child. The man’s skull was located in the Western sector of the tomb, alike in the other tombs we found. The age’s range is 35-45 years old.

The body of a child, less than 3-4 years old, was contained inside an empty amphora, very often reused as coffins for buring children or young women.

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The 2017 excavation of a male tomb and a child’s amphora tomb.

 

The Vada Volaterrana Anthropology Lab – started in 2015 – begun studying these remains during the Summer school. Looking for the results? So, go for the full 2018 report (and those of the previous campaigns) here – the relevant download link is down on this page – and apply for the 2019 campaign!

Download full report

The full report of the 2018 edition of the Digging Vada Summer School can be downloaded in PDF format from here: Report_Vada_2018_eng

Qui potete scaricare la versione italiana del report: Report_Vada_2017_ Ita.

The full report of the 2016 edition of the Digging Vada Summer School can be downloaded in PDF format from here: report_vada_volaterrana_harbour_project_2016

The full report of the 2015 edition of the Digging Vada Summer School can be downloaded in PDF format from here: Summer_School_Report_2015

The full report of the 2014 edition of the Digging Vada Summer School can be downloaded in PDF format from here: Summer School 2014 Report

The full report of the 2013 edition of the Digging Vada Summer School can be downloaded in PDF format from here: Summer_School_2013_Report

 

Going on investigating: the 2018 campaign…

During the 2019 Vada Volaterrana Harbour Project campaign, we’ll go on both field survey and excavation.

On-site we’ll focus on the following activities:

  • Excavation of the big “marble apsed hall” (room 11), in order to understand the whole plan of the Eastern building and its function,
  • Going on the excavation in the “Bronze Age settlement” area, in order to understand its features and its relationship with the Roman Age quarter.