Friday, July 06, 2007


Last week I wrote about our plans to go to CARSULAE to help with the excavations. We'd never been to this site before, and weren't sure what to expect.

CARSULAE is south of us, near San Gemini, and just off the E45, the main highway that runs through Umbria. We followed the signs to CARSULAE, ending up at a large parking lot, obviously new, and completely deserted. We took the sottopassagio under the road and followed the path leading to.....well, it wasn't really clear. We saw no signs along the way, although we did spot a few ruins off in the distance.

Eventually we reached a building housing a small museum and a bar selling refreshments! Shelly saw the people she had spoken with previously, and they told us to follow them down to the excavation. We had to climb over the turnstiles, because apparently there's an admission charge to see the site.

Once we'd made our way to the site
everyone took their places, and we were directed to the large tray with a metal screen, used to sift through the dirt in search of pieces of mosaic, pottery, bones, maybe even coins.

We were given a brief introduction to what we should be looking for, yet cautioned not to throw anything away without first checking with someone more knowledgeable. No problem! Who'd want to risk throwing away the find of a lifetime due to inexperience?

As each person excavated their assigned area they'd bring their bucket of dirt to us. Each bucket was labeled with the location, and before we dumped the bucket the person who'd excavated it would come to help us, knowing what things were likely to be found in their specific area.

Over the course of the morning we found small stones used in mosaics, a few small pieces of metal. lots of patter shards, a few bits of iridescent glass, and lots of bones....apparently the bones were quite recent additions, since this area was commonly used for picnics!

Because of the heat, the excavations start early in the morning and finish around noon. After lunch things are washed, catalogued and documented.

As we walked back to our car we were met by a small herd of sheep, along with a few goats.  We were told that the sheep are used to keep the grass nice and short.

The students parked in a lot we didn't know how to reach, so as we climbed back over the turnstiles, unaccompanied by anyone 'official', an employee of the museum/bar asked us if we'd bought tickets to get in. We explained that we'd been working at the excavation, and they nodded okay.

The site appears to be quite large, but unfortunately we didn't get a chance to explore it. From the little we saw the ruins seemed to be pretty spread out, and rather minimal.

I'm not sure that anyone other than a dedicated archaeology student would find much to interest them, but perhaps I'm judging too harshly. Regardless, the site doesn't seem to attract many tourists, and doesn't seem to be well publicized.



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