Posted by: lukelavan | September 16, 2010

Day of the Nymphs

This week the excavation has reached its high point. The archaeology in many areas is starting make a lot more sense, due to effective cleaning and proper records coming back to site from our excellent digitising guys in the dig office (or ‘data mine’ as Ed calls it). In the small nymphaeum opposite the macellum Ana has worked out the phasing of the masonry in only a day. She has revealled that this very well built structure has a major phase of repair, in re-used bricks. However, the first phase is not of re-used bricks and thus likely to be early imperial. This marble clad structure is thus not as anomalous at it once was – the carefully measured dimension of the building look to be early imperial, and not 4th c. after all.

(please click on the image for a larger view of the panorama)

At the large nymphaeum (the Bivium) Jon’s team have revealled a basin with hydraulic plaster and painted wall plaster, which must have fallen off the building at a late date. We have also been visited by a group of tree-surgeons from the sopraintendenza who have trimmed the fig tree which is ripping apart the centre of the structure so that we can photo mosaic it. Elsewhere, in the palaestra our work was somewhat disrupted by the felling of a tree threatened to collapse – thankfully it has been safely removed. Michael Mulryan was able to continue his study of the post-holes around the late antique tempietto from a safe distance. He realises this is a priority since Luke showed him an archive photo which revealled that a great number of late walls, blocking the portico colonnade at a higher level, were removed by the early excavators from this rather too pretty part of the site.

Berlin’s group today welcomed two lazer scanner experts who will be working on the late antique paving that Axel’s team have revealled in the forum. Their presence on site has given us some excitement – they maybe able to recover some eroded indentations revealling the use of the forum – gameboards, graffiti etc. We also have discussed conservation options as a group today, and displaying part of this area to the public is a priority for us for next year’s conservation season. Back in the macellum Joanna is getting stuck in with her medieval excavation. She quickly identified an occupation layer full of bones, smashed pottery and other objects, whilst Zsolt has shown that the medieval house floor in mortar seems to extend over the stylobate wall of the demolished macellum, on top of three earlier layers of mortar from the 2nd c. baths and the 4th c. market building.

Luke Lavan 16/09/2010


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