Friday, 8 July 2016

Geoarchaeology at Case Bastione

I'm missing the Sicilian weather already. As much as I love Newcastle, I'm very much a fan of hot weather, and the 35 degrees in Sicily suited me nicely. Likewise, I don't think I can ever have ice cream in the UK again after 2 weeks of Italian gelato. And oh how I miss the coffee. I feel very invigorated after the fieldwork. Despite the depressing news we received while were away, the excavation reminded me of everything that originally got me interested in archaeology. Travelling, the excitement of discovery, and the satisfaction of successfully completing hard work. This is my first year of involvement in the project, but I hope to dedicate time to it over the next few years (not just because of the gelato and coffee, though that does help). As I am sure you have guessed, my role in the project is to conduct a series of pilot geoarchaeological studies to investigate the formation processes of some of the more unusual deposits and features on site. The first of these is a series of pits, which were initially thought to be connected to metalworking but don't seem to have any metalworking residues. Perhaps they were related to processing some other product, or maybe for storage? Another focus are various 'burning' deposits. There are also some floors and occupation surfaces, though excavation is not yet at a stage where I can collect samples for these - it's good to be around from the beginning though, so we can mark out plinth areas that will make sampling much easier next year or the year after.

As well as the formation processes and activities within the building, I am interested in the site from an environmental perspective, and looking at the types of fuel resources people were using. The site is much later than a lot of my work on this particular question, and it will be interesting to see how it compares, both in terms of the results, and the applicability of the methodological approach I developed in the Near East. The environments, whilst not identical, are similar in many ways.

What's that black stuff?
Do not dig area - a small section of deposits to be left in situ for future micromorphology sampling




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