Thursday, June 30, 2016

A Fun Story About Locks and Limes

I'm Eli Jenkinson and here's a fun anecdote about locks and Limes!

“It’s the start of day three on site and as always its an early start to the morning. Alarm goes off at 6 am and it’s time to start getting ready. Thankfully I had packed my bag the night before so I didn’t have to put any mental effort into that. I had already dressed, eaten breakfast and brushed my teeth, time to get a move on. Getting down the stairs and out the gate, with a short walk to the bus, were the only things left between me and a nap on the way to site. As I walked through the gate I did a quick touch test to make sure the most important things are in my backpack and of course I’m missing something. Oh no! It’s my water bottle. I hustle back up to our third story apartment to get it while trying not to make the bus late. I’m out of the building and rushing to the bus. Thankfully it’s 6:43 and I can see the last group just getting onto the bus, I’m not going to keep anyone waiting! Trust me, you never want to be the one holding up the bus. Then I hear “ELI!”. I whip around having no idea who is shouting my name but I realize it is coming from an apartment balcony. It’s Emily Lime! In a very animated matter she shouts “Help me! I’m locked in our apartment! Tell someone to come get me.” So I double my hustle and hop onto the bus. I tell Darcy and Emily Sharp, who are conveniently both in charge and roommates with Emily Lime, that she needs help. They get her out quickly and we’re off to site. As I nod off to sleep I assume the problems of the locks are over, boy was I wrong. 


Emily’s bad luck with the locks persisted into the day on site. She is the finds intern this season and when she went to get the items out of the finds hut for the day on site that lock broke too! The finds team had to improvise, and a mighty fine job they did at it, until a locksmith was able to come bust the lock. This seemed insane to have Emily have such bad luck with two completely different locks but it transferred itself one more time before the eventful day was over. There is a phone, think old flat face style, that the interns have for contact with the directors if needed at anytime. This thing is very old and the interns hadn’t been able to figure out how to lock it but after just a few minutes with Emily Lime locks them out of it! It seemed too strange to be true. Thankfully Emily Lime has not had anymore problems with the locks but it is quite interesting that things really do come in threes.”

Sunday, February 14, 2016

Gabii Project at Penn

J. Marilyn Evans (Swarthmore College) will give a talk in a colloquium organized by the Department of Classical Studies at the Univeristy of Pennsylvania. The talk, titled "Buried Among the Living: Intramural Burial in Archaic Gabii", will offer a reappraisal of the role of intramural burial in urban development, based on recent finds from the Gabii Project excavations. 

The event is scheduled for February 18, 4:30-6:00 p.m. (402 Cohen Hall). More details here.

Tuesday, January 5, 2016

Gabii Project at the 117th AIA Annual Meeting

Jason Farr will present a paper titled "Lapis Gabinus: Quantifying the Economy of a Roman Tufo Quarry." The presentation is part of Session 3F - The Economics and Logistics of Roman Art and Architecture, and is scheduled for Thursday, January 7th 2:10 p.m. (Plaza Room A, Lobby Level).

Giulia Peresso and Arianna Zapelloni Pavia are scheduled to give a presentation on "Decay or Repurposing of a Roman City: Gabii in Late Antiquity" in Session 6G - From Foundation to Decay: Town-Planning and Urban Development in Ancient Italy on Friday, January 8th 4:15 p.m. (Plaza Room A, Lobby Level).

J. Troy Samuels and Matt Naglak will talk about "Dress to Impress: Elite Status and Textile Production at Early Gabii" in Session 7F - Textiles, Dress and Adornment in Antiquity  on Saturday, January 9th 8:50 a.m. (Yosemite Ballroom A).

Open to all Gabii aficionados attending the meeting!

Tuesday, August 4, 2015

A Perfect Season Comes to an End

It will be a hectic time on site this week until the very moment we finally drop the curtain, but one thing is clear already: this has been a very successful season! After seven straight seasons the archaeological levels in the so-called Area D have been completely excavate, reaching the natural deposits across the entire sector. We now have documented an uninterrupted sequence stretching back to the phase of Gabii's formation. Another major achievement is the conclusion of excavation activities in the Area F building. Our research group looks forward to the next step: study and publication! On the other hand, the important results from Area C have already opened new avenues for the expansion of the excavation areas in 2016. The future fieldwork will provide more evidence on the urban history of the urban core, addressing new research questions.


Such incredible accomplishments would not have been possible without the hard work, unwavering enthusiasm, and passion for archaeology of our 2015 crew. Thank you all! We hope that you will keep in touch with the Gabii Project, and we are looking forward to welcoming you back in the field next year if you wish. A special farewell goes to our long-time friend, supporter and staff member Diane Tincu. We celebrated Diane during our end-of-dig lunch party. To honor her, the project decided to officially name one of the buildings excavated in previous years on site after her: from now on, the Area B House will be known as the Diane Tincu Building. Thank you Diane! We hope you'll change your mind and join us again next season...



Thursday, July 16, 2015

The Gabii Project is back!

If you are a friend of the Gabii Project, you will have seen from our facebook posts that a lot has been going on on site for the past four weeks! After a stint of preparatory work with staff only, a team of 40 students joined us on Monday June 29th for our seventh straight season of excavation at Gabii.



Despite the recent heat wave, activities in the three excavation sectors are progressing with the same enthusiasm ever since. The Area D group is completing the investigation of a cluster of Early Iron Age huts, whose stratified sequence is providing tantalizing new evidence on the earliest phases of city formation at Gabii. The Environmental Lab team is processing dozens of samples from these deposits, which will help us reconstruct the function of the structures, economic patterns, and ancient diet. In neighboring Area C, we reopened a trench first excavated in 2009-2012, which revealed a large atrium house. We are now exploring the Early Republican levels of the city-block, and we hope to reach into the same Archaic deposits attested in Area D. In Area F, three rooms of the monumental public building brought to light in the past two seasons remain to be documented. Once this will have been accomplished, we will have a complete picture of this exceptionally important building. Meanwhile, the Topo team is producing scores of photomodels (we are over 1000 now...). It is a busy time in the Finds Lab too, with washing pottery in the morning and sorting, drawing and studying the finds in the afternoon.

Several visitors and friends came to see the progress of the excavation, including Kim Bowes and Richard Hodges, Lisa Fentress, and David Potter, who gave a lecture on Epigraphy to our students. We were particularly pleased to welcome a group of children participating in the Summer Camp of the Children's Hospital of Padova.

Ciao for now!


Tuesday, August 5, 2014

Android Tablets at Gabii

BY J. TROY SAMUELS, PhD student in the Interdepartmental Program in Classical Art and Archaeology, University of Michigan

Buon Giorno from Rome! This summer, the Gabii Project, a University of Michigan archaeological excavation and field school, undertook our sixth full season of fieldwork focused on the ancient Latin city of Gabii. Directed by University of Michigan professor Nicola Terrenato, this large-scale open area excavation aims to both increase our understanding of this city, a neighbor and rival to Rome in the first millennium BCE, and educate students in archaeological method, theory, Roman history, and myriad other topics. To that end, this season we welcomed forty-two volunteers from a variety of undergraduate and graduate colleges and universities to Rome, who, along with various staff members, spent the last five weeks significantly expanding our understanding of the city of Gabii, its people, and its history.

Gabii Project 2014 Team
Gabii Project 2014 Team

Alongside the normal challenges and opportunities offered by such a large-scale undertaking, the 2014 edition of the project featured a massive shift in recording strategies. Instead of the paper forms used in previous seasons, this year we decided to go paperless in the field. All data was recorded exclusively on four Panasonic Toughpads and seven Android tablets. Despite early trepidations, perhaps best exemplified by the Seven Deadly Sin–themed names assigned to the seven Android tablets, this new system has proved highly successful. Paperless recording not only cut down on off-site data entry but also encouraged a degree of student autonomy in information gathering and recording. The individual nature of tablet data entry encouraged students to attempt to record and understand the archaeology on their own terms before seeking the help of their supervisors. By the end of the second week, it was commonplace to see five students on their own tablets, independently entering data pertaining to the stratigraphic unit they had excavated by themselves. The presence of excellent students helped this transition go smoothly, and paperless recording will certainly be a feature at Gabii for years to come.

Matt Naglak (University of Michigan, IPCAA) creates a photo model while Dr. Marilyn Evans (ICCS) instructs Rachel Goldstein (Yale University) in her work on “Wrath,” the Android tablet.
Matt Naglak (University of Michigan, IPCAA) creates a photo model while Dr. Marilyn Evans (ICCS) instructs Rachel Goldstein (Yale University) in her work on “Wrath,” the Android tablet.

In terms of archaeological discovery, this season was also highly successful. The large size of the project allows for two distinct areas of excavation, Area F, focused on expanding our understanding of the monumental complex revealed last season, and Area D, focused on an occupation area from the early, formative phases of the city. While vastly different in terms of surviving architecture and excavation method, both areas continue to provide important information that will shape our understanding of the cities and people of first-millennium BCE central Italy. We are excited both about the many things we uncovered and the future seasons that will help us continue to better understand the multifaceted, fascinating material history of this important site.

For more information please visit our websites, Facebook page, or read our wonderful student blogs.

http://gabiiproject.org/
http://sitemaker.umich.edu/gabiiproject/home
https://www.facebook.com/gabii.project
http://agergabinus.blogspot.it/

This post was adapted from Troy Samuels' post to The Kelsey Museum's blog.

Tuesday, July 15, 2014

The Gabii Project: Archaeology in The Information Age

Racel Opitz demonstrates use of the tablets to students .
Racel Opitz demonstrates use of the tablets to students .

Rachel Opitz doesn’t dig much at Gabii, but rather records. Leading a core team of four, her topography, data entry, and photogrammetric modelling unit is tasked with the construction of a digital database on a large scale.

“We have scale issues,” Rachel chuckles, “Well, they’re not issues because the method works.”
Rachel’s team has implemented strategies and introduced technologies aimed at increasing efficiency within The Gabii Project to support a large open area excavation. They upgrade software and propose new methods nearly every field season. Most recently, Rachel brought tablet technology to the scene, replacing almost all of the paper recording formerly done in the trenches with direct to digital recording on Panasonic ToughPads and Android tablets, linked in real-time to the project’s ARK database and GIS system.

“One of the reasons we were able to open such a large excavation area as is that the recording is just so fast,” Rachel states plainly. “You can answer very different archaeological questions working at this scale”

Several forms of digital recording can be uploaded and processed in real-time using the current configuration.
Several forms of digital recording can be uploaded and processed in real-time using the current configuration.

The Gabii Project isn’t the only dig using digital recording. Excavations at Çatalhöyük and Pompeii—to name a couple high-profile cases—are also making use of similar systems, and such methods have been increasingly adopted in recent years. In Rachel’s opinion, what sets The Gabii Project apart is Program Director Nicola Terrenato’s insistence on using these systems extensively from the beginning.

“More and more people are doing some variant on what we’re doing, and that’s a good thing. Of course we try to stay at the forefront, so five years from now we’ll be doing something totally different.”

You can follow Rachel’s work at: http://gabiiserver.adsroot.itcs.umich.edu/gabiigoesdigital/

This post was adapted from James Reslier-Wells'  post to The 2014 International Day of Archaeology on behalf of The Gabii Project.