Monash archaeological fieldwork in Italy
During July 2014, Paul headed over to Italy to join with Dr Andrea Di Castro and 23 students from Monash University to assist with the Archaeological Fieldwork in Tuscany: Introduction to the Etruscan civilisation unit that the Centre for Archaeology, Ancient History and Classics offers. He was accompanied by Amanda Groff (Department of Anthropology, University of Central Florida) who also volunteered as an assistant. The fieldwork component of the unit was conducted at the site of Pietramarina in Carmignano, by invitation and under the direction of Dr Maria Chiara Bettini (Comune di Carmignano).
The unit program began in Rome where students toured ancient sites such as the Forum and visited the Vatican and Villa Giulia museums, both of which hold highly significant Etruscan collections. On the journey north to Prato, the group became acquainted with the Etruscan necropolises of Cerveteri and Tarquinia, and also visited at the Tarquinia National Museum. Site and museum visits in Tuscany included the Archaeological Museum of Florence, the tumulus of Montefortini, Prato and the Museum of Artimino, Carmignano, which contains impressive Etruscan displays and artefacts from the region including Pietramarina.
Excavations took place at Pietramarina over the course of 13 days, which is a site perched upon one of the crests of the scenic Montalbano and covered by forest. During this time the students were quick to learn the processes of excavation and received instruction in stratigraphic identification, sorting artefacts, recording, drawing, site planning and level instrumentation. Paul reports that the group was very pleasant, eager to learn and that the students applied themselves incredibly well on site. Some very important artefacts were found during the excavations and this created quite a buzz for all to enjoy, especially for the Italian excavators.