2008 TRENCHES NW 2 and NW 3 - North West Slope Project
Field Supervisor: Phil Perkins, The Open University, London


Field Supervisor Phil Perkins explains NW 3 to students and staff

Poggio Colla 2008 North West Slope project

In 2008 the Poggio Colla North West Slope project aimed to re-investigate an area previously explored in 1999-2001 on the slopes of the hill. Here, artifacts from the later 7th century had been found following rainstorms that had eroded parts of the hillside. The previous excavations had discovered many artifacts but had not been able to ascertain the nature of the site or the origin of the finds. To try to find answers to these unresolved questions the area was reinvestigated in 2008.

The area surrounding the earlier excavations was first reinvestigated through surface artifact collection and coring of the sub-soil. Just as in 1999, artifacts were found eroding from the surface of the nearby track, following the heavy rains of May-June 2008. Coring was used to identify areas where archaeological deposits were preserved and to clarify the geomorphological development of the North West slope of Poggio Colla. This work found that there was approximately 2m of sediments preserved on the terrace of the hill slope and that the top 1m was relatively recent hill-wash and devoid of archaeological material. Below this layer archaeological deposits were identified over much of the terrace. As a result of these findings a small trench NW 2 was excavated 6m to the south of the 2001 excavation. This 2 X 1m trench revealed a possible wall with a gravelly surface to either side that provided evidence for human activity around the end of the seventh century BCE.

Trench NW 2, final photo. View from north.

A larger trench NW 3 was opened immediately to the south of the 2001 trench to further investigate possible traces of structures that been found. The excavation removed 17,5 cubic metres of sediment and found two post holes, at least two layers of floor level and evidence of quarrying activity all from the second half of the seventh century BCE. The excavation recovered numerous ceramic artifacts including Bucchero tableware, utilitarian wares and spindle whorls.

Students excavating in Trench NW 3 during Week 2


Ceramic sherds found crushed beneath a stone in Trench NW 3


Closer view of stones in Trench NW 3

The strata and the surrounding area were also surveyed for magnetic susceptibility and sampled for phosphates. These analyses should reveal the locations of human activities involving fires and the disposal of refuse or animal husbandry. The results of the excavation on the North West Slope now await analysis.

Students remove coring samples from Trench NW 2


South scarp of Trench NW 3


Avery Cota conducts magnetic susceptibility survey in NW 3


Excavation complete in Trench NW 3. View from west.