Tuesday, July 14, 2009

Fieldwork Update July 15

Hello everyone,
well fieldwork for this season is over in Pompeii. It was a wonderful two weeks working in the ancient city as part of an important archaeological and historical research project. I would have liked to have posted more from the city however, internet is not quite as reliable as it is here at home. I will post more information about my work and field experience in the next week or so and also post a few more activities and discussion starters using some of the sources I saw and/or worked on over the summer.
I will also be adding some information about other excavations and sites around the Vesuvian region and a few things about the city of Rome.
There are also a few more articles of interest I will post including information from field reports from some of the current projects happening in Pompeii and the region.
Also coming up will be a review of the "A Day in Pompeii" exhibition in Melbourne, after my students and I have been to visit in August.


Monday, July 6, 2009

Activity 4: Recognising house features.

Explain what feature of a Pompeiian House is seen in the picture. Describe the importance and use of such a feature in everyday life in Pompeii.

Activity 3: Garum

Garum was produced in Pompeii on a commercial basis. It was imported to other areas around the Mediterranean. Here is a dolia still with garum residue in it today. Describe what Garum was and track down a recipe on the internet.

Food in Pompeii

Mr Avery from Bonnyrigg High School sent me an email requesting details about food in Pompeii. A nice question considering my work these past two weeks.
Mr Avery wanted to know the basic food eaten during the day in Pompeii and would a mid day meal resemble anything like a staff morning tea.
Well Mr Avery, to be simple and straight to the point, no it wouldn't. Some types of food in Pompeii were staple to the diet such as bread and other grains. Mid day meals were not a large concern as the evening meal was usually the highlight of the day. Social status often determined what types of food you consumed and how large a meal that might be. In other Roman areas we assume that communal banquets occurred however as of yet there is no real evidence for it in Pompeii.
Meat of some kind was desirable but consisted of usually wild game such as pork, deer or some fowl available in the nearby forest or on the riverfront. Fish of course, being a seaside city, would have been a staple meat. One tour guide the other day pointed out to a group of tourists that the ovens were used for baking bread and pizza. Let me assure you that although it may be possible at a staff morning tea, pizza was not cooked in Pompeii's ovens.
Sweet cakes were also baked however chocolate was not a treat for anyone in Europe in ancient times.
The area around Pompeii was famous for its Garum (fish sauce) and also wine production. I had a chance to eat Garum on pasta this evening. Quite tasty really. Market gardens within the city and on the outside of the walls also supplied the population with fresh vegetables and fruits. More than just a little garnish for the plates.
Hope this helps answer your question.

Field Update July 6, 2009

Hi all,
well the internet has been unavailable for the last couple of days but here I am again. The last few days have been interesting. We did the Herculaneum visit late last week and I will be posting some amazing photos of the Suburban Baths as well as the Theatre and Bassilica.
Friday was a short day in the scavi again due to the custodians needing to do Friday lunch and lock up those houses we were in.
The weekend was great. Maybe lounging around the pool would have been the order of the weekend however as intrepid explorers we decided on a more adventurous weekend. Saturday saw 8 of us climb to the crater of Mount Vesuvius. This was not the easiest of tasks but a lot of fun and the final reward of looking into the crater made it worthwhile. Sunday was spent in Sorrento immersing ourselves in local culture and doing that souvenier shopping.
Back at the Scavi again today and it was the hottest day out there yet. Archaeology in 30+ degree temperatures is not exactly the most enjoyable. We rotated team assignments and I am now on the measuring and drawing team. As the job descriptions suggest I am responsible for measuring the features of each room we research and mapping them. I also had a chance to be working in some closed areas of Region 8 today separate from our research in Region 1 and made a few amazing discoveries including some human remains. Hard to actually describe the feeling of coming across the remains of someone. I will post a picture or two of what I found over the next day or two, in a section dealing with ethics.

Until next time.

Thursday, July 2, 2009

Field Update July 2, 2009

another beautiful day in Campania although last night we had a huge downpour. Today only minimal work is happening in the scavi as the team is heading off to Herculaneum. After a meeting with the Herculaneum Conservation Project I will be heading into a few off limits areas including the Theatre, Ancient beachfront, Suburban Baths and a few of the houses. I hope I can bring you pictures of these areas. I will also be blogging some activities based on what you can find in Herculaneum.

Remember Herculaneum is a very different city to Pompeii and in many ways much better preserved. If your HSC question asks you to refer to it then you should. Make sure you know some of its features.

My work this season has been fun so far and exciting. I have been working this week as the team's features photographer using both b&w and colour film. I am also part of a remediation team that is revisiting past areas investigated by the project and filling in gaps. This task actually took me to Reg VI yesterday to look at work done in 2001. I was shocked and sad at the devestation of the area. In 2001 many of these houses and shops were investigated and had locked gates and intact. Many of them were open to the public. Yesterday on revisiting I discovered that many had collapsed and were now rubble. All this in only 8 years. Features such as ovens, restored in 1976, are now rubble again. This highlights the plight of the site with lack of resources to conserve it. 2 workers yesterday were valiantly trying to do just that. Its like putting your finger into a 3 foot hole to stop leaking.

Activity 2: Streetscape

In this picture taken early yesterday morning as we arrived at the scavi for work I managed to get a street (usually very busy) almost devoid of people.

This is the start (or end depending on your direction) of the Via dell' Abbondanza as it reaches the forum. What can you say about this part of the road in the photo source and comment on why it is so.