Sept. 29th: Cerveteri

Ciao!

After a very busy week of traveling throughout Tuscany, our first road trip of the term has come to an end. Early this morning, we packed our bags in Tarquinia and headed back to Rome. Before reaching Rome, however, we had one final stop, Cerveteri — or as the Romans called it Caere. Originally, Cerveteri was a very important and prominent southern Etruscan city due to its port in Pyrgi. Because of Pyrgi, Cerveteri gained prominence through its trading practices throughout the Mediterranean and near East.

As we climbed off the bus at the Necropolis known as the Banditaccia Cemetery (650-100 B.C.) eager to explore the acres of tumuli, dark ominous clouds rolled in with threats of an imminent downpour. In an attempt to beat the rain, we quickly headed into the first tomb (The Tomb of the Thatched Hut, early 7th century B.C.) to discuss the layout of the Necropolis and create a hasty exit strategy in the event of a complete washout. The Necropolis itself contained tumuli dating from the 7th and 6th centuries B.C., as well as a few from the 4th century B.C. and offered hours upon hours of exploration. Given the weather forecast, however, we settled on spending about an hour and a half exploring on our own and then meeting at the Tomb of the Capitals for Aaron’s presentation.

With raingear in hand, we broke off into groups of three or four to explore the Necropolis. Some groups went to the Tomba della Cornice (late 6th century B.C.) to obtain the measurements and details necessary to complete one of two prompts for our second paper while others wandered through the Necropolis, popping into and out of tombs along the way. It was during these explorations that we came face to face with a very creepy hooded manikin lurking in the corner of one of the tombs! After the initial shock (and a few of us actually running out of the tomb), a few brave individuals went back into the tomb for a closer look and realized the figure was part of a recreation of an Etruscan burial ceremony. Either way, still creepy ….

Remarkably by this time the rain was still being held at bay, so we headed to the Tomb of the Capitals (mid-late 6th century B.C). Aaron’s presentation provided us with an in depth look into the plan of the tomb as well as a comparison with other tombs at the Necropolis as well as other tombs we had seen on the Road Trip. Not wishing to test our luck, we hurried to the Tomb of The Reliefs (4th century B.C.), grabbed a quick snack at the bar, and headed back to the bus.

Back in Rome, we said goodbye to Carlo, our lively driver, and made our way back to the apartments to unpack and settle in for the evening. An attempt was made to watch Indiana Jones: Raiders of the Lost Ark but we were all so exhausted that few of us actually stayed awake for the entire movie. We had a wonderful week of traveling throughout Tuscany but it’s nice to be back in Rome for the next couple of weeks.

Until next time!

Elizabeth (aka Liz)

 

Photos:

Although the sky was gray and bleak, the group ventured forth along the paths of the Banditaccia Necropolis.

 

Bridget-Kate creates a ring of flowers in hopes of warding off the rain.

 

Teddy is not impressed with the exterior moulding on this tumulus.

 

Just chillin' in the dromos, observing the side chambers and fending off spiders.

 

Group photo time!

 

Some of these tombs are very dark and quite creepy. At least this one didn't have a fake mannequin in it.

 

Aaron lectures on the “palatial” architecture seen in the Tomb of the Capitals.

 

Jiyoung is thrilled to see the wonders within the tomb. So exciting!

 

Then spirits were dampened by the arrival of another pop quiz.

 

Tombe a dado, known for their cube-like shapes and consecutive placement along a street, are the ancient equivalent of a condominium complex in the Banditaccia Necropolis.

 

Of course, no visit to Cerveteri is complete without a gathering of cats outside the entrance gate.

 

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Sept. 28th: Tarquinia, Norchia

​Early this morning, seven to ten alarms went off, alerting the various pods of FSPers to the the arrival of a new day, and a new batch of archaeological investigations. This road trip, with its long days steadily stretched as if on some wonderful ratchet, is sadly nearing its final tooth. Roused from our slumber, we assembled in the Lobby of the Hotel Tarconte wearing faces as faded as the wall paintings of the Etruscan Tomb of the Monkey, dress in palls of disbelief: could it only have been so few days ago that we set out for Tuscany? Could there only be so few hours left on our voyage?

​The atmosphere's gloom was only compounded by the tone of the sky, a mess of soggy gray in every quadrant. We stepped outside into the wet, chill air, and we smelled rain. We had been ten hours without WiFi. Teddy Henderson, who was sent to present his oral report on the furniture of the Bocchoris tomb, was nowhere in sight. Things were not looking good.

​But it was a matter of small time before our luck reversed itself. Unlike so many other days, when we would embark upon our bus, trusty Carlo our helmsman, as would Helios careening in his chariot across the horizon, this day we marched, slouched and rubbing the sleep out of our eyes, across the town of Tarquinia, summoning up from the wells of our souls the first embers of our vital forces.

​As we set foot in the courtyard of the archaeological museum, we were greeted by two strange but familiar faces, calling out in joy from the ramparts. Lo, twas none other than Lucas Dube, face freshly shaved and shimmering with all the glow of a slice of authentic Tuscan mozzarella! By his side stood Teddy, whose absence had already born down sharply on the hearts of our merry band, taking this author as its sorriest victim. He was there, he was prepared, and he had been awake since 3AM, having striven in earnest to add the perfect finishing garnishes to his oral presentation.

​Just when it appeared our circumstances could not be improved, did we discover that today, of all days, was National Italian Museum day! This made our entrance free! Quoth Professor Ulrich “This is a good thing. But it is also a bad thing.” This author can only speculate that the latter segment of his evaluation is owed to the fact that our tickets for that day were already paid for with departmental funding.

​We entered the museum and took a peek at a few recent excavations from the eighties which upon their initiation, had a apparently caused more than a bit of excitement, including variety of mysterious slabs called “lastrone scala”, speculated to have been parts of stairs leading down into tombs. We proceeded to an outer ring of the courtyard, where Professor Ulrich introduced us to a little geographical history, and our paper topics. How tickling to discover that our own hotel was named for Tarcon, the quasi-mythological founder of the great twelve Etruscan cities, which dominated the region before Roman hegemony!

​At the terminus of his talk, Ulrich gestured toward the several Etruscan sarcophagi which flanked us along the corridor, topped with their characteristic humanoid forms reclining as if at a banquet. Il nostro professore made the humorous remark that the aforementioned sarcophagi seemed to position themselves in as much attention to his speech as we students proper. A hearty chuckle was shared by all.

​One of the first rooms we entered housed a bit of a throw-back to the infant days of the FSP: an indulgent display of the artifacts of Villanovan culture. FSPers who'd held tight to their memories of the National Museum and the Villa Giulia would recognize hut urns, biconicals and those especially sharp of eye, honed of wit and handsome of face, the trope of a pair of yoked oxen, rendered in miniature behind their driver, laying down anything from a quotidian trench to the pomerium, the boundary demarcating grounds fit to bury the dead from the grounds of the city.

​In a later room, a great frenzy went up at the Greek drinking vessels decorated with scenes of symposia. These would prove vital as thematic foils to the funereal banqueting scenes we would inspect later in the day at the Necropolis.

​A stern guard repeatedly told us not to take photographs, even without our cameras' flash on, a stipulation which this author ranked with respect to frustration just above “sticky wicket” and just under “swift kick in the teeth.” Later, when perusing the items of the gift shop, he happened upon a bit of a clue as to the restriction: several of the images from the vessels, including one especially vulgar depiction of a man and woman enjoying a spot of transcendental carnal unity, were on sale as posters. The museum, then, may have held some financial interest in keeping us from bringing home the pictures for free.

​At some point in our travels along the second level, Mr. Henderson delivered a presentation on his appointed topic so informative, well-structured and entertaining that this author can scarcely recall just at what point he delivered it. Mr. Henderson's presentation was much enriched by his rigorous and comprehensive aptitude in Egyptology, a background with which no doubt his many associates can claim warm familiarity.

​On the third level, we were audience to the greatest treat of all: multiple Etruscan tombs, with their wall paintings transplanted, were reconstructed in open, controlled air for our scholarly pleasure. It was here that we sat in awe as Miss Elizabeth Twomey of Louisiana performed her own introduction and interpretation of the wall paintings of the so-called Tomb of the Triclinium. This author was so engrossed by its decorations that he lingered on the site for a full half-hour past the presentation's end.

​Just after the clock rang noon, we congregated across the street from the museum. Someone had purchased a little carton of almonds that appeared to be coated in a delightful, sugary glaze, and was passing them around. Miss Cara Labrador sprung upon the moment to seek out some bubble gum, but was rudely turned around by a grumpy newspaper vendor. There is no room on the FSP for bad attitudes, so this author swore to banish the sour interaction from his memory.

​After a much longer walk than the first, we found ourselves at the Etruscan necropolis at Tarquina. Famished and pained, we made a beeline for the snack bar, horrified to discover that the previous group to move through had robbed us of all the panini! This author was forced to lunch on paltry potato chips and ice cream, which he did severely–and righteously disgruntled.

​The next hour and a half were dedicated to hunting deep down underground into the cool and eerie tombs. Behind a plate of plexiglass, one could spy wall paintings as they were left two and a half millenia ago. Deciphering their meaning lies perhaps beyond even the fiercest of epistemological engines, but the images of dogs and birds, grapes and vines, men and women reclining in relaxed attire, certainly provoke any number of stock Dionysian scenes.

​The sentimental dandy that he is, this author found himself as rigidly fixed before not two but three especially violet tombs, lost in a cautious and curious wonder, only interrupted by the entrance of other tourists descending to join him in speculation, tourists no doubt making the most of National Free Museum Day.

​As this section of the adventure was wrapping up, a few lucky of us got to hear a few words from Miss Kathleen L. Wahl (no one is quite sure what the L signifies. Perhaps Lazio. Perhaps Larth. Perhaps it is the Roman numeral for 50). While in the Tomb of the Leopards (perhaps Leopard), she had noticed the presence of both a lion and a leopard. Famous for her pep and eagerness to run the mythological calculus, she surmised that the lion might metonymically stand in for Ercole (Heracles to ye unknowing masses) and the leopard just in the way fashion might stand in for Dionysos. The implications of this conclusion are certainly tantalizing. Let us hope there is some elaborate future for her theory! (Can I get a thesis?)

​Back on the bus. This author, currently fuming at the fifteen, maybe sixteen mixed nuts he received in a box whose dimensions promised upwards of thirty-five, is also mightily displeased at the proportion of cashews to peanuts. If you, dear reader, count not the nurturing of scholastic camaraderie, the singing of songs and the cracking of many a finely-composed jest noteworthy items for the internet log that is our present endeavor, suffice to say then, by your own lights, nothing important happened until we found ourselves parked ten miles off in the hills. Professor Ulrich stood up, bade us leave our notebooks in our seats, and said that all we needed to know was the name of our location: Norchia.

​After a swift hike along a fence running across a field surrounded by scalloped fields and foggy, hyacinth mountains, we arrived at a gigantic ravine, the slopes of which were heavily wooded. Here, just like anything else, were the barest relics of a people whose lives predated all the trappings of life to which we are accustomed. Carved right out of and into the living rock were nearly a hundred spaces of uncertain function. Some which ran straight into the ground may well have been tombs while others might have served commercial or residential purposes. The whole site was dressed in heavy fantasy, as many of the most elaborate structures lay behind thick brush or down long, narrow, uniniviting paths. Professor Ulrich let us loose to explore the heights and depths of the sight, and each of us collected a unique experience.

​This author took a chance and ventured over the far side of the ravine, and then down into a second, where he found not only multiple resplendent dwelling places, but also an enormous, imposing and dilapidated old church, from a century whose detection is out of the grasp of his sensitivity. As we rode the bus home to the the Hotel Tarconte, we laughed and shared pictures, ready to eat, do a little reading and head to sleep.

​A wedding has taken place in Tarquinia today. This morning we saw a caravan of honking,decorated cars rushing down the road before as we shared almonds in good cheer. As the sun sinks into the ocean, a brass band plays in the street—it might be the final celebration of matrimony. But even as our trip closes out with the setting of the sun and the death of two strangers' former modes of life, we are reminding to unlearn the idea of ending. The sun is at all times rising and at all times setting. These, as one FSPer was heard to say to another, these are the good old days.

-Aaron

 

Photos (courtesy of Kathleen):

Taking notes and blocking corridors. Such a common occurrence on the FSP.
 
Etruscan demon, otherwise known as a Carun. Apparently the blue skin could represent decaying flesh. Gross.
 
The banqueting scenes in the Tomb of the Triclinium have seen better days.
 
 
Taking pictures of these tombs before the timed light shuts off is quite a challenge.
 
 
The Tomb of the Leopards: Voted Number 1 in Tarquinia by Kathleen Wahl, Etruscan tomb painting extraordinaire.
 
Brett tries to locate the Ara della Regina in the Tarquinian countryside. Easier said than done.
 
Such looks of utter disdain. Perhaps Teddy and Aaron are still upset over the lack of WIFI at the hotel.
 
 
The fearless leaders guide the group to the ruined tombs of Norchia.
 
 
Information plaques with cool diagrams are always appreciated.
 
 
No hike is complete without a photo op on a tiny, crowded pathway.
 
 
Tombs carved into the side of cliffs definitely receive an “A” on the wow factor scale.
 
 
Teddy casually poses while searching for medieval pottery sherds. NBD.
 
 
Stunning, sunsoaked heights, filled to the brim with creepy-crawlies.
(Photo and caption provided by Mr. Aaron Pellowski)
 
Cool tombs? Check. Lots of bugs? Check. Perilous climbs on narrow staircases? Check.
Just another day in the life of a FSPer.
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 




 

Sept. 27th: Cosa, Tarquinia

We left bright and early to set foot on the Roman colonial site of Cosa, overlooking the coast of the ancient site of Vulci, located 140km northwest of Rome on the coast of the Tyrrhenian Sea. According to several historical sources, it was established in 273 B.C., after the acquisition of Vulci by the Romans. According to legendary American archeologist, Frank Brown (who’s reputation of wearing his notable beret preceded him), this frontier colony was one of the first founded by the Romans on “virgin rock,” where there was no previous settlement on the site. Such colonial origin allows us to observe purely Roman influences on the buildings, site layout, and material, which makes Cosa a very valuable archeological site for studying Early Republican architecture and urban organization. This in turn can give us indications of the corresponding buildings and spaces in Rome during the Republic, assuming that the architecture at Cosa was imitating those of Rome.

The site was initially settled by 2500 families, totaling approximately 9000 people. These colonists would have been allotted 2-3 acres of land, and only about 300 families would have actually lived regularly within the walls of the colony.

Cosa itself is located approximately 131m above sea level, and due to the inability of our bus to get through a tunnel on our drive to the site, our group had to trek up the steep hillside to reach the site. In addition to this defensible location on a hill, the limestone wall made of imposing polygonal masonry would have implanted second thoughts on an invading force. (Aside: Unfortunately, Cosa was sacked around 70 B.C., most likely by pirates). Cosa also had towers made of the same masonry and material, on which would have been presumably missile troops raining down on the invaders. The southern gate was built to have a bottleneck effect, which would have increased casualties for the invaders when they tried to breach the gates. The wall circuit follows the contours of the topography, but the town streets follow a Hippodamian plan or organization.

We then visited the museum to view the finds, which were characteristic of Early Republican Rome. The models in the museum of the forum area and the Capitolium were very helpful when we were trying to understand how these spaces would have looked like in antiquity.

The Capitolium was our next stop, during which we took our first pop quiz. Within the middle of the main cella, the favissa capitolina (the sacred pit where the colonists would have deposited their first burnt offerings of vegetation) was found. Presumably the favissa would have been deposited during the founding the town in 273 B.C. The Capitolium was dedicated around 240 B.C., and was built about a century later. This temple was one of the first examples of opus caementicium (i.e. cement, being used on a structure). The limestone was laid like bricks, but glued together with cement, and it still can be seen in the ruins. The large cistern within the temple porch, coated with opus signinum could still be seen. Cisterns at the arx of a town would have served both religious and defensive purposes. The molding of carved limestone was also impressive. In antiquity, this prominent structure would have been seen from the sea, glistening in white stucco: a symbol of wealth, power, and religious devotion to the gods. Also, the augura currum, the platform where the initial augury would have taken place, still remained for us to stand on.

We visited the rather small comitium, the temple to the goddess Concordia, and the basilica. The comitium was a circular set of stone steps that was in front of the curia (the senate house). The comitium was the place where the general assembly met, the curia was the place where the senate met. Our next stop was the basilica, which was one of the earliest ones found in Italy. The bascilica was a public center for settling disputes (at the tribunal in the back of the building) and commerce. It likely had two floors with a ambulatory and a central nave that was lighted by a clerestory system. How the roofing worked is still under speculation. Our last stop was the triple, arched gateway made of opus caementicium, where the marks of the wooden planks on the intrados could still be seen.

Our day ended on another beach, where we founded the Roman coastal city of Ephespidarius, in the year 2766 ab urbe condita (a.u.c.). Quntilius Immanuarius founded the city by digging the pomerium and doing the initial augury; he received approval from the gods to found the city on the site. He began to build the walls, until Bretinus Buskanius came over the walls and murdered Immanuarius. To appease the gods, he built the temple of Juppiter Optimus Maximus Desmus Lucinus Varus Marcus Septimius Aurelius Vero on the arx of the city. Others joined from lands near and far, including the traveling Egyptian soothsayer Tenderius Hendersonius (that is his Romanized name), who built the massive ziggurat and pyramid with the help of his companion Tomarus. The city started to expand with the help of Lucius Dubenus; a group of builders founded the forum, a curia, another wall circuit, an amphitheatre, multiple public works, and even excavated a Villanovan hut urn from the 9th century B.C. However, the murder of Immanuarius had angered Neptune, and the sea began to consume the walls of the city. Although the citizens of Ephespidarius made human sacrifices and built more structures to appease Neptune, it was no use. Eventually, Neptune released the titan, Lizaria, who destroyed the city before sunbreak with her mighty feet and appetite for cities of sand. The remains of Ephespidarius could still be seen today, and perhaps the 2015 FSP group may be able to study its remains.

Your epic historian,

Emmanuel

Photos (contributed by Yuhang):

Prepping for the introductory lecture, which for some meant catching their breath after running up the steep roads to the site of Cosa.

 

The Capitolium: once a lively center of religious activity in Cosa, but now the backdrop to the first FSP pop quiz.

 

Looks of despair during the quiz, followed shortly after by mutters of “What in the world is a columen plaque?”

 

“Tomba a ziro?! I'm CONVINCED that I wrote that down somewhere!”

**cue the sound of anxious flipping through notes**

 

Pop quiz over: the coast is clear.

 

Even from the back, the Capitolium is an impressive site to behold.

 

Group photo in the comitium!

 

Interesting wall at the back of the basilica. And by interesting, I really mean that we could not figure out what it belonged to.

 

Well, someone is displeased with the ruinous state of the forum gate.

 

Meandering in the entrance to the forum.

 

I spy with my little eye… A travertine voussoir!

 

Alas, beach time!

 

 

 

Sept. 26th: Populonia, Ruselle, Castiglione della Pescaia

​Hello all blog readers and blog skimmers! Buona sera and salvete from sunny, seaside Castiglione della Pescaia, our accommodations for this evening. Today was a more relaxed day, and still as interesting as every day has been.

​We began our day on the bus, leaving the city of Volterra in the middle of Tuscany for the western coast of Italy, at the ancient Etruscan site of Populonia. Specifically, we were interested in the tombs that form a necropolis for the city nearby. When Carlo, our lively bus driver got us to Populonia, we ran into some trouble. Due to a union meeting at the museum for the necropolis, we had kill an hour of time before we could see the tomb complex. We seized the moment, and headed to the nearby beach, where we frolicked and skipped stones in the Mediterranean. After drying off, we made our way to the necropolis, where a kind museum employee showed us around the site. We saw many tumuli, mound-shaped tombs of differing sizes, tombs made to look like houses, and one bone house made to look like a temple. Very cool stuff for us Classics nerds.

​Having departed, we headed towards the Roman colony (and former Etruscan city) of Rusella. The city used to be completely surrounded by a large wall made in a style called “Cyclopean masonry,” which means that the stones are large, rough, and fitted together to form a thick, heavy wall. Not the most refined of masonry, but for a wall, it gets the job done. We tramped up the main East-West road of the Roman city, the decumanus, and entered the forum space. Many of the building foundations were very well preserved, retaining about a foot of wall, and in many cases the mosaics that covered the floors of the houses that bordered the forum. There were also the remnants of a basilica, a large building used for law courts and shops, with a large tribunal area in the back, and a huge amphitheatre at the highest point of the city. The acoustics were so good in the theatre that every word we spoke echoed around even the shell of the old building.

​Now thoroughly exhausted, we were all too glad to reach our hotel in Castiglione della Pescaia, have a good Italian meal of pasta and chicken, and turn in for the night.

 

Valete, noble readers!K

-Thomas Rover

 

Photos (courtesy of Liz):

Beach time!
 
While some FSPers frolicked in the water…
 
Others sun bathed on land.
 
Finding the perfect stone to skip is also an essential beach activity.
 
Crawling into the tombs at Populonia was a little problematic for the taller members of our group.
 
Although confined behind the fence, Lucas gives this tomb his approval.
 
Cyclopean masonry! Look at those rocks!
 

Checkin' out mosaics at Ruselle.

 

Watching the sunset at Castiglione della Pescaia = the best way to end an action-packed day

 

Sept. 25th: Siena, Volterra

We awoke in Arezzo to a pre-packed breakfast of croissants and a very questionable peach juice. Carlo picked us up on the edge of the military zone surrounding our hotel and a one-hour bus ride west to Siena. While some updated their journals, others nodded off. Our long journey ended with the realization that we would have to pay just under 150 dollars to park our bus for an hour, and that a long upwards trek lay ahead of us if we wanted to get a glimpse of Siena.

 

After a seemingly endless hike up the side of the Tuscan hill, we came upon the duomo of Siena. The horizontal bands decorating its sides likened it to the duomo we had admired in Orvieto, although the 40 minute-long line to enter it indicated otherwise. The group was given three hours to wander the town, after which we would meet at the church to make our way to Volterra.

 

We split up into groups of three or four. Some roamed into the main piazza where the bareback horse races are held throughout the year. Others climbed the hundreds of steps of the tower looming over the town. Still others visited the sanctuary of Santa Caterina. Everywhere we went, a distinct medieval feel could be sensed. The banners and crests of the different Sienan neighborhoods – decorated with animals ranging from snails to owls – hung across the narrow streets, and baroque music could be heard echoing wherever we went. Most of us ended up lounging on the cobblestones of the piazza, and premium gelato was had by all. A few brave souls even ventured to try the celebrated local fruit cake: panforte.

 

After a leisurely morning and lunch in Siena – which, we all agreed, was well worth 150 dollars – we reunited with Carlo and dozed off for our hour-long bus ride to Volterra. We had finally reached the Mediterranean coast. Apart from being featured in the Twilight film saga, Volterra used to be a thriving Etruscan city center during the Archaic Period, and is now home to the Guarnaccio Museum. One of the most striking things about its history is that the population ancient town of Volterra – Volathri in Etruscan – was twice that of the present day.

 

We spent the afternoon at the Museum, whose highlights included a sarcophagus with a lid depicting a veristic elderly couple, an urn depicting the siege of Volterra by Sulla in 80 B.C., and a piece called “Umbra della sera.” This artifact, whose name stands for ‘shadow of the evening,’ is an elongated, thing bronze figurine of a well-endowed boy. It is one of the more famous artifacts in Volterra, and is thought to have been revered as a fertility figure. Other objects of note were a black-slip wine strainer and many vessels made from the famous local alabaster.

 

After a quick stop to observe the remains of one of the ancient gates of the city, we traversed the town at a brisk pace so as to reach the western ramparts, from which we were to watch the sun go down behind the hills. After a beautiful sunset we gobbled down a hearty hotel dinner that left no one hungry – Professor Ulrich, our fearless TA Katelyn, and Carlo included. All in all, it was another delightfully wearying day in charming old Tuscany.

-Cara

 

Photos (brought to you by Jin):

The Duomo in Siena captivates visitors of all ages.
 
The streets of Siena ring with the melodies of Italian musicians (and German tourist groups).
 
When the Campo isn't filled to the brim with horses and crowds during the Palio, it is a pleasant spot to grab a caffè and enjoy the morning sun.
 
Trying to figure out the sculptural program on the Duomo can be a mind boggling process…
 
Cara blends in with the Sienese locals.
 
Bridget-Kate makes friends with the local nuns.
 
Group photo at the back of the Duomo.
 
Lucas is the only one prepared for this photo.
 
Watching the sunset at Volterra is a much loved FSP tradition.
 
Jiyoung is overwhelmed by the beauty of nature (“I can't believe this happens every day!”)
 
Even Professor Ulrich is able to take a break from lecturing to relax and enjoy the views.
 
Liz braves the walls of the Balza to catch a better view of the sunset.

 

Sept. 24th: Chiusi, Arezzo

Ciao tutti,

Last night was our final night in Orvieto. Though it was a lovely city, we began our journey to Chiusi and Arezzo this morning, bright and early at 8:15am (earlier for those of us that needed coffee and food or wanted to watch the sun rise)!

Upon our arrival in Chiusi, we had a quick coffee and snack break and then learned about the history of Etruscan town at the steps of the Museo Etrusco. Chiusi (Clusium in Latin and Clevsin in Etruscan) was one of the twelve Etruscan cities. In 509 BCE, Tarquinius Superbus appealed to King Lars Porsena of Chiusi for help in regaining his control and power in Rome. In relation this, we disussed the efforts of Romans to preseve the Res Publica, including those of Gaius Lucius, Cloelia, and Horatius. The area is renowned for the “canopic” urns, several of which we saw in the museum. These urns would have acted as surrogate bodies for the deceased; they had heads for lids and in many instances attached limbs or were seated upon thrones. Inside the museum we also viewed a couple of funerary banqueting scenes and various sarcophagi.

We then proceeded to view the Tomb of the Monkey (dated to the 6th c. BCE) and the Pelligrina Tomb. The Tomb of the Monkey was carved into the bedrock and probably was decorated with various funerary game scenes (wrestling, boxing, and a woman seated with an umbrella overseeing it all); the roof of the tomb imitated that of wooden coffering. The Pelligrina Tomb (dated to the 4th-3rd c. BCE, and used into the 2nd c. BCE.) was looted in antiquity and reopened in 1928. Here we saw various sarcophogi that were left behindand witnessed a very different tomb plan than the Tomb of the Monkey. In this tomb the name Lars Sentinites Caesa was found, suggesting the use of the tri-part naming system (praenomen, nomen, and cognomen).

We checked into our appartments in Arezzo to drop of our bags, then we met in the amphitheater by the Museo Mecenate (where we noted the barrel vaulting and opus mixtum). After wandering around the museum and viewing all the examples of terra sigilata, the red figure volute crater depicting the amazonomachy by Euphronius, and an amazing Roman portrait on glass with gold etching. We then had the rest of the afternoon to ourselves! Some went to see the Francesco frescos, the duomo, and had incredible gelato. Tomorrow we leave for Siena and Volterra.

Until next time,

Kathleen

 

Photos (brought to you by the lovely Jiyoung):

“Canopic” urn from the Chiusi Musuem: cool, but also somewhat creepy.

 

The groups examines some funerary urns in the museum. At this point in the trip, they are becoming experts!

Brett casually awaits the group's entrance into the Tomb of the Monkey.

 

Thomas is ready to uncover the misteries in the Tomba della Pellegrina.

 

Amphitheater at Arezzo.

 

Barrel vaults in amphitheaters! Woot woot!

 

Piazza Grande in Arezzo

 

 

Sept. 23rd: Orvieto

Today was definitely a long day and yet we spent it all in Orvieto. We began the day early, and with a beautiful vista. Orvieto, as Teddy has probably told you, is a walled city, and we walked on one of its walls overlooking the Umbrian countryside. There Professor Ulrich gave us the background of the incredible city. It was the site of Volsinii, one of the greatest Etruscan cities back before Rome conquered peninsular Italy. If that is the case, then why is it called Orvieto? Well, the Romans, when they defeated the Volsinii, moved all their inhabitants to a different location and so Volsinii became Urbs Vetus (The Old City) which then became Italianized into Orvieto.

Post-discussion, we headed on down to the Belvedere Temple, so named for the view it had overlooking the southeast countryside. There, Cara gave a good explanation of the temple and how it agreed for the most part with the classic Etruscan temple plan, laid out by Vetruvius in his ten books on Roman architecture.

Shortly after, we headed down the hill to the Orvieto necropolis, where we saw a true necropolis. There were no open fields where we were told people were buried, but tombs. In fact, Yuhang also gave a presentation on town planning and the remarkable similarities between the layout of towns and the layout of the tombs. While we were exploring the necropolis, both Teddy and I found pottery sherds. Teddy’s sherd, interestingly, had some decoration on it that later helped us date the finds to the 8th century BC.

After all of this, we took a lunch break and then reconvened to go to the museums in Orvieto. There we saw lots of interesting artifacts. The most interesting artifacts were three Greek pots made by Exekias, which were incredible to see, and a sarcophagus that showed scenes from the Iliad and the Odyssey. We kept attempting to identify one particular scene, which, after asking, I discovered was Odysseus threatening Circe to return his men who had been turned to animals to their human form.

Finally, at the end of our classes, we sat outside in the piazza and learned about the Orvieto duomo. It was all kicked off by the miracle of Bolsena during which the doubting priest broke the bread and the host bled. The altar-cloth with blood stains and the terrible state of the old church in Orvieto served as an impetus to build a new cathedral.

Then came the food. Carlo, our awesome bus driver, having been unsatisfied with the food the day before had searched for good food the entire day. He later came to me and told me exactly where to eat. I searched for people who wanted in on the great meal, and it seems the girls wanted their own girls’ night. All I know is that when we boys and Carlo ate at “La locanda del lupo”, we ate so well. I was so full after that meal that I couldn’t do anything else all day.

-Lucas

 

Photos ( alla Bridget-Kate):

You know it's going to be a good day when this is the view from your morning lecture.
 
Bridget-Kate and Jiyoung take a “selfie” before the lecture begins.
 
Archaeology at work: The group tests out Vitruvian proportions at the Temple of Belvedere.
 
Teddy feels inspired to draw up some plans for his future library amidst these temple ruins.
 
So much joy this morning!
 
This is the reaction that the DA gets when she says smile. At least Brett figured out how to hold his cappuccino cup.
 
Necropoli di Crocifisso del Tufo offer many “streets” of tombs to explore.
Without Professor Ulrich's cheat sheet for the Etruscan language, this grave inscription would be extremely difficult to decifer.
 
The Duomo in Orvieto definitely is a place worth visiting multiple times.
 
The mosaics seem to glow in the afternoon sun.
 
Bridget-Kate becomes one with the Duomo. Stripes on stripes on stripes.