A Blog in Verse

With the chirp of the birds and the buzz of the bees

And a deep set pain resting in our knees

We made our way through the many trees 

Going on our way down an enormous hill

What words could I possibly use to have described

The tumultuous feelings I felt being inscribed 

Walking around with a sense of forlorn pride 

Going on our way down an enormous hill

Our days were long

Finding wonders and listening to nature’s song

Picking up rocks and finding out that we were wrong 

Up on a hill named after civilization

Picking up bronze that had aged to bright green

I would venture to say that we became quite lean

Frying in heat that made us all want to scream 

Up on a hill named after civiliazation

Melted and fired by the sun

Some parts of our souls began to run

Coalescing and now we are much more than one 

In our crucible of companionship 

Time here has quickly passed 

After all earthly things never do seem to last 

And it is in this time that a family has been cast 

In our crucible of companionship 

Families are much like metal

It does not matter where they settle 

As long as they are together they are strong

And so can we be

It is strange how this family was built using tools of destruction

But then again things must be broken to undergo recronstruction

Pieces can never be joined if they never have an introduction

And so can we be 

For our time up on the hill is done 

And a chunk of our lives has been sorely won

I must admit it was really fun

And so it has been 
I have seen the beauty in what is enlightened by other people’s suns
ITHS AWS ORF OYU IANKA

             Michael Corigliano
Love you mom and dad

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“Guys, let’s light a fire. . .”

Spoiler Alert: There were never any REAL fires on The Hill. 

Spoiler Alert #2: This blog is coming to you from the mischievous minds of the teachers! First and foremost, HI MOM AND DAD! LOVE YOU!

Still dreaming of the facsinating evening in Siena at Il Palio (See Corinne’s blog for the deets on that one), the 5:40AM wake up was even harsher than usual. Luckily, claiming “teacher status,” Ms. Gorman and Ms. Cordia were granted the luxury of a car ride half way up The Hill. The extra time meant actually savoring  the crossiant and coffee breakfast rather than inhaling it while hiking. Feeling a bit more energized, the day began with our standard routine: grabbing the tools and sorting the soil. 

After a few hours of good work, Tony visited Trenchetta and “suggested” that we extend the trench by two meters. Ms. Gorman agreed, noting that we have the power to accomplish a hardy extension in the next two days. Settled on the new plan, all before the morning cookie break, we were able to tringalute, clear, take opening photos, get opening elevation, AND pick the newest addition to Trenchetta–Locus 6! Yes, we are now a well-oiled, archeology machine. 

As Mr. Carroll lead the troops through the soil sorting in Locus 6, Ms. Gorman kept everyone in motion, swapping out buckets and running the wheelbarrow to the dirt dump. Before lunch, the team had successfully cleared through two pick passes, finding small bits of terracotta and pottery. At this point, some of you (Dan and Serena Cordia) may be wondering “Where was Ms. Cordia as all the hard work was occurring?” She was napping.

Kidding, of course! While the team continued their progress through Locus 6 in the extension, Ms. Cordia flew solo in Locus 4, mastering the skills of baulk walling and defining rocks. Although she claims that a few rocks bit her, it appears as though Ms. Cordia has found her new calling. Even master archeologists such as Megan Gorman and Andrew Carroll sang her praises! 

With such an eventful morning, it is safe to say the Regis Jeusit crew was more than ready for a break when lunch was finally called. Unfortunately, today’s 30 minutes raced by, and suddenly we were back in action. Feeling quite tired, the afternoon routine of soil sorting and bulk walling  was extremely challenging. Mixed in with the conversations about music, bee stings, movies, and pick up lines, Ms. Gorman and Ms. Cordia could be heard using the teacher voice, instructing the kiddos to “light a fire” and “get a move on it” in hopes of keeping Trenchmaster Carroll appeased. It worked, and the group was able to get through another three pick passes before the end of the day! 

Approaching 7PM, we have rotated through showers, enjoyed copious afternoon snacks, and gotten through some laundry. It is onto dinner, and then, a hopefully restful sleep before our last day with Trenchetta on The Hill. 

 Peace, Love, and Trowels, 

Ms. Cordia and Ms. Gorman 

A Belated Update

Well, I am writing this a day late ( I know, I’m sorry!  It was a busy night), but here are the events of yesterday… 

It started off with yet another walk up to the hill, honestly, I’m starting to see that hill in my sleep.  Is that normal?  Probably not… However, it’s a great way to wake up, if not slightly cruel at 6:00 in the morning.  After we made it up to the hill, we began to work in the trench.  We were defining bulk walls, cleaning rocks, and finding bucchero (otherwise known as drinking vessels made of black, thin pottery).  Blissfully, it wasn’t too hot on the hill and we had a fairly pleasant day of work.  We didn’t find anymore bits of bronze, but we found plenty of terra cotta, not that we are all that surprised.  After eating lunch on the hill, we we not down to the Magazino, which is the conservation lab of the site.  Personally, this is my favorite part.  We got to clean items that are found on the hill and put together pieces of pan tiles.  I ended up cleaning a coin that was found in the trench next to our own.  I soon discovered that the coin was not, in fact, ancient but rather fairly modern.  It is a Medicii coin, identifiable by the crest with six balls on it.  The inscription on the coin reads COS 35 which I, among others, feel signifies that it is from the 35th year of the reign of Cosmo Di Medicii, placing the coin’s date at around 1705.  While it is pure speculation that this coin comes from the Baroque period, those in the conservation lab and the trench where it was found are quite certain of its origin.  Needless to say, I was exceptionally excited about this discovery.  After cleaning the coin, I moved on to working with the rest of the group.  We were consolidating and then gluing pan tiles back together.  Some of us were cleaning old glue off of the terra cotta, while the rest were preparing it for the glue and drying process.  To prepare the terra cotta, we would put consolidator on it.  We do this because the glue is stronger than the terra cotta, so we coat the edges that are being glued together in a liquid that is 5% of the glue and 95% acetone, effectively strengthening the tile.  Once the consolidator is dry, we used a mixture of 50% glue 50% acetone to adhere the two pieces together, setting it precariously in a bow so it was standing upright and surrounded by sand bags.  This process took up much of our afternoon, giving us only an hour to shower and get ready before making our way to Siena to see a practice of the Palio.

A word on the Palio… For those few who are unfamiliarit with the Palio, it is a horse race between ten of the seventeen Contradas in Siena.  A Contrada is a neighborhood within Siena that is highly spirited and rooted in its history.  Each Contrada has a mascot such as an elephant, a giraffe, a unicorn, a goose, a caterpillar, a shell, and so on.  On the day of the Palio, ten of these Contradas will race for honor (and the highly coveted flag of Siena) around the Compo, which is the town center.  They take three laps around the track, or two minutes, and the winner gets to climb the side of one of the buildings and get the prized flag from its perch, bringing honor to the winning Contrada.  This special day happens twice a year, once in July and once in August, on the holy days of Mother Mary, so every Contrada races at least once.  As it happened, we were in Siena for the first practice race.  The jockeys had just been assigned to their horses and were riding them for the first time, which seemed to be a little rough for a couple of duos.  One of the horses was obviously not having anything to do with the Palio and did not want to be there, he was less than obedient for his rider and refused to stay in place or start, making more than a few Sienese slightly unhappy.  After several attempts though, they were finally able to get everything up and running (haha, because it’s a horse race…I’m sorry, that’s a horrible pun).  While this was a race, it was still a practice race and the horses never went above a canter, the jockeys had decided to take things easy the first time on these horses, seeing as they are riding bare back and have to last until the 2nd of July, that was probably a pretty smart move.  No matter what though, it was still super cool.  We were standing n g right against the railings and could reach out and touch the horses (no Mom, I didn’t actually reach out and touch the horses, I’m not that impulsive).  After the practice was over, we headed to dinner, a cute little place right by the open market wher we could get pizza or pasta.  I had pasta in a truffle and cream sauce (don’t worry, Dad, it was as divine as it sounds).  We then piled back into the car and made our way home, arriving at around 11:00 and having to wake up by about 5:45.  Needless to say, we fell asleep almost instantaneously, only to be awoken all too quickly and start another day on the hill.   

Salt

I woke up at the slightly better time of 5:40 am to get ready for the day. It didn’t make it any easier. We all still rushed to breakfast and up the hill, of which I’ve still not become accustomed to. I don’t think there’s been a day where something in my body hasn’t hurt. But whether or not I was ready for it, we started the day anyway. 

Our day consisted of creating a trench within a trench. Our (or should I say Mr.Carroll’s) reasoning for doing so was to see what was under the cluster of rocks that could or could not be a shepard’s road of some kind. After picking and finding more bronze pieces and tacks, we ate a quick lunch and set back to work. Our workday ended slowly as we cleaned the trench for morning pictures for the new Locus. Throughout the day everyone was surprisingly quiet. The college kids were spread out and we were devastatingly tired. But if the grand scheme of things is of any importance, we only have 3 more days up on the hill, and 6 in Italy.

We walked down the hill straight into a lecture given by Tony (or Dr. Turk as you might know him). The lecture was quite interesting but I confess that I had more trouble staying awake then anything. The Mag was cool and dark and what can I say- it sounds exactly like the bedroom back home. Much to our joy (seriously, there was legitimate cheering), instead of walking home, Mr.Carroll and Mrs. Gorman picked us up in the car to go on a grocery run. (The last part of the day was fairly typical: home, showers, reflection, dinner, and gelato)

Speaking of groceries, and more importantly food, I can tell you want a good part of our conversations have been about.

Food. Not just any food, American food. Fast food. Beautiful food that is soaked, soaked in salt. I’m pretty sure we’re all suffering from sodium deficiency. No matter what, we’ll sweat it all off in the 8 and a half hour workday. And Italy, for some reason, must have something against salt because it is in nothing, so that doesn’t make it any better. This usually occurs before lunch, during lunch, hours before dinner, and any other time that it suits us. It mostly consists of what we what on our burgers and I know for a fact one of us has mentioned wanting a salt lick. Let’s just say we crave chips like none other. So to sum in up in one sentence about how we feel:

We’re salty about the lack of salt.

The Perfect Morning

The day began with a nice, easy start. We were allotted the proper time for waking up at our own leisure, relaxing for a bit, and getting fully ready to conquer the great day ahead of us. After walking around in the heat all day yesterday, this relaxing morning was such a relief. The grandest of breakfasts was prepared for us. It was one which was both fulfilling and enjoyable. Given our perfect start to the day, we were all in the best of moods and had wonderful, family like conversation throughout the morning. The rest of the day followed suit. 

If only that was how it actually happened! Instead of that peaceful, natural morning I spoke of, I was awoken by my jarring alarm clock sound at 5:50 AM. This gave several other students that woke up at a similar time and myself roughly ten minutes to get ready for the day and walk to the breakfast spot. After the rush we arrived at breakfast, where I had just enough time to spread jam on my bread and snag a banana before we continued our walk up to the dig site. While the walk is usually long and hard, the lack of awareness in my tired mind made it somewhat bearable. Eventually, after 25 minutes or so, we arrived up at the hill where we began our work.

Now, for those that have followed the past blog posts (although I do not know if this actually has been mentioned), you may know we have typically gotten up to the hill at 8:00 AM. Starting today though, the start time for work became 7:00 AM. While the early start was not the most fun of adventures, it did allow us to enjoy a cool hour of working in the shade before the burning sun began beating down. 

The rest of the day was a fairly normal dig day involving a lot of pick-axing and scraping our trench. We actually found several great objects throughout the day! First, Corinne found a rock! Then, I found a slightly larger rock! Then Bri found a gray rock! Then Kiana found a slightly dirty rock! Then Michael followed our pattern, but not for too long. Pretty soon Michael saw a glint of green in the dirt. With some careful and precise digging, he pulled out a bronze disk. It is unknown at this time what the disk may be, but some have speculated it to be a coin or part of a fibula. Besides this thrilling find, we also found a great amount of terracota and pottery fragments. 

Despite not having the perfect morning I discussed earlier, our day was still fantastic and fulfilling. With our finds from digging on our minds, we are able to look back upon the day with a sense of great satisfaction. While the finds were great, the greatest satisfaction of the day came from the fun we had with one another. As touched upon before, this home is truly becoming a family. From our comedic jabs to the well oiled machine that is our work site, we have discovered a sense of community that allows us to cultivate a happy, fun, and loving environment. The fact that we get this sense of community while digging in Italy only makes it so much better.

 All of us are extremely excited for the rest of the trip, and I’m sure we will have a great many more stories to tell, but for now, I’m out. See ya!

Chiana, but like Kiana 

    I woke up this morning to the sound of running water and conversation as light from the upstairs kitchen flowed down the marble stairs that lead to the basement. I felt genuinely rested and warm, which is an abnormality in our cold sleeping area, that was either from the rising temperatures of Vescavado or a remaining sense of home left over from the previous night. It was a great start to an amazing day ahead. 

   We all got ready for Mass and walked up to the small local church in Vescavado and were greeted with a sign which informed us that the last Sunday Mass of the month was going to be held up the hill in Murlo. We drove up the hill and were warmly greeted into Mass. Although the service was in a foreign language, I realized that there is a universal understanding of God’s love that can cross any language barrier. I could not understand the homily but the priest’s passion was tangible, there was no need for language in that moment. 

    Mass ended and we continued on to Cortona. Immediately upon arrival we were greeted with an otherworldly view. You know the hyper-realistic landscape paintings where there’s so much detail that you can almost feel the sun against your skin? Well, that was this view, except I could actually feel the sun against my skin and the wind in my hair. The painting had come to life. The markets and the multicolored buildings hugging against each other created a fairytale like senario. 

    We had an hour and a half to roam around Cortona. We spent the majority of that time in a tabacchi that seemed that an ordinary store on the top floor, but one floor down there was a well filled with coi, a kind man with espresso and wicked wax stamping skills. He recognized my name at the name of the valley that Cortona in located, Chiana. And having a name that is very… unique… my name never gets recognized so it was a very surreal experience. I’m getting to the point in this trip where I want to never leave because of the feeling of home, but don’t worry Mom and Dad and Blake, I will. 

-Kiana 

Chiana, but like Kiana 

    I woke up this morning to the sound of running water and conversation as light from the upstairs kitchen flowed down the marble stairs that lead to the basement. I felt genuinely rested and warm, which is an abnormality in our cold sleeping area, that was either from the rising temperatures of Vescavado or a remaining sense of home left over from the previous night. It was a great start to an amazing day ahead. 

   We all got ready for Mass and walked up to the small local church in Vescavado and were greeted with a sign which informed us that the last Sunday Mass of the month was going to be held up the hill in Murlo. We drove up the hill and were warmly greeted into Mass. Although the service was in a foreign language, I realized that there is a universal understanding of God’s love that can cross any language barrier. I could not understand the homily but the priest’s passion was tangible, there was no need for language in that moment. 

    Mass ended and we continued on to Cortona. Immediately upon arrival we were greeted with an otherworldly view. You know the hyper-realistic landscape paintings where there’s so much detail that you can almost feel the sun against your skin? Well, that was this view, except I could actually feel the sun against my skin and the wind in my hair. The painting had come to life. The markets and the multicolored buildings hugging against each other created a fairytale like senario. 

    We had an hour and a half to roam around Cortona. We spent the majority of that time in a tabacchi that seemed that an ordinary store on the top floor, but one floor down there was a well filled with coi, a kind man with espresso and wicked wax stamping skills. He recognized my name at the name of the valley that Cortona in located, Chiana. And having a name that is very… unique… my name never gets recognized so it was a very surreal experience. I’m getting to the point in this trip where I want to never leave because of the feeling of home, but don’t worry Mom and Dad and Blake, I will. 

-Kiana