Archaeological season at Alberese, Italy
In August and September 2013, the Department of Archaeology ran the fourth archaeological season at the river port site of Rusellae, in south Tuscany. Students from Sheffield, Australia and Scotland took part in the research, which brought to light new elements of a first century AD manufacturing district.
The site is located on the last bend of the river Ombrone and was in continuous use until the late fifth century AD. Working spaces like forges, kilns and furnaces produced lead, iron and bronze ingots, as well as glass objects. There was also space for communal rooms, like the kitchen and a storeroom. A sacra was constructed to worship domestic cults and offer ex-voto: bone spoons, dice, hairpins and game pieces and also coins, glass vessels and a bronze mirror were recovered at the feet of the votive niche. The workshops were abandoned sometimes during the late fifth century. Soon after, the settlement was reused as a small necropolis.
The Sheffield students and the Italian team were also involved in the exploration of a new site, located on the line of the ancient Roman seacoast. The trial excavation exposed part of a room, which had been in continuous use from the second century BC to the second century AD. Further investigations will reveal the nature of the settlement, but the unusual amount of pottery and special artefacts, such as Egyptian blue pigment, recovered this year suggest that this will be a very interesting site.
The excavation season ended with a series of trips to archaeological sites around Alberese, like Rusellae, Cosa and Vetulonia – all Etruscan or Roman cities – and farewell events were organised in local villages.
For 2014, three new field schools have been set up: one on material culture studies, one on magnetometer surveying, and another on excavation techniques. We are looking forward to starting the new season and students from the University of Sheffield joining our project.
The research is funded by a Marie Curie Fellowship and is run in partnership with the John Cabot University, Rome.
Further information can be found on the Alberese Archaeological Project website, the Department of Archaeology website and the John Cabot University website, or please contact Dr Alessandro Sebastiani, Marie Curie Intra-European Fellow.