We did it!! We finished with the scrubbing. The last crate went in at 4:00 and we had everything put away by 5. As a reward for our effort, the archaeologist working in the new market location across the street took us on a tour of his site. It’s huge! There are Claudian horrea (warehouses) in one corner and across the lot, walls dating to Trajan. The area takes up most of a city block and will be the new open air market. It’s going to be a very ugly, Ikea looking building, but the ancient levels underneath are fantastic. They’ve exposed a street that was paved with amphora fragments, a water-line, several dividing walls made of upright amphorae set into the floors, and numerous opus reticulatum wall sections. The area was part of the extensive warehouse/customs complex adjacent to the Tiber. The Testaccio is one of the end results of all the commerce that came through the warehouses. The excavations will be incorporated into an interpretive exhibit under the market. Tomorrow we all head up to the tables to draw, sort and piece together the fragments we’ve been scrubbing. The stuff they are using to glue these things together is some fragrant $#@!. You get high walking past to use the bathroom.
Today for lunch the custodian brought us a giant, homemade spread to celebrate his birthday. Like all good Italian parties, it involved several courses of food, three different types of wine, two deserts and a very large leg of something that had been roasted on a spit. They are very insistent that you EAT! By the time we got around to getting back to work, we were all half asleep. I’m not sure what ended up in the junk piles and what went up to the lab for further study… It is almost 7pm and I’m still full.