We began this morning by cleaning up the top of the curb wall, adjacent to the paved road that connects to the Via Dell’Abbondanza. This low wall separates the tombs from the actual road, and protected their corners from traffic. Marcus’ tomb is situated less than a meter from the road, and there is a white, tufa baluster protecting it’s corner. Moving to the west, along the curb wall, we began hitting the top of another structure, or wall, attached to the north side of the curb wall. Here, on the top of this feature, I uncovered a big chunk of human long-bone, possible a humerus, and what may be some skull fragments. At the moment, they are speculating that it may be a Samnite burial that is bubbling up to the surface. I’ll have to wait to find out on that one.
We also found our first coin: a Roman “denarius” with the Goddess Roma on the obverse (heads) and Jupiter in a four-horse chariot on the reverse (tails). This coin likely dates to the 2nd century BC, and looks like it was minted last week. The director was very excited, to say the least.
So, why haven’t I been posting photos of the excavation? The Superintendent of Archaeology for Pompeii has forbidden us to take any pictures, on the site, or of any features or artifacts. Looting is on the rise in the area, and they very much want to control what information or images of new excavations get out into the public. We aren’t working inside the old city. This is new ground we’re uncovering, that hasn’t seen the sun since 79AD. It’s very unusual to dig new ground in Pompeii, a rare opportunity. So, when the people in charge review all the official photos, and approve them, I can post some images. Until then, you’ll just have to use your imagination.