First things first. Arriving to work by a tram in Rome is one of those commutes I am happy to make. Leaving the Vatican behind me, crossing the Tiber and then lurching into Valle Giulia, the tram takes me pretty much to the doorstep of The British School at Rome (BSR).
I actually work for Archaeological Prospection Service of Southampton (APSS), part of The University of Southampton, but am based in Rome as I work in collaboration with the BSR heading their archaeological geophysics unit. The BSR is essentially the British Academy in Rome providing resources for post-graduates in Archaeology, Classics, Architecture, History, History of Art, as well as artists and musicians. It is an amazing place to work and although sometimes, as now, when I am trapped at my desk doing the accounts for geophysical projects, muttering under my breath, I do remember how incredibly lucky and priviledged I am to be part of such an amazing institution.
Not much in the way of actual geophysics in action today. As it heats up in Italy we tend to run for the shade of our office and write up reports of projects we have completed in the last few months. These have been wide ranging: from a luxurious Roman villa site in the elite peninsular of Monte Argentario (Tuscany), to a Roman necropolis at Cumae, near Naples. We have also been working with The Pompeii Archaeological Research Project: Porta Stabia (PARP:PS) and the Pompeii Quadriporticus Project (PQP) directed by Dr Steven Ellis (Universityof Cincinnati) and Dr Eric Poehler (University of Massachusetts, Amherst). And as luck would have it I am off down to Pompeii to meet up with them on site this afternoon. It is fundamental, whenever possible, for a geophysicist to compare what was found in the survey results to what was unearthed by excavation of that same area. It is not always possible for many reasons but in the case of Pompeii we have a terrific relationship with the project directors and this dialogue is in progress.