Greeting from Rome and from the members of the 2013 Palatine East Pottery Project (PEPP).
While everyone loves excavating and the thrill of new discoveries help fuel the impulse, fieldwork is only the first component of a newly discovered object’s life and the last destructive event of an artifact’s context. The study, description and analysis, and final publication of archaeological material are important phases of archaeology. It is often not glamorous or “on location” at the archaeological site, but relegated to storerooms and mundane-sounding finds processing.
The Palatine East Excavations (1993-1999), direct by Dr. Eric Hostetter (professor emeritus, University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign) were the first systematic excavation of the northeast slope of the Palatine Hill in Rome, Italy. The hill is one of Rome’s famed seven hills, the home to its emperors for hundreds of years, and the site of its earliest settlements. The excavated materials which we are studying consist of a broad range of finds that include fresco fragments, terracotta sculpture, worked bone, lamps, and pottery. This last class of material, pottery, consists of over 15 metric tons (ca. 15,000 kgs. or 33,000 lbs.) of broken pottery. Since 1999, it has been the task of the Palatine East Pottery Project (PEPP), directed by J. Theodore Peña (University of California at Berkeley), and assisted by Dr. Janne Ikaheimo (Oulu University, Finland), and Dr. Victor Martinez (University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill) and a host of archaeology graduate students (most recently Jennifer Black, U. Cal-Berkeley) and other student volunteers and apprentices (this year including Jason Greenwald and Angus Leydic, both from Duquesne University).