York & Borgorose

Out of Rome
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Dario, the project co-director, drove us (him and me) out to the place we'll be staying for the next two weeks. Description: idyllic and rustic, peaceful and serene. It's a sizable farmstead with several stone buildings that have been turned into rentable lodgings. I'm not sure whether this is still a working farm or not, but a mother horse and very young awkward filly grazed in the pasture just outside our window while dinner was cooking, and a number of big round hay bales populate other fields within view.

Cartore compound panorama (5 MB)

We're surrounded by mountains on one side and hills on the other. Currently they are forested, but (according to Dario) in the past they sported mostly grass, on which local shepherds grazed their flocks and produced cheese. Sad to say, most of that tradition has gone now, although Dario has promised to take me up to the mountain meadows and lakes where the remaining 50 or so shepherds still keep their flocks during the summer.

Currently the crickets outside my window serenade me, although they sound the same as in the States. I had a foreboding about the drive out here being along narrow mountain roads, but that was not to be. The modern freeway dumped us off very close, after taking us through at least four major tunnels, which usually opened onto amazing scenic vistas of medieval mountain-top villages perched high atop rocky pinnacles overlooking steep-sided valleys here in the Appenine Mountains.

Dario and I seem to have gotten on quite well, being of like age. We've just finished a three-hour meal of spaghetti with aubergine, plus most of a bottle of red wine. His English is far, far better than my Italian (which keeps getting mixed up with my Spanish), but he wants to make it better, so it's my job to help out there, and perhaps learn some more of his home language while doing so.

Anyway, tonight we each have our own little stone building to sleep in. Tomorrow more archaeologist volunteer friends of his and Monica's arrive and we get busy clearing the site and setting up for geoprospecting to see what's below the surface without digging. Just gotta watch out for vipers.

Buona sera. (Good night.)

Here's Dario on site, with the modern freeway in the background.

The west wall of the main area of interest, before cleaning.

The east wall of the main area of interest, before cleaning.

Looking southish down the main valley here; neither our camp nor the site are in direct view, but this is generally the area in which we work and live these two weeks.

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