York & Borgorose

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Dario took me out and introduced me to the site first thing this morning and I shot seven panoramas of the place for the "before cleaning" record. These include some overgrown walls, a bit of broken aqueduct, and the like. Nothing much to look at, for certain, but they're the reason I'm here, so shoot them I shall.

While wandering the site, we encountered more than a dozen shallow, recently dug holes apparently made by a metal detectorist or two. Dario kept calling them "bastardi" so that's my Italian word for the day. It's certainly annoying to have your site gone over by such losers.

We spent most of the rest of the day running errands, buying food and equipment, collecting people as they arrived, having meetings with officials and a couple parents, buying more food, setting up the lab (in a closed elementary school nearer the site -- were we ever so small we fit in those wee cute chairs?!?).

Late in the afternoon I also did some preliminary clearing of the aqueduct while Dario photographed at least 16 looter holes and showed Swen around the site. On our way out we heard some suspicious noises, and Dario went ahead and found a guy digging with a small pick, and two dogs with him. Dario confronted him, and waved us up after a few minutes. The guy claimed he didn't know he was doing any harm.

It turns out the guy's two dogs smell truffles and then he digs them up! These are the same fungous delicacies that sell for like $500 an ounce or some-such. After much talking the guy demonstrated his dogs using their nasal talents and how his scraping makes the holes as he finds the truffles in the ground. Apparently this guy makes more money on a couple days truffle hunting than he does at his day job for a week.

But it's not like he's guiltless either. No doubt the land owner would not want him there stealing truffles, regardless whether it's an ancient site. Dario's still suspicious but now has the guy's name and address and may send the police to search his house for a metal detector just in case, but it does seem to be mere truffle hunting.

Ah, the trouble with truffles!

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