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Vetricella 8th week

Dust blows everywhere, it has been an exceptionally dry October. This makes the digging at Vetricella for our nEU-Med project harder but a few real gems have come to light, though no more Egyptian treasures.

First, Pierluigi Pierrucini (University of Siena’s sedimentologist) and his students have shown that Vetricella was created on an elevated tongue of land very close to the Follonica lagoon. Notionally, then, it is a type of ‘landing-place’ as Medieval historians call such places, or using my old Dark Age Economics’ jargon, a seasonal/temporary wic/emporium. Except, of course, it is not rich in traded goods….. Quite the contrary.

What has come to light, though, is no less interesting. A copper or lead reduction kiln was found this week cut neatly into the natural soil. The little kiln was cleaned out at least once. It reminds me of a similar kiln we found at San Vincenzo belonging to the temporary workshops associated with the new abbey-church, San Vincenzo Maggiore, consecrated in AD 808.

The later 10th-11th-century phases are becoming more complex by the day. Many mortar spreads showing repeated re-arranging of the site. In its ultimate phase over 30 burials have been excavated on the south side of the excavated area. An associated church has eluded us, but in the many shadows of thin features here, perhaps one will appear before this dry season ends.

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