Populonia, Livorno, Italy - Situated in a strategic part of the bay, next to a navigable inland lake and to the great Campiglia mines, Populonia was for centuries (from 900 BCE to 100 CE) one of the most significant centers of iron smelting and trade in the Mediterranean. The transfer of the city to Roman rule (250/200 BCE) did not halt its metalworking activities: iron exports supported the Roman expansion in Africa, and the Augustan ruling class (50 BCE - 50 CE) had important economic interests in the area’s industrial production and commerce.
The ancient maritime settlement of Poggio del Molino is located in the heart of the former territory of Populonia, overlooking the Tyrrhenian Sea. This excavation aims to fill key gaps in our knowledge of the industrial history and coastal economy of Populonia and its region, from the early Roman period (250/200 BCE) to the early Middle Ages (600 CE). The project results will offer a more profound understanding of the industrial aspects of Roman rule and territorial exploitation, given the site’s strategic position near natural resources. With treasure hunters, looters, and even development pressures threatening the integrity of the site, your help is needed to secure the past before they are lost forever.
The most impressive tombs found at the Baratti and Populonia Archaeological Park were buried beneath iron slagheaps between the 4th and the 1st century BC left by smelting work carried out in Populonia. The iron slag was excavated at the beginning of the twentieth century, but many tombs were partially destroyed by machines used to collect slag. At the Earthwatch project’s excavation site, it is believed that volunteers will help discover the remains of an industrial building used between the 4th and the 1st century B.C. and, underneath, a portion of Etruscan necropolis (7th-4th century B.C.).
You’ll have a chance to employ skills from all relevant archaeological and historical disciplines to reconstruct the area’s complex past as fully as possible.
Meet the Scientists
Dr Carolina Megale
Dr. Carolina Megale, born in Livorno, Italy, is the project director of Archeodig, and specializes in stamps on Roman pottery and brick. Dr. Megale has a Ph.D. in history and civilization of the ancient world from the University of Florence. She teaches archaeology and art of ancient Italy at the International Studies Institute at Palazzo Rucellai, a study-abroad program in Florence. Dr. Megale has also edited an archaeology manual called Fare l’Archeologo per Passion e per Mestiere for high school and university students and volunteers—the first for this audience published in Italy. She loves cooking Italian and international dishes. Most of all, Dr. Megale loves traveling. In 2013 Carolina will be present on May and June teams at all times; present less frequently on September and October teams.
Dr. Andrea Camilli
Dr Camilli is the Principal Director of the Cantiere delle Navi Antiche di Pisa and of the Centro di Restauro del Legno Bagnato, and was the Project Manager in the creation of the Museo delle Navi Antiche. He earned his Ph.D. in Archaeology at Scuola Nazionale di Archeologia (Università degli Studi di Roma "La Sapienza"). His main research interests and publications include ancient topography and urbanism of ancient Italy, the archaeology of the villa and small settlements, using G.I.S in archaeology, maritime and underwater archaeology, and wood conservation. With the Centro di Restauro del Legno Bagnato he works on the methodology for conservation of organic materials and new technologies for archaeology. Dr Camilli’s other interests include hiking, cooking, reading and drawing (especially comic-strips). There may be a possibility that Dr Camilli will visit the site whilst you are there.
Dr Giandomenico De Tommaso
Università di Firenze
Dr. Giandomenico De Tommaso was born in Ravenna, Italy. He is the Project Scientific Director. His current research focus is Roman manufactured goods, particularly glass. He has a Ph.D. in Archaeology from the University of Pisa. He teaches Greek Archaeology at the University of Trento and at the Archaeological School of the University of Florence. In the 1980’s, he started the excavation of the Villa of Poggio del Molino and published the first report on the site. He directed the setting up of Museo Archeologico del territorio di Populonia in Piombino, which opened in 2002, where a section is dedicated to the Villa. He loves cinema, theatre, classical music, and particularly the history of art. Giandomenico will visit once for each Earthwatch team.
Dr. Stefano Genovesi
University of Piza
Dr. Stefano Genovesi, a field archaeologist, will coordinate fieldwork, students, and volunteers, and will lecture on archaeological stratigraphy and Etruscan and Roman pottery. He earned his Ph.D. at the University of Pisa and has studied the Roman economy and the role of amphorae in the Roman world, particularly in Italy. Present on all teams.