Excavating for Historic Artifacts

October 22, 2012

By Crystal Vining '13 

Anna Weiss '10 traveled to Italy and Greece to intern following graduation.  The Department of Art major was involved with a project to excavate relics that were seemingly lost to the world.  The summer internship in Cerveteri, Italy, was conducted through the Etruscan Foundation Conservation Fellowship.

"This provided a very interesting opportunity, to be able to see the beginnings of an excavation, be a part of the initial planning of the dig, and conservation initiatives," Weiss stated.

One of thirty interns, Weiss was assigned the task of setting up object labs and supervising the excavation of fragile objects. Her daily work consisted of analyzing wall paintings, taking samples and documenting their condition.

Many of the places in the dig were, unfortunately, unsecured or already part of an excavation.  However, one underground complex had not been touched making it the most exciting part of the dig.  "The environment of the underground room was very sensitive and we had to be very careful about how many people were able to enter." Weiss said. "We were unable to touch the walls or turn on bright lights because it could possibly damage the stone."

After four weeks in Italy, Weiss travelled to Athens, Greece where she continued excavating a dig that had been a functioning dig for nearly one hundred years.

Weiss's responsibilities extended to the laboratory treating special finds, while also patrolling the excavations.

The archeology students would send objects into the lab with notes attached to them.

"It was almost like a game. We were given objects that were unrecognizable and the object of the game was to figure out what it was," Weiss said.

One of the most interesting things about all of the people working there was their different backgrounds. One of the people on the dig served in the U.S Army on the Bomb Squad.  "A digger found a modern artifact that was later identified as a mortar round which was highly explosive.  His expertise definitely came in handy that day," Weiss exclaimed.

Overall, Weiss enjoyed her time at the excavations. She will never forget the opportunity and people she met.