In 1970, while in the process of constructing the Via Martiri di Rigo Secco, workers uncovered the standing remains of what appears to be a late Republican, Roman era structure, located at the top of a hill in Vescovado di Murlo, in the western portion of the town. A team of archaeologists was brought in to investigate and excavated what seems to be a hypocaust, or heating system typically employed in Roman villas. The excavated remains were then delineated by a fence and protected by a roof. Further construction in the area included tennis courts in the early 1980s just west of the excavated remains, which resulted in changes to the topography.
In the 2006 season, excavations will begin by cleaning off and redefining these previously excavated remains and drawing the standing architectural features. The standing remains will be termed Vescovado Trench 1 (VT 1) in the area of Upper Vescovado. In addition, trenches will also be opened to the north and the south of the standing remains; to the south, Vescovado Trenches 2, 3, 4, and 6 will be opened, while to the north, Vescovado Trench 5 will be established. Furthermore, a grid system
will be established in the area in order to determine the location of the trenches and any finds uncovered. Additionally, a datum point with a relative elevation of 0 meters will be designated. All measurements and elevations will be taken accordingly.
The purpose of opening this trench is threefold:
1) To determine the presence and extent of any other standing remains which may be present.
2) To uncover any datable material, helping to determine the periods of use of the structure as well as to examine the possibility of earlier occupation periods, predating the construction of the standing remains.
3) To investigate the stratigraphic sequence of the area.
VT5 will be opened approximately 3 meters to the north of VT1, the standing remains previously uncovered. This will be done in the hopes of uncovering additional architecture. Furthermore, datable material, such as ceramics, if recovered from a stratified deposit, may help indicate periods of use of the structure, as well as reveal earlier or later occupations of the area. In addition, the stratigraphic record will be documented,
in order to better determine the ancient landscape.
VT5 will be established at points 6.70N/6.41W, 7.32N/3.53W, 6.34N/3.36W, 5.75N/6.25W on the aforesaid grid system. Loci will be established in order to indicate soil changes or the presence of features within the trench. The amount of terracotta roofing tiles, ceramics, and bone will be recorded on a daily basis by locus and the location and elevation of any notable finds recovered will be documented, utilizing the aforesaid grid system and datum point.
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