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Vescovado Trench 6 was opened approximately 11 meters to the south of the previously excavated, standing remains of a villa. The purpose of opening VT6 was threefold:

1) To determine the presence and extent of any other standing remains which may be present in the area.

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.

VT6 was successful in meeting these goals. In VT6, a feature, which may be identified as a hearth or a forno, was uncovered. Essentially, this feature consisted of three elements: a tile deposition, which may have functioned as a drainage system for a floor surface ( Locus 7 ); a heavily burnt surface consisting of an extremely hard packed soil, some of which had turned red ( Locus 8 ); and what may be termed the architectural elements of the feature, namely four cut stones arranged in two perpendicular lines and stacked, layered pantiles in a line and a mortar-like substance running both parallel and perpendicular to the line of cut stone and tiles, thereby forming an L ( Locus 9 ). These architectural elements

seemed to form some sort of boundary for the hearth or forno, although they may have served some other additional function. Furthermore, lying within the tile deposition, or possible drainage system, a number of pieces of ferric material, some of which may be iron slag, were recovered. Based on the evidence uncovered, it seems possible, if not likely, that iron production was occurring south of the standing remains of the villa, in the area of VT6, and the feature uncovered in VT6 would then represent the forno around which this occurred.

In addition to the possible forno, VT6 also yielded a great deal of datable material, mostly in the form of Terra Sigilata pottery. In total, 106 sherds of this type of pottery were recovered from the trench, and 94 sherds were recovered from stratified deposits ( Loci 5 - 9 , 11 , 12 ). This type of pottery has been established as dating to the Hellenistic period, and thus dates these various strata to approximately the 3 rd century BCE. This is important, for previously, the standing remains of the villa were thought to be Roman, either late Republican or early Imperial. However, the presence of so much Terra Sigilata suggests that these remains may in fact be Hellenistic in date.

Such a conclusion can be reached in large part due to the stratigraphy revealed in VT6. There seems to be three principle strata in the area of VT6. The latest, and highest stratum is topsoil ( Locus 1 ). Below the topsoil lies a fill deposit, for it contained a mixture of ancient and modern materials ( Loci 2 and 3 ). At the bottom of this fill deposit was a tile deposition ( Locus 4 ), presumably placed in the area when the road was constructed to the east and when excavations occurred in the area of the standing remains. Below this is the Hellenistic occupation stratum, which has been dated to this period largely due to the high occurrence of Terra Sigilata ( Loci 5 - 9 ). As no identifiably Roman stratum was uncovered in VT6 (or VT2, 3 or 4), it seems likely that there was no Roman activity in this area and that the standing remains in fact date to the Hellenistic period.

VT6 has proved to be very informative and valuable to our understanding of the area south of the standing remains, and the remains itself. However, more work will need to be done in future seasons in order to more fully understand the relationship between the feature uncovered in VT6 this season and the standing remains of the villa.

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Suggested Citation

Katharine R. Kreindler. "VT 6 (2006-08-13):111-113; Conclusion from Italy/Vescovado di Murlo/Upper Vescovado/Vescoavdo 6/2006, ID:583". (2017) In Murlo. Anthony Tuck (Ed.) . Released: 2017-10-04. Open Context. <>

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