Following on from my previous blog on geophysics and the preceding one on Desk-Based Assessments, this time I’m discussing one of the ways we can take the archaeological process forward following those processes. In this case: Archaeological Trial Trenching. It is important to note here that trenching is intended to give archaeologists as much of a view of the site as possible whilst causing the least damage, and that what we see is only a window into what lies below the ground.
There is a distinct advantage therefore in evaluation trenching following a geophysical survey as we can use the survey results to identify potential archaeological hotspots, or individual features and so strategically target our trenches to assess the dates and nature of the expected archaeology, and test the accuracy of the geophysical survey. If there is no geophysical survey available, trenches are usually planned to be excavated either in a herringbone pattern across the site or alternating east-west / north-south to cover a specified percentage of the overall site area.
Trenches can be any size and shape. Usually we mean something 1.80m wide by 10-50m in length, but a trench can be as small as a 1m x 1m hole (often referred to as a test pit). There is also no set number of trenches for an archaeological evaluation. The number and size of the trenches required is determined on a site by site basis. Smaller sites requiring between 1 and 10 trenches and larger ones anything from 30 -300 or more.
There is no set depth that we excavate trenches to either. We look for the archaeological horizons, so the uppermost layer of strata in which we encounter archaeological features, this also on a site by site basis; the archaeological horizon may be the upper level of the natural geological strata or it may be a demolition layer into which pits have been cut. Rural sites often produce shallow trenches usually 0.50m or less. (although deeper stratigraphic sequences may be seen at the base of hills or in heavily worked areas. By contrast urban sites produce trenches that are frequently over 1m in depth and can be several meters deep due to the use and reuse of the site over time.
The aim of the archaeological evaluation trenching is to assess the archaeological potential and the expected significance of any archaeological deposits or features encountered. A large number of archeologically blank trenches indicates a low potential for previous activity to be present on the site. Likewise, a substantial amount of modern landscaping which has resulted in heavy disturbance of the underlying natural geology of the site will indicate a low potential for the survival of archaeological materials. However, trenches which produce archaeology can be indicative of moderate to high potential for previous land use and settlement in which case further archaeological works are likely to be requested before any proposed development of the land will be allowed to proceed.
So, how is the evaluation conducted?
Usually there will be at least two archaeologists present on an evaluation job. A field supervisor to monitor the machine and field archaeologists to undertake recording and excavation of the features. Archaeologists on site will work to a Written Scheme of Investigation (WSI) which details the intended development, known historical background of the area including any previous archaeological works, the expected geology (as noted in the British Geological Survey), height above Ordnance Datum, and if we are lucky, the service plans for the site detailing where any underground cables and/or service runs may be (these are frequently inaccurate see my previous services blog post!). We also have a plan of the intended trench locations. These days we usually load this data into a GPS unit and set out and record our trenches onto the machine. However, it is possible to both set out and record using tape measures and triangulation, although as use of the GPS becomes more frequent, this skill is being lost.
The first thing the supervisor should do on arriving on site (besides greeting the client and if on an active construction site undertaking an induction) is to ensure that the site is safe to work on and that welfare is available (this may be arriving later or may be local facilities). The supervisor should also walk the site with the trench plan to look for hazards such as overhead cables, fences, trees or other potential issues that may require the repositioning of a trench or may cause a hazard to the staff working on the site.
Trenches can be laid out using a plan mapped onto a GPS or can be measured in from landmarks on a map. To ensure that the correct percentage of the site is covered by the evaluation trenching it is a good idea to extend each trench by 1 or 2 meters as some inevitably end up smaller. It’s also a good idea to dig a test pit in at least one trench to test that what looks like the right natural layer is really the layer we are looking for.
Trenches are stripped by machine with a bladed bucket, affectionately referred to as the big yellow trowel, and are monitored by an archaeologist at all times. It is often useful to extend the trench by a few meters when laying out as they have a tendency to shrink once access ramps are in place, and it is also useful to excavate a test pit in at least one of the trenches to confirm that what looks like the undisturbed natural geology is actually the natural geology. Redeposited natural layers can be confusing and geology like brickearth can be hard to spot to the untrained eye.
What we look for during the excavation of the trench are the changes in geological build up, where the topsoil changes to subsoil, where the subsoil changes to undisturbed geological layers – we call it natural geology however a more correct term would be the undisturbed upper layer of the natural strata. At least this is the case on rural sites, as outlined above urban trenches can be several meters deep with huge built up layers. (The difference between the two types of site is worth a blog post on its own!). In either case what we are looking for is evidence of previous human activity.
If there is a high level of archaeology we may not investigate every single feature that we see in a trench. Archaeology is a destructive process and if the evaluation indicates a high presence of archaeological features, their excavation may be best left until a later date when the whole site is stripped and the features can be seen properly. We record everything that we see and locate it with the GPS unit so that when we, or another unit returns to the site, we can locate our evaluation trenches and confirm how what we recorded in the evaluation fits into the site as a whole.
We record everything we do in the evaluation as once we have removed something we cannot put it back. The trenches are tied in to the OS national grid so that there is a record of exactly where everything was found. Each trench and feature are planned either by hand at a scale of 1:20 or, more frequently with the GPS unit. Spot heights are taken, at the top and base of the trench and each feature. Context numbers are assigned for everything that was excavated, photographs are taken, section drawings are created and a thorough record is made before the trenches are backfilled.
A report detailing what was found on the site, including any potential dates from analysis of the finds is produced and submitted to the local planning authority. It is they who will decide what the next step is for the site. If the results of the evaluation match the geophyisical survey, or there was a lot of archaeological deposits and features recorded, then it is likely that further investigation of the site will be required. If there was very little material then perhaps a watching brief will be conducted, observing the groundworks associated with the development, and recording anything that may be observed.
The evaluation therefore gives us the first (second if a geophysical survey was undertaken) look at the site via a series of small windows. It is not a fool proof method. I have heard tales of sites that found a modest amount and on further excavation showed that each trench had been excavated between the burial plots of a vast cemetery. I have done a site myself where the evaluation suggested that some medieval activity had occurred but little of major significance, when we went back to do the excavation we found a medieval brew house. One of our trenches had gone through the doorway and missed out the walls - we had only recorded a shallow gully where the threshold should have been! Our mistake was clear when we returned but during the evaluation we could only work with what we could see.
And it goes the other way too. A few years ago, I dug a site where the evaluation indicated there was high potential for a Roman temple. We stripped the whole area, found an Iron Age settlement and a lot of high-status Roman tile from a bathhouse, but no temple and no sign of structural remains or robber trenches, just a lot of dispersed tile and pottery rubble suggesting a villa was likely nearby. Evaluation trenching is merely a window into what lies below, it cannot tell us everything about a site and so a site’s journey from DBA to development is unlikely to end at this stage. In my next blog I’ll look at the approach we take if we found little in the evaluation stage. A watching brief.
In my last blog we looked at Desk-Based Assessment, the usual first link in the process of commercial archaeology preceding a development. There are several ways to continue forward from the DBA, the easiest (for the developer) is when the assessment strongly indicates either nothing archaeological is likely or that the modern disturbance will have already annihilated anything of archaeological interest, in this case no further work may be required. However, this is rare.
More often the next step will be one of three things; an archaeological watching brief (if nothing much is expected), a trial trench evaluation (if there is reason to suspect archaeological remains), or geophysical survey (if ground conditions are suitable and a significant amount of archaeology is expected). In this blog post we’ll look at geophysical survey as the results of this survey often lead to further archaeological involvement of the other types, which I’ll get to in future posts.
Geophysics then. Let us start at the very beginning, what is it? In short it provides a way of seeing below the ground without digging it up. A kind of X-ray for the earth. Anyone reading who is old enough to remember Time Team, or has watched the re-runs on various channels will recall the geophysics team plodding up and down fields with their gizmos and producing what looked like a heavily pixelated graphic that may or may not show a wall or something. The technology has come a long way since then and a number of commercial archaeology units now have their own equipment, though specialist archaeological geophysics companies also exist as geophysics and archaeology are separate disciplines.
There are several different types of geophysical survey that can be used for archaeological purposes, Resistivity, Magnetometery, Ground penetrating radar (GPR), Lidar, and sonar. Sonar is only used for marine archaeology which is something completely different and involves all of its own specialisms and techniques. GPR is probably the best known type of geophysical survey although is not necessarily widely used for archaeological purposes as there are limited conditions in which it can be used effectively.
Lidar, (optical remote sensing using laser pulses) is slowly becoming more common as more parts of the country undergo Lidar survey, however it remains largely prohibitively expensive for commercial companies to conduct Lidar surveys of site. Should a Lidar survey of the area in question be already available then the Lidar data tends to be utilised as part of the Desk-Based Assessment.
For archaeological purposes resistivity and magnetometer surveys are favoured. Resistivity surveys were certainly common when I was on student excavations in the early 2000’s, although the trend these days is for magnetometer use. However, both are worth looking at as they work in different ways and each is better suited to a particular type of archaeological feature.
Resistivity surveys have been used on sites for several decades and were introduced as archaeological tools to the general public by the aforementioned Time Team (I’d certainly never heard of it before watching John Gater and his team trudge the fields). The survey equipment tends to look like a metal frame wrapped in bits of white plastic pipe, with two or four spikes along the base, attached to a battery pack, (or at least that’s what the last one I used on a student dig back in the early 2000’s looked like – I suspect it was a homemade one). The resistivity survey works on the principle that damp ground conducts electricity faster as there is less resistance to the current. A resistivity meter attached to the electrodes (spikes) measures the varying degrees of resistance during the survey. So, ditches, where the soil retains moisture, will allow a current to pass through relatively easily, whereas something solid like a wall, will slow it down. It works really well for ditches and pits in well-draining geology like chalk and gravel. Downside is, this is really slow, and the kit is really heavy.
Which is why magnetometer surveys have become increasingly common in the commercial sector, where time is a huge factor as developments tend to move quickly (or at least they want all the archaeology done yesterday). Though be warned the magnetometer comes with its own problems. Point 1, users can not be wearing anything metal. So goodbye steel toe caps, farewell zippers, lose the underwire bra, earrings, wedding rings and any other metal you may have, or if you’re anything like me and are surrounded by your own personal EMP just stay well away from them. I’m serious, I can’t touch the things, the magnetic reaction is like dropping a demon in holy water or putting a magnet next to a floppy disk (wow that makes me sound old!) and the whole survey comes out blank. Lucky me.
There are a few different types of magnetometer but for archaeological purposes we usually use a gradiometer with two sensors (as opposed to a single sensor), because archaeology tends to be close to the surface in areas where we would undertake the survey, and the two sensors provides better resolution at shallow depths.
So what does it actually do that makes it better for commercial archaeology than the resistivity survey? For starters it can be used in a variety of conditions, although like most equipment (and archaeologists for that matter) it tends not to like the rain too much. The survey can rapidly cover a large area, as there is no need to stick probes in the ground. The magnetometer detects metals, specifically reacting strongly to steel and Iron, but will also detect burnt or fired materials such as brick, scorched earth (hearths), pottery kilns and certain types of rock which are highly magnetic, however it can also be used to detect smaller things like decayed organics or disturbed soils if magnetic rock formations are not present – hence its usefulness to archaeology.
So why do we undertake geophysical survey? Once the survey has been done and the data processed, a geophysical survey can give us a good idea of what is lurking under the ground, which helps inform the next step. If we can see what looks like several ring ditches and a load of other potential features, a geophysical survey gives us targets to dig – thus informing the location of evaluation trenches (see my next blog post, subscribe and be sure not to miss it!). If the geophysical survey detects little, then we may go forward with a more limited watching brief on the area (more on those later too).
A desk-based assessment was our first stop to obtain a history of the area from maps and records, a follow up geophysical survey is telling us whether or not there are potential archaeological features under the ground, not only that but the geophysical survey gives us an indication of what type of features we are looking at, ring ditches are a good indicator of prehistoric settlement, square shaped enclosures may suggest Romans, long regular lines are likely to be medieval ridge and furrow. Critically the survey allows us to give the developer an estimate on how long we might need on site and the type of excavation that we will be required to do, which informs the cost of the project, both for us and for them. Geophysics also prepares the site supervisor for getting boots on the ground and pointing the big yellow trowel in the right direction. Having an idea of what you’re looking for and a rough plan of where you might find certain features is very useful.
In my line of work as a commercial field archaeologist I have to be prepared to deal with various types of site in terms of date range and intended development but we also have multiple methods of determining what sort of archaeological survey to undertake on any given site. In the next few blog posts I’m going to run through each type of archaeological survey that we undertake, where it fits in the planning process and what it means for a development. And so, we will start at the beginning.
The Desk-Based Assessments (DBA) sometimes referred to as an Historic Environment Assessment (HEA) are generally the first step in the archaeological aspect of the planning process. They may not always be requested as, if an area is being heavily developed a previous DBA may have already covered the area of the site in question. For the most part a DBA is the beginning of the archaeological side of the planning process and if there is not already a HEA or DBA in place it will be the first thing that a town or county archaeological planning officer will request as part of the considerations on which archaeological conditions will be attached to planning permission.
This is relevant to any development whether a huge 200+ housing development, a golf course, or in some cases an extension (house extensions are heavily dependent on the area in which you live and not everything will always apply – covering the planning process is a whole different ball game). A Desk-Based Assessment is pretty much what it sounds like. We do a little research into the development area to see what type of previous activities are recorded.
One of the first places we go to is the Historical Environmental Record (HER) various aspects of which are available online via an approved gateway and in (some) local and/or regional libraries or county/town council offices or archives. The homepage is here searchable by region/town. And will give the interested individual all the information they need about who to contact and where the HER database can be accessed.
Within the HER itself we can find details of all previous archaeological excavations and assessments within a radius (usually 5km) of the intended development. This gives us a basis to work from as we can see which historical periods tend to dominate the area – for example some areas of Oxford are heavily Roman, whilst others have yielded very little Roman material but may have been used more during the Saxon period. So, we get a feel for the area.
Ordnance survey maps, also available through the HER and local libraries can show us the progression of activity on the site itself whether buildings were there, what the landscape was like, but these obviously only go back to the mid 19th century. Depending on the region we sometimes find that Tithe maps (taxation maps) are available and these, whilst not accurate in terms of scale, can indicate the function of a portion of land. Written records are important too and it may come as a surprise to know that we still consult the 1069 Domesday book for a lot of sites. This is an important document as it details explicitly the citizenry, functionality and wealth of a town or village often with other useful tidbits like this village was passed to this lord for services rendered to the king, or this land was gifted to the church for X reason. Another valuable source is the Victoria County History (VCH) available online here. It does not cover the whole country but gives the known historic background to various towns and cities. On occasion ancient texts may be employed, however these can be notoriously unreliable though the Romans did produce some useful itineraries such as the Peutinger Table which maps the road routes of the empire from India to Britain and survives as a medieval copy. Though these days we tend to consult Margary’s 1955 detailed study, mapping and projecting lines of the Roman roads of Britain, should we be trying to track one down, or see how close to one our site may be.
As part of the investigation we will also check the geological maps of the area. All available online as part of the British geological survey. The geology itself can sometimes give us an indication of what me might find – for instance raised gravel beds tend to have been preferred spots for prehistoric peoples of Mesolithic to Bronze Age date to pause or settle, so even if there is limited evidence in an area the geology itself may indicate a potential for archaeological remains based on what we understand of the habits of ancient peoples. Chalk will always show archaeological features clearly however remains such as bone are unlikely to survive. Clays and alluvial layers can be deep and may require careful examination as alluvial layering can hide early features below natural deposits. Also the nature of the landscape itself can be informative. Archaeological remains are more likely to survive intact in areas where there has been little development – though little development may also mean little to no chance of remains as the land was never used. We take all these things into account when creating our desk-based assessment.
So, a desk-based assessment – basically it is like a college research paper, detailing the likelihood of archaeological remains and their potential date(s) and importance to the area should they be found. It is this document that is used by the planning archaeologist within the county or borough to determine what (if anything) the next phase of archaeological process will be. Believe it or not there are a few cases where the desk-based assessment will be the only archaeological research done for a site. This occurs only if it is felt to be conclusive that there is little to no chance of archaeological remains being present in the area. Usually however it goes something like this:
Say our desk-based assessment discovered that the portion of land scheduled for development lay in an area within 5km of a Saxon settlement discovered through previous archaeological investigation. 2km from a second century small Roman villa/ farmstead (these can often be found in close proximity to others). Perhaps field walking in the 1960’s recovered two third century Roman coins and a prehistoric hand axe from the site itself, and the field lies just outside the known core of a village mentioned in Domesday as being of some substance and industry. This would warrant further archaeological investigation and depending on the landscape we would either move directly to archaeological trial trenching or potentially to a geophysical survey. Geophysical survey is now becoming much more common and I will cover it in the next blog post.
In the last few blog posts I’ve been waxing lyrical about Rome and the adventures of my fictional characters in their second archaeological adventure, time now to head back to my adventures as a commercial archaeologist. So what have I been dealing with recently?
Dangerous things, I’ve been dealing with dangerous things!
My recent sites have included brushes with landfill refuse, hydrocarbon contamination, used needles and everyone’s favourite toxic mineral – asbestos. The asbestos is the one I’m going to elaborate on as a quick internet search and talks with my new dig team indicate that a lot of archaeologists out there have no idea what this stuff looks like, though we all know how dangerous it is.
Asbestos was used for everything from the 19th century through to 1999 in the UK. The versatile fireproof, weather proof insulator was mixed up in everything from cement, cardboard, fabric, yarn, paper and even used in Hollywood special effects – remember the snow in the Wizard of Oz, or White Christmas – 100% pure asbestos, also marketed for private home snow decorations. Of course, now we know it contains a whole heap of horrible toxic material that sits in the lungs and causes all kinds of nasties so we all have to stay well clear and cannot use it in buildings anymore, though strangely it is apparently still used in the US and China. But although currently banned in the UK, this stuff is still everywhere – check the ceiling above you right now, is it Artex? That’s a white asbestos mix, don’t go drilling in it without a respirator.
I was working on a building site recently and vaguely expecting the odd bit to show up – we’d done an evaluation on the site and turned up a cache of the stuff in one of the trenches. Sure enough there it was, and oh boy was it a lot. Actually, it was enough for me to haul my team off site immediately and stand down the project until it can be professionally removed.
What I’ve found most surprising though is how few archaeologists know what to look for. My current team are fairly fresh out of university and several of them remarked that they had no idea of what asbestos looked like – they do now as we saw plenty, but it struck a chord. Sure, we’ve all done the online asbestos awareness course but the images that we are shown tend to be of nicely rendered asbestos tiles, or cement which is in place, not broken and not decaying. Essentially not how we as archaeologists come across it.
When archaeologists find asbestos it is generally because it is buried in the ground – unless you’re doing a building survey but that’s a different issue. There are several reasons for this, most involve either a deliberate burial of the material, something that is illegal now, but still happens and frequently happened in the 70s and 80s on farmland. Other times it can be that we’ve stumbled across something like an old asbestos lined basement, water tank, drainpipe or even an old air raid shelter as some had asbestos cladding, the list goes on.
Anyhow Asbestos is fine when its stable, (your Artex ceiling is fine), the fibres are all encased and nothing is moving anywhere, but break it and those fibres are released. Yep even in the cement stuff.
But when the archaeologists find it, the stuff has usually been buried in the ground for several years, and what happens to things in the ground? They decay, same with asbestos, fire retardant it may be, but even it can’t stand up to acidic soil and earthworms. So, when I scrape back a load of subsoil with a 20 ton mechanical excavator, what do I find? Stuff that looks like tile is the most common asbestos cement, though occasionally it can look like flexible grey metal, (think of a corrugated garage roof), it was also used for pipes so if you ever spot a drain pipe that looks a bit like it’s made of cardboard avoid it because you have asbestos. Essentially as an archaeologist, if it doesn’t look like something archaeological (ceramic or brick) and looks a bit odd: its probably asbestos. If you’re close enough to see a cross section, its fibrous composition is clear.
Actions: If possible, cover it up with plastic sheeting, clear the area and call the pro’s in to clear it out. As a last resort use the machine again to bury it but mark the position and still call the pro’s out to clear it. Do not tidy it up yourself. And definitely, most certainly: don’t eat it.
As a side note, archaeological studies have discovered asbestos being used by prehistoric people to strengthen ceramic pottery in the stone age. The word Asbestos itself comes from the ancient Greek for unquenchable and Pliny the Younger is widely (if not entirely correctly) thought to have been the first to notice the mineral’s detrimental effect on humans. There are also legends through the ancient world of Persian rulers who could clean their tablecloths by throwing them into the fire. So it’s not just modern asbestos that could prove problematic to the modern archaeologist. It seems humans have been messing around with its fire proof qualities for centuries. Other ancient sources cite asbestos as a cure for skin diseases, although it is possible that they meant soapstone as these terms have often been confused in texts.
In my last blog post I discussed my adventure into the depths of the Colosseum basement at midnight, following my characters footsteps through their second adventure in Rome. This time I followed my characters to a different part of the city. In Echoes of the Eternal City my team of teenage archaeologists find themselves needing to leave the city, whilst its history hangs in the balance, and head out down the famous Appian Way. Whilst they raced down the cobbled street on Vespa’s with time shifting all around them, I had an altogether more leisurely experience, walking with my husband on a hot and sunny day.
When we were in Rome 10 years ago we rather foolishly tried to do the Appian Way on our last day, wearing our heavy travelling clothes and dragging suitcases. Needless to say it did not go well! We walked across Rome, trekked about half a mile (if that) down the road that we thought was the Appian Way and eventually just gave up, both tired, hot and very grouchy as we couldn’t work out where we were. This time we were sensible and took the bus straight to the Appian Way visitor’s centre opposite the church of Quo Vadis, where according to tradition, St. Peter had a vision of Christ who told him to return to Rome (where he was fairly swiftly executed). Here we collected a very useful map.
The Appian way is still a major road out of Rome, at least it is whilst it’s close to the old city gates, a little further along the road splits and a route that looks suspiciously like the private driveway to a church takes pedestrians up the hill towards the first of the catacombs away from the traffic. And as luck would have it, right to the spot where on their return to Rome my teenage characters find themselves in the battle for Rome’s history.
From the crest of this hill it was possible to stand and see the gates of Rome to the north and the peaks of the Alban Mountains to the south, the tallest of which, Monte Cavo, is another key location in Echoes of the Eternal City. We continued southwards past the catacombs of St. Callistus, past the church of Saint Sebastian and the second set of catacombs located below the church.
Further south the road has less traffic and in some places still retains its original Roman cobblestones. We did actually watch someone carefully manoeuvre a scooter over them, all I can say having watched someone try it for real is that my fictional team had one hell of a bumpy ride!
Whilst the amble along the Appian way was itself a pleasant enough walk we were delighted to discover a number of well-preserved Roman ruins along the route, one of which was the Imperial residence of Maxentius, emperor of the early 4th century. Whilst most of the villa is inaccessible, Maxentius’ personal Circus is in a much better state of preservation than the more famous Circus Maximus in the city. Here the Spina remained standing for several courses of brickwork, gates and towers were clearly visible, as were the stands and part of the villa to which the whole thing was attached! Now I have villa envy, should I ever sell enough books to build myself a Roman villa I will now have to ensure that I have enough space for a private circus that could hold 10,000 spectators! Within the same grounds as the circus was a mausoleum known as the tomb of Romulus, built by Maxentius to house the remains of his eldest son in 309AD. Next door to this lies the large tomb of the wife of Crassus, (Crassus was one of the triumvirs with Julius Caesar and Pompey – he’s the one who led the ill-fated invasion of Parthia and came to a rather nasty end involving molten gold and his throat), like Viserys in Game of Thrones but more violent). The tomb was later used as a 14th century fortified tower. Another villa, Torre di Capo di Bove, or part of it further to the south was open to observation, with mosaic tiles still in place on the floor.
Every few hundred yards there was something to look at, be it more modern houses (people still live on the via Appia after all) or Roman tombstones from the cemetery that used to flank the route into the city. It was forbidden to bury people inside the city walls during the Roman period and so the roads outside Rome were flanked by tombs for miles in all direction, this made it a good place for thieves and murderers to hang out after dark. In fact, one of Cicero’s early orations was in defence of a man (Milo) accused of murdering another (Clodius Pulcher) on the Appian way outside a tavern. For those who have read Echoes of the Eternal City I will confess that I was enough of a Geek that the body my characters drive past in the road, is supposed to be the murdered Clodius Pulcher.
We passed a pleasant day wandering roughly five kilometres up the Appian way before heading back and investigating the first of the catacombs. The catacombs were a vast maze and without a guide we would surely have wandered there forever. I highly recommend a trip down at least one set of the catacombs, and in fact a day walking or cycling on the Appian Way itself. For those who manage to venture further along the road than I managed there are vast villas, aqueducts and plenty of mausoleums of Roman date to be seen. Should I have the chance to return to Rome I’ll be heading there equipped to attempt a hike of the whole road, perhaps I can even follow my characters and reach Monte Cavo, although there is nothing up there but an aerial mast these days, so I’m told.
S. M. Porter
Professional archaeologist and author, S. M. Porter loves history, adventure and digging in the mud. Her career is in ruins - just where she wanted it to be.