The last few days have been spent adjusting to the new schedule, the area, the work we will be doing, and the artifacts we will be working with.
A couple of days ago a few of us visited the local graveyard. I have never seen one so beautiful and visited one so morbid. Each of the graves was well taken care, heavily adorned with bouquets, and lighted by floral and flame appearing lights. There must have been hundreds upon hundreds of graves - each one having it's own light as if as a guide in the after life. We went through and read each of the graves - infants, siblings, daughters, etc. The family mosaliams were some of the most adorned items in the graveyard; crucifixes lining the walls - made of silver, wood, etc, marble everywhere, alters in front of the deceased as you would see at a funeral. Marvel of the Italian's perception of death is heavily increased. Though the graves contained sad, final words of the deceased, they were rather aesthically pleasing in relation to the graves one may find in the states...."the inconsoliable"...And the state of the graveyard! I have been to many in the states - many of which contained types of vandalistic damage...this was not something you saw here.
Yesterday was spent at the Museum that houses previous year's findings (from this dig) and reviewing the importance of being careful of neglegance in the field. One minor mistake could cost the dig valuable information if an artifact is improperly handled or accidentally discarded. Yesterday we were also presented the opportunity to hold a few of the artifacts and begin to think like a true archaeologist. I can't express the feeling well enough to hold something dating back thousands of years ago that can and has lead to our understanding of an ancient civilization. To feel the fear of dropping it because of all knowledge that could be lost. It's impeccable, really, to think the impact one single item can have on an entire culture's knowledge of the past. The returning staff and the directors have additionally begun the tour of the plot of land that we consider to be the dig site and have been giving us lectures to further expand our knowledge of the Etruscan civilization. Despite the size of this town, there's always stuff to do: playing soccer or ultimate frisbee in the local soccer field, watching the sunset, hanging out at the bar/pool, and walking around. *Mental note: when in Italy, you pay for everthing*.
This weekend was one of relaxation - we didn't want to travel for a bit after our initial experience. A fellow team member and I hiked slightly Northbound to Radi and made it about half-way between here and Murlo. Though we were incapable of locating the ruins that we had initially set out to find, we discovered some pretty unique and spectacular architecture. The devotion to the houses here - almost every house here has a garden. The language barrier has been a bit of a slight issue, some of the people here do speak English, but it has posed as a dilemma when I try and ask the baker for a loaf of bread. I am still trying to get accustomed to a few culture differences. For one, they have what people refer to as the "siesta" (spelling?). Most businesses here are closed between 11-5 for the afternoon (aside from restaurants). It forces you to plan out your trips to the only local market for this very reason, otherwise you risk not being able to get something when you need it. There is a quaint pizzeria whose name translates to "Breakfast at Tiffany's" and a whole pizza is as cheap as 4 euros (SCORE!). It is also going to get some getting used to for when dinner is eaten (generally 8pm) - my internal clock still says 5 is dinner time. I am thankful that it didn't take much time to get over the jet lag, the key is to stay up for as long as possible (healthy, I know), and then let your body CRASH. Last night we were given the opportunity to meet some of the locals-the owner of the hotel threw us a party atop one of the hills just west of the town (close to our dig site). There was a pig roast (something I didn't quite enjoy very much), bonfire, yada yada. If you traveled a bit of a ways up from where we were on the trail, when the light was out, it was absolutely spectacular. Fire flies were everywhere in the dim setting. My camera couldn't capture it and what a shame that is, it was one of the prettiest sights I have ever encountered. The ambiance of the wee lights surrounding you in every which was magical. It was a simplistic natural beauty. I think I may head back up that way to enjoy the scene soon.
Today was a most splended of days. Giorgia, my old exchange student (left us about 3 years prior) came and visited my friends and I in Murlo. How time has escaped us and changed us both!! It was absolutely wonderful to see her. However, I am going to apologize to her for my lack of Italian ahah....good thing she is fluent in English! It did strike a bit of homesickness seeing as she is a sister to me, however, it is additionally comforting to know I have someone here in any due instance. Random note....but it's nice how close everyone here has become. In the few days we've all known each other, I can say I've grown closer to some of these people than I have in the years I have known some of my friends. We are together from morning to night; repeat. We still have another 6 weeks together and I am dreading that moment because I already know that I am going to miss every single one of them.
I am also going to apologize for my lack of posts lately, our wi-fi is....iffy and is hard to come across. We must go to the local hotel across the road and it holds only about 15-20 people at a time (and we have a team of about 70 people ahah) and time is valuable here. I am beginning to think that a post EVERY DAY may be a hard promise to keep. I hope everyone is well back in the states and please keeps the posts/comments coming. I love hearing from everyone!! The real first day of work begins tomorrow and it shall be a very long day (I am slightly worried for how it is going to be).
I will post some more photographs tomorrow. I had about 24 uploading and somehow there was a system disturbance and it quit. It takes a long time to upload and I don't have the proper time to wait for them to reupload this evening - my apologies. But they will be the photographs in accordance with this post. Don't forget to look for them! (: