January 24, 2007

day 11: tombs

la foto piĆ¹ bella
Mike and Francesca survey the tombs

i menzioni d'onore
Tomba dei Leopardi banquet scene Tomba della Caccia e Pesca

tutte le foto della giornata (58)
guarda le foto sulla mappa

the day's eventsthe second tuesday marked the first real all-day city course field trip. that also meant our first bus ride with Fabio. after breakfast we all made our way out to the bus. i found a seat somewhere near the middle-back. before we could leave we had to do the emperor countoff...oh wait, that was the first time we did it. Klaassen read off the list of emperors as they were assigned to people and then we did a couple practice runs, which sucked. eventually we got through it once and headed out.

if i remember right, i think i had a pretty calm busride, mostly looking out the window as i listened to an episode of TWiT on my ipod.

upon arrival at Tarquinia we entered through the gift shop/biglietteria and stopped just on the other side to get an introductory lecture from Maas. the only problem was that it was so blasted windy that we could barely stand up straight, let alone hold our notebooks or pay attention. he cut it short, thankfully, divided us into groups of three (i was with Andrew and Creaser) and sent us off to check out the tombs.

down to the tombsour group apparently just wasn't fast enough, because every single tomb that we went to already had somebody in it, and only one group could fit down there (comfortably) at once. we tried a few of the tombs near the entrance to the site with no luck, then thought we would fare better if we went down towards the end, but that didn't work either. eventually we just decided to wait for any groups ahead of us. that at least meant we got to stand inside the shelter at the top of the stairs rather than face the gale outside.

Tomba della Fustigazione erotic imageTomba della Pulcella stone bedview from the Tarquinian plateauwe did ultimately get around to 12 tombs out of some 15 or so that were listed on our checklist, which wasn't bad. we made sure to see all the highlights. nobody's trip was complete without checking out the porn on the wall in the Tomba della Fustigazione. on a more highbrow, archaeological note, we also made sure to check out some fancy carving at the Tomba della Pulcella. it was fun walking down the side of the hill to it, and then you almost had to run back up just to beat the slope and the wind. there was also a lovely view of the countryside from over there.

after being rounded up from all over the site, we piled back on the bus for a short drive into the town of Tarquinia, to go to the archaeological museum. i think our appointment to enter was at noon, and we got there before that. since we were all pretty seriously chilled through from the wind, Maas took us all to a bar and bought everyone hot chocolate or cappuccino. i opted for the hot chocolate, which wasn't too bad of a decision. it was very rich, but most of all it was warm.

view from Tarquinia antiquities museumthen we headed across the street to the museum. it was like etruscan overload. we got our whirlwind introduction to bucchero, terra cotta sarcophagi, and most important for me, etruscan writing. i think we did split up into three groups, and this was where we learned that (all other matters aside) it's best to go with Walsh on a museum tour because he'll actually point out the most useful stuff. anyway, i at least remember him giving the bucchero talk. there were no pictures allowed in the museum (shame, because they had some awesome stuff, including the famous sarcophagus with the man holding the etruscan scroll), but i snuck one that i figured nobody would mind while in a non-exhibit walkway on the second floor. oh, i also learned a little bit of italian from PK when somebody set off the alarm by leaning too far into the reconstructed tomb exhibit, and she had to apologize to the custode. how had Barbara not tought us "mi dispiace" in the first two classes? ah well.

it was past 1pm when we left the museum, and we were starving. we ran back to the bus to collect our lunches, and then had to find a place to eat them. some people just descended on bars, carrying their bag lunches with them. if it were later in the semester and i'd known better, i would have done just that (making sure to buy something from the bar so as to not piss off the owner). instead i thought that seemed a bit too rude and ate outside with PK and Alicen (and Kerry, were you there? i don't know. sorry!). i nearly froze my hands off eating my prosciutto cotto sandwich and trying to hold everything in place with my juice box.

walking through the Cerveteri siteCentristi in the tumulothen it was mercifully back to the bus for the ride up to Cerveteri. again we got a brief intro on arrival at the site, and then were turned loose. we were allowed to roam as we pleased, no groups to stick with or real assignment except "go see things." sometimes lots of centristi crammed into a single tumulus, sometimes we split up, sometimes we climbed in or on top or around them. Sick Nasty made a particularly death-defying leap into a flooded tomb, yet managed to keep himself and his camera dry.

view from a tall tomb topi heard there were some cool ones down near the end of the site, and went off to try to find those. Jetta was tagging along, and because i had got some bad first impression of her i tried (and succeeded) to ditch her (sorry, Jetta!). that didn't turn out so great for me because shortly after i did that i got completely butt-lost. i had a map, which should have helped, but i couldn't get oriented because everything in the whole damn place was round. i tried to climb one of the tumuli to get my bearings, and that didn't help much either (except i got a nice photo out of it). i ran into the edge of the site, but couldn't find any way back to familiar territory. i knew it was getting close to when we were supposed to meet back at the entrance, and i was starting to panic. i don't know exactly how i got back (i know i made a complete circle more than once) but i managed to find the main path without needing anyone to come search for me.

the rest of the day was pretty calm. bus ride home, collapsed for a while, had dinner. after dinner i went down to the lobby and did some photo editing. Alyssa came by and saw what i was doing and we talked photography for a bit. more on that photo editing process in the next post...