Rome (Italy) • September 2016
I Volunteered for This?!
What a Pile of...Sherds?!!
It is often said that archaeology is nothing more than the digging up of ancient people’s trash. The site of Monte Testaccio in the Testaccio neighborhood of Rome, however, takes this idea to an entirely new level. The entire 135-foot-high mound, now covered with grass and trees, is made up of discarded amphora sherds from the first to fourth centuries A.D. The tens of thousands of amphorae represented by the massive pile of sherds originally held olive oil that had been shipped from the Roman provinces to the capital.
How does a dig team work? What do archaeologists look for at a dig? In this documentary DVD, learn how excavators work and what we can learn from archaeology. More information.
All of this ceramic “trash,” however, is actually quite useful for reconstructing ancient Roman economy and commerce. Many of the amphorae were marked with the seals of the olive oil distributors, as well as the names of the exporter and the contents of the vessel. Such information can help archaeologists and historians better understand the nature of commerce and exchange in the Roman Empire.
José M. Blazquez
José M. Blazquez is professor emeritus of Universidad Complutense de Madrid and a member of the Spanish Royal Academy of History. He is an expert in the pre-Roman and Roman history of Hispania and has published extensively on both subjects.
José Remesal Rodríguez
José Remesal RodrÃguez is a professor of ancient history at the University of Barcelona. He is an expert in the social and economic history of the Roman Empire and has focused much of his work on studying the production and commerce of food in the ancient world.
Periods of Occupation
Dates of the Dig
May 1, 2016
Academic Credit/Cost per Credit/Institution
Yes - Academic credit is available in coordination with participant’s school
Participants will stay in double rooms in a nearby apartment and will eat meals at local restaurants.
Open for tours
Yes - by appointment
BIBLICAL ARCHAEOLOGY SOCIETY NETWORK LINKS