Today was the first day of the 2013 Portus field school. Staff and students arrived throughout the weekend in order to settle into their accommodation in nearby Fiumicino. The staff members were joined by 10 first year undergraduate archaeology students, 6 Curriculum Innovation Programme (CIP) students and 2 Lifelong Learning students, all from the University of Southampton. The rest of the team was formed of 15 Italian archaeology students from Roma Trea University, 4 overseas students and members of the British School at Rome (BSR) and Parsifal Cooperativa.
Upon arriving at the site the students were given a brief tour of the site, including through the Darsena, Terme Della Lanterna and the Grandi Magazzini di Settimio Severo. After coffee break, the importance of the health and safety while working on site were explained by Kris Strutt, the project’s health and safety officer. Dragana Mladenovic, the field school director, then gave the students a tour of this year’s excavation area and the related buildings of the Palazzo Imperiale and Building 5. This gave the students their first opportunity to see the site, while also gaining insight into the work that has been carried out in the previous years of excavation and how this year’s work fits into the archaeological process at Portus.
After lunch at the Casale, the students were given an introduction to the archaeological techniques that are used at Portus; these included context recording, archaeological survey, finds recording and processing and geophysical survey. The excavation teams were finalised and students were told of how they would be rotated through different tasks throughout the working week. This prepared them well for starting their excavation training tomorrow and gave them an idea of what is to come over the next three weeks at Portus.