This past summer I was fortunate enough to work under Roberto Nardi and his team at the Centro di Conservazione di Archeologica in Rome. For the first two weeks we learned conservation methods and practiced them on third century Roman frescoes and stuccos from a villa in Sant’Imbenia. Simultaneously we worked to refine opus sectile tiles which had been previously reconstructed by a CCA team. After working at the CCA headquarters (a converted monastery in Belmonte, Sabina), we went to Alghero, Sardinia where we excavated a prehistoric nurhagic site. The excavation included using a total station and digital level. A total station is a surveying instrument that measures slope from a certain point. The excavation team used it to determine the strata or levels of the site in places where digging had already occurred. The level we used shot a laser from one particular point to another, where a pole with a reflector is marked in height by centimeters. The beam of the laser reflects off the pole, allowing for a measurement in centimeters to be taken. Several measurements are taken around the site’s perimeter to calculate how much the level of the site rises or falls.
Learning archeological and conservation principles and methods were only parts of the trip. While working in Belmonte we visited several medieval towns including Rieti and Assisi. We visited many Roman museums including the Capitoline, Duomo and Coliseum. We were also able to study Roman stone cutting under the tutelage of Peter Rockwell and practice on both marble and limestone. We feasted on Italian cuisine and were able to engage the culture of Italy, both historic and modern.
— Emily Pearce