Back in April we made the executive decision to push back the beginning of excavations until summer 2023 due to a few unfortunate circumstances. But we are back in Italy and continuing our work on Libarna. We are welcoming our new Associate Director, Prof. Alexis Christensen. And this summer we are documenting one of the most important collections from Libarna, the Capurro Collection held in the Museale of Serravalle Scrivia. We will be crafting an online exhibit so everyone can enjoy this beautiful collection and the story behind it!
Gianfrancesco Capurro was a local priest and scholar back in the 19th century. He was an innovator and a man ahead of his time. While most collections at the time were private and for people of means, he wanted to create a museum of artefacts from Libarna for all the people to enjoy. The local legend goes that he went around to local landowners to ask them to donate the artefacts that they found on their land to his new museum. If they refused he would return and offer to pay them for the artefacts. If they still refused, he returned with his shotgun! This is just a legend, but it speaks to what an important figure and local hero he is in the community today.
To create this exhibit we are digitizing the entire collection. We have been working tirelessly to photograph all the artefacts and creating 3D images of the most interesting pieces in the collection. We are also having Zoe and Joseph creating scientific illustrations of some of them. Finally we will be collecting stories and oral testimonies about the collection and some of the individual artefacts to bring to life their importance to the history of the region.
It feels fantastic to be back and working again. But perhaps the best part has been the warm welcome we have received from all our dear friends and collaborators here in Arquata and Serravalle Scrivia, Associazione Libarna Arteventi, and the Soprintendenza Archeologia. So we want to thank everyone, but a special shoutout to our Field Director Melania Cazzulo, Iudica Dameria and Antonio Santopietro, and Libarna’s funzionario archeologo Dott. Simone Lerma.
We are currently planning a new field season for 2022. This will be our first season excavating after 3 seasons of geophysical survey! We are targeting a field where we were able to get excellent information using Ground Penetrating Radar (see the image below).
Our plan is to target a domestic area of the site. We want to learn about aspects of daily life. In the past there has been a lot of great research done on the civic architecture. However the only excavations and study of the city blocks with the domestic and commercial areas was carried out in the 1970s by the amazing archaeologist Silvana Finocchi. So we hope to be able to add to that body of knowledge and, in particular, carry out a careful study of the artefacts in their archaeological context.
And of course we will be taking out students! Teaching the future generations of archaeologists is of paramount importance to LULP. Teaching them and giving them the experience is so rewarding and gives added meaning to our work. If you or anyone you know is interested in participating, the information and application for the field school can be found at https://libarnaarchproject.org/field-school/.
You can also support the research by following our various social media accounts. We update frequently when we are in the field and try to get some good content up even when it’s out of field season. We post student work and information about staff as well as updates about the project.
You can follow the project via this blog and also:
Things have been uncertain these past couple years during the pandemic. We have mustered on hopefully each year. This year we are hoping to move forward with excavations in July. These will be our first excavations following 2 years of archival and museum work and 3 years of geophysical survey. We are excited! For those of you who follow our project keep your fingers crossed for the LULP team!
Thanks to help from donors LULP was able to hire a student research assistant to work on some legacy data (i.e. old artefacts dug up during earlier excavations). Our research assistant, Zoe Yamada Stave, started to compile a single database that will allow us to record and study the vast array of artefacts that have been excavated from Libarna over the past two decades.
If you haven’t had a chance to read Zoe’s fantastic post about the environmental context of Libarna, it’s a great read! We published it here on this blog at the beginning of summer.
If you have a little money to spare to help us out with costs for excavations, please check out our Ko-Fi page to donate: ko-fi.com/libarnaulp
Dear friends and supporters, It looks like we will be able to move forward with our summer project. We will be digitizing a collection of artefacts from Libarna, which will include a catalogue, images, and interviews.. We’ll be using ArcGIS StoryMaps as our platform. We will be photographing the artefacts in 360 degrees. We hope also to be able to get some equipment to do some 3D imaging. We’ll be including interviews with local officials, archaeologists, and residents to discuss the importance of the collection and specific artefacts
Also exciting news: keep an eye out for a post by our research assistant Zoe Yamada Stave, who has written about the environmental history of Libarna. She is a new team member/research assistant and will be joining us this summer.
Please consider a small donation to help the project out. If you can spare $5/£5/5 Euros it all adds up and we are very appreciative. You can donate at http://www.ko-fi.com/LibarnaULP.
Best wishes to all out supporters,
Katie and the LULP team
Cari amici e sostenitori, sembra che potremo portare avanti il nostro progetto estivo. Digitalizzeremo una raccolta di artefatti da Libarna, che includerà un catalogo, immagini e interviste .. Useremo ArcGIS StoryMaps come nostra piattaforma. Fotograferemo i artefatti a 360 gradi. Speriamo anche di riuscire a procurarci delle attrezzature per fare delle immagini 3D. Includeremo interviste con funzionari locali, archeologi e residenti per discutere l’importanza della collezione e di artefatti specifici.
Un’altra notizia entusiasmante: tieni d’occhio un post della nostra assistente di ricerca Zoe Yamada Stave, che ha scritto sulla storia ambientale di Libarna. È un nuovo membro del team / assistente di ricerca e si unirà a noi quest’estate.
Si prega di considerare una piccola donazione per aiutare il progetto. Se puoi risparmiare $ 5 / £ 5/5 euro, tutto si somma e siamo molto riconoscenti. Puoi donare su http://www.ko-fi.com/LibarnaULP.
LULP is hoping to go out to Libarna this July to do some work to create an online exhibition tour of a small museum in the local town of Serravalle Scrivia. We plan to create an online exhibit that can link to the fantastic website for the site of Libarna itself (http://www.libarna.al.it/en/) and help tell the story of the site from its foundations in the 2nd cent. BCE to its place in the modern world. We are seeking donations from people interested in the project. We know people are strapped for cash, but if you can spare even $5 that adds up and allows us to do our work. You can donate at www.ko-fi.com/LibarnaULP. Anything you can spare would be much appreciated
We have big plans for this small museum. As always, we want to work closely with the local administration the Soprintendenze Archeologia, belle arti e paesaggio per le province di Alessandria, Asti, e Cuneo* (SABAP-Al for short) and the local community. It is, after all, their history.
First, a good thing to point out is that everything will be bilingual – in English and Italian. We plan to invite members of the SABAP-Al (especially Dott. Simone Lerma who works hard to help us carry out our research at Libarna), local archaeologists, magistrates, and school children working on the collection, as well as the people of the Libarna Arteventi Associazione (http://scoprilibarna.it/), particularly Antonio Santopietro and Iudica Dameri, and other local people interested in the site and its history to talk about certain artefacts in the collection either on video, sound bites, or written testimonials. We also have a wonderful ceramics/pottery specialist, Melania Semeraro, who we hope to get on video discussing the local types of pottery and highlighting some of the examples in the museum.
We hope to bring down some specialists in photogrammetry to create 3D images of particularly interesting artefacts, mostly those that our local experts and school children will be discussing. For the rest of the artefacts we have a photo turntable to take 360 degree images of the other artefacts. So, not only will you be able to see them in great detail, but you will find out their connections to Libarna and the region as a whole. Most importantly, that some museums have forgotten, is that they should weave a narrative to help the visitors understand the archaeological site, its history, its artefacts and how they all connect. This is what we seek to do online with this museum.
Right now we are in the early stages of planning; there is still a lot of uncertainty. I suspect it will be March or April before we have confidence that our project can move forward this July. But please, consider donating just a small sum to help us out and to bring this fascinating site, its history, and its artefacts to the world through the internet. Should we not be able to go to Italy in July due to COVID, know that the money raised will go to our first season of excavations in 2022.
So, please if you can spare a little money, you can donate it at www.ko-fi.com/LibarnaULP. There is no set time limit, so you can donate up through June if you can’t spare anything now. We know times are tough.
*It took me a long time to learn that, so just remember SABAP-Al 🙂 – Katie
Here is the video, filmed by the Libarna Artevent Associazione. The event was sponsored by the Soprintendenza archaeologia, belle arte, e paesaggio per le province di Alessandria, Cuneo, e Asti (SABAP-AL). This is a presentation in a mix of English and Italian introducing ourselves and the project and about discussing our field work in 2017. We had a great turn out; lots of people from the area came to listen. Katie and Nana are presented by the wonderful Dr. Alessandro Quercia, the former official of Libarna. The following year Dr. Quercia moved on and we began to work with the wonderful Dr. Simone G. Lerma as Libarna’s new functionary. We are working on getting subtitles or a transcription in Italian and English for the relative parts.
Ecco il video, girato dall’Associazione Libarna Artevent. L’evento è stato patrocinato dalla Soprintendenza archaeologia, belle arte, e paesaggio per le province di Alessandria, Cuneo, Asti (SABAO-Al). Questa è una presentazione in un mix di inglese e italiano che introduce noi stessi e il progetto e sulla discussione del nostro lavoro sul campo nel 2017. Abbiamo avuto un ottimo risultato; molte persone della zona sono venute ad ascoltare. Katie e Nana sono presentate dal meraviglioso dottor Alessandro Quercia, ex funzionario di Libarna. L’anno successivo il dottor Quercia si trasferì e iniziammo a lavorare con il meraviglioso dottor Simone G. Lerma come nuovo funzionario di Libarna. Stiamo lavorando per ottenere i sottotitoli o una trascrizione in italiano e inglese per le parti relative.
Grazie Mille per le Soprintendenza Archeologia Belle Arti e Paesaggio per le province di Alessandria, Asti e Cuneo (SABAP-Al), soprintendente Luisa Papotti, Funzionario Dr. Simone Lerma, Libarna Artetevente, particolarmente Antonio Santopietro e Iudica Dameri, Melanania Cazzulo, Funzionario Dr. Alessandro Quercia, Signora Nicoletta Cucinella, Sindaco Alberto Carbone, Sindaco Alberto Basso, Silvano, e chiunque possa aver dimenticato involontariamente.
Due to the COVID situation we are postponing excavations and the field school until 2022. However, if you are interested, please get in contact at any time. Reach out to firstname.lastname@example.org or email@example.com with any questions.
We plan to be digitizing a 19th century collection of artefacts recovered from Libarna in summer 2021. So keep an eye out for the virtual experience of the collection in Fall 2021. This project will be conducted with the guidance of SABAP-Al, the comune of Serravalle Scrivia and Arquata Scrivia, Liverpool University, and the Libarna Arteventi Associazione. In addition to showing the artefacts in 360 degree photography and in some cases 3D, we plan to have interviews with several experts to explain the artefacts and what they tell us about Libarna and Libarna’s place in modern history. The virtual experience will be bi-lingual in English and Italian.
We hope our virtual artefact collection experience will be a useful accompaniment to Libarna’s fantastic website:http://www.libarna.al.it/en/
N.B. Sotto scadente traduzione italiana di seguito
It’s hard to know what the world will be like in 6 months, but the LULP are pushing ahead to plan should we be able to carry out work it Italy. We must consider whether SABA-Al and MiBAC are conformable granting permits to non-EU projects, especially American ones. We must also consider whether the many wonderful people of Arquata Scrivia, Serravalle Scrivia, and Gavi, who host us, will want us there considering the risk Americans may pose. The wonderful LibarnaArteventi Association also may not feel fully safe with Americans there.
There are many things that may change in the coming months, but this is where we are right now in terms of plans. We have two courses of actions that we might take this summer depending on what happens in the coming months.
The first option is a small scale excavation. Staff members only, 3 weeks, 1 trench. This plan seems unlikely to happen this year for a number of reasons. We have submitted a grant application to the AIA-NEH, though we will not learn the outcome until January at the earliest. I still believe strongly that excavation is a worthwhile endeavor, but that this year is not the year for it to begin. We have team members who are currently unable to travel either due to underlying health conditions or closed border policies in their home countries. Many students many not be willing or able travel. Postponing excavation to 2020 seems the most sensible course of action.
The second plan allows us more flexibility in planning, a smaller team, and an opportunity to create something for people across the world to enjoy. We want to digitize the Capurro Collection, an assemblage of artefacts from Libarna that had been collected in the 19th century by local landowners as they worked their fields. Capurro was a local priest, who wanted to create a museum for the people with the materials from Libarna.
Today that collection is kept in a municipal building of Serravalle Scrivia and is opened upon request. The collection itself, thought smaller than it was when Capurro first took possession of the artefacts, provides some important insight into life in Libarna. We hope to be able to create either 3D images or 360 degree photographs along with information about the artefacts so you can learn about them from home. We plan to have a video of one of our collaborators lead a tour through the collection and other videos of featuring specialists discussing particular artefacts. We hope to offer an interactive and educational experience that allows you to learn more about Libarna and some of its artefacts. We want you to come away with a little more understanding and knowledge of Libarna from your very own homes.
This plan, too, will rely on certain team members getting into Italy as well as permits to photograph or scan the artefacts and make them publicly available online. However, I believe this is a more reasonable project and in the days of COVID it will allow people to enjoy another aspect of Libarna. We plan to keep up with our usual social media and bulletins to keep people aware of how the project is going on. We do hope to bring 2-3 student volunteers, making out team about 6 in total, not including all the wonderful local experts we work with.
If you haven’t seen the fantastic website about the archaeological site itself, developed by Dr. Venturino just prior to her retirement from the SABAP-Al, check it out: http://www.libarna.al.it/en/
In the meantime, understanding the economic hardship everyone is dealing with, we are using something called Ko-Fi. It has no time limit, so we can raise money up until June. Also it emphasizes small donations. So if you think either of these projects here sound interesting and have $5 or €5 to spare, we would be very appreciative of this support. You can donate here: https://ko-fi.com/libarnaulp
We will finish with thanking Soprintendente Luisa Papotti, funzionare Dr. Sermine Lerma, Mayor Alberto Carbone of Serravalle Scrivia, Mayor Alberto Basso of Arquata Scrivia, Associazione LibarnaArtevente (especially Antonio Santopietro and Iudica Damei), Nicoletta Cucinella, assessore of Arquata , and all the wonderful people of Arquata and Serravalle. Last but not least we thank our own Field Director Melania Cazzulo, who has been such a help to us that it is impossible to put into words. I would also like to thank my friend Dr. Alessanro Quercia, who, I (Katie), got to know at the University in Leicester. LULP would be nothing without these people. If we have forgotten anyone, it was unintentional and we sincerely apologize.
Thank you all! We hope to see you in June/July 2021. And hopefully we will be digging and getting covered in dirt in 2022!
Best wishes from Katie and the entire LULP team
Traduzione in italiano (piuttosto mediocre, scusa)
È difficile sapere come sarà il mondo tra 6 mesi, ma la LULP sta spingendo avanti per pianificare se dovessimo essere in grado di portare a termine il lavoro in Italia. Dobbiamo considerare se SABA-Al e MiBAC sono conformi per la concessione di permessi a progetti extra UE, soprattutto americani. Dobbiamo anche considerare se le tante persone meravigliose di Arquata Scrivia, Serravalle Scrivia e Gavi, che ci ospitano, ci vorranno considerando il rischio che gli americani possono rappresentare, anche la meravigliosa Associazione LibarnaArteventi potrebbe non sentirsi completamente al sicuro con gli americani lì.
Ci sono molte cose che potrebbero cambiare nei prossimi mesi, ma questo è dove siamo adesso in termini di piani. Abbiamo due linee di azione che potremmo intraprendere questa estate a seconda di cosa accadrà nei prossimi mesi.
La prima opzione è uno scavo su piccola scala. Solo membri dello staff, 3 settimane, 1 trincea. Questo piano sembra improbabile che avvenga quest’anno per una serie di motivi. Abbiamo presentato una domanda di sovvenzione all’AIA-NEH, anche se non apprenderemo il risultato fino a gennaio al più presto. Sono ancora fermamente convinto che lo scavo sia un’impresa utile, ma che quest’anno non sia l’anno in cui inizierà. Abbiamo membri del team che al momento non sono in grado di viaggiare a causa di condizioni di salute sottostanti o di politiche di confine chiuse nei loro paesi d’origine. Molti studenti molti non vogliono o non possono viaggiare. Posticipare gli scavi al 2020 sembra la linea d’azione più sensata.
Il secondo piano ci consente una maggiore flessibilità nella pianificazione, un team più piccolo e l’opportunità di creare qualcosa che le persone di tutto il mondo possano apprezzare. Vogliamo digitalizzare la Collezione Capurro, un insieme di manufatti di Libarna che erano stati raccolti nel XIX secolo dai proprietari terrieri locali mentre lavoravano i loro campi. Capurro era un prete locale, che voleva creare un museo per le persone con i materiali di Libarna.
Oggi quella raccolta è custodita in un edificio comunale di Serravalle Scrivia ed è aperta su richiesta. La collezione stessa, ritenuta più piccola di quanto non fosse quando Capurro prese possesso dei manufatti, fornisce alcune importanti informazioni sulla vita a Libarna. Speriamo di essere in grado di creare immagini 3D o fotografie a 360 gradi insieme alle informazioni sui manufatti in modo che tu possa apprenderli da casa. Abbiamo in programma di avere un video di uno dei nostri collaboratori che guida un tour attraverso la raccolta e altri video di specialisti che discutono di particolari artefatti. Ci auguriamo di offrire un’esperienza interattiva ed educativa che ti permetta di saperne di più su Libarna e alcuni dei suoi artefatti. Vogliamo che tu venga via con un po ‘più di comprensione e conoscenza di Libarna dalle tue stesse case.
Anche questo piano si baserà sull’ingresso in Italia di alcuni membri del team e sui permessi per fotografare o scansionare i manufatti e renderli pubblicamente disponibili online. Tuttavia, credo che questo sia un progetto più ragionevole e ai tempi di COVID permetterà alle persone di godersi un altro aspetto di Libarna. Abbiamo in programma di tenere il passo con i nostri soliti social media e bollettini per mantenere le persone consapevoli di come sta andando il progetto. Speriamo di portare 2-3 studenti volontari, creando una squadra di circa 6 in totale, esclusi tutti i meravigliosi esperti locali con cui lavoriamo.
Se non avete visto il fantastico sito web sul sito archeologico stesso, sviluppato dalla Dott.ssa Venturino poco prima del suo ritiro dal SABAP-Al, date un’occhiata: http://www.libarna.al.it/en/
Nel frattempo, comprendendo il disagio economico con cui tutti hanno a che fare, stiamo usando qualcosa chiamato Ko-Fi. Non ha limiti di tempo, quindi possiamo raccogliere fondi fino a giugno. Inoltre sottolinea piccole donazioni. Quindi, se pensi che uno di questi progetti qui sembri interessante e hai $ 5 o € 5 da spendere, saremmo molto grati di questo supporto. Puoi donare qui: https://ko-fi.com/libarnaulp
Concluderemo con i ringraziamenti al Soprintendente Luisa Papotti, al funzionamento della Dott.ssa Sermine Lerma, del Sindaco Alberto Carbone di Serravalle Scrivia, del Sindaco Alberto Basso di Arquata Scrivia, dell’Associazione LibarnaArtevente (soprattutto Antonio Santopietro e Iudica Damei), Nicoletta Cucinella, assessore di Arquata, e di tutti splendide persone di Arquata e Serravalle. Infine, ma non meno importante, ringraziamo la nostra Field Director Melania Cazzulo, che ci è stata di tale aiuto che è impossibile esprimere a parole. Vorrei anche ringraziare il mio amico Dr. Alessanro Quercia, che, io (Katie), ho avuto modo di conoscere all’università di Leicester. LULP non sarebbe niente senza queste persone. Se abbiamo dimenticato qualcuno, non è stato intenzionale e ci scusiamo sinceramente.
Grazie a tutti! Speriamo di vedervi a giugno / luglio 2021. E speriamo di scavare e di essere ricoperti di terra nel 2022! E scusa per il mio italiano scadente.
Dr. Ash Lenton, who produces the podcast Foreign Countries: Conversations in Archaeology, interviewed our own Nana Friedman about our work at Libarna. Give it a listen. It will tell you a bit more about our work and what we hope to contribute to our understanding of the Roman world, Cisalpine Gaul, and the archaeology of imperialism.
Every archaeologist I know has had to confront the effects of the Covid-19 which has completely upended the field of archaeology. Like many others we of the LULP had to postpone our dig season for this summer. Postponing this season was the only choice we could make we the health of our students and ourselves. Libarna has been an abandoned city since 500 AD, it can wait a little longer to yield its secrets.
We love conducting our research and answering important questions about the Roman world. Our postponed 2020 field season is disappointing. Missing a season will delay our long term research goals but will not stop us. Not being in the field is not unusual; archaeological projects often have study years when research and writing are prioritized over collecting new data. In this vein the LULP is continuing to work during this summer, albeit from home. Currently, we are planning next year’s field season. One major part of this planing is students for the field school, which I will address in the next blog post. We also are applying for grants and writing up papers.
Another reason we are upset is because we make close connections with local archaeological departments and community members. With a delay, we miss out on a year of all the joys and pains of the village life. We especially worry about our famiglia italiana during this crisis.
So what information or words of wisdom can we offer for the current situation. Modern epidemiology is not in our normal purview. However, we as archaeologists have studied multiple eras of human history. Many times before humans have had to confront global pandemics. Even in the Roman period, two major pandemics struck during the reigns of emperors Marcus Aurelius and Justinian. What we can learn from historical examples is that societies can recover even from these severe shocks.
We wish you all well and hope you are safe and healthy during this time.