Wednesday 9 November 2022

Questions About the San Casciano dei Bagni Excavations

Photos have emerged on social media purporting to show how Italian archaeologists are treating the coins excavated from the series of votive deposits at San Casciano dei Bagni and it is not a pretty sight. How is this site being "excavated"? There is no sign that these artefacts are all individually labelled by the excavators and each one tied in to a specific findspot and layer and the surrounding content of the layers so the mechanisms of deposition in the accumulated sediments can be studied. In the photo, one can see how these loose coins have been dumped into a rough stone basin through which somebody is rifling, grabbing handfuls to make a pretty photo. Is this investigation too nothing but a giant treasure hunt? 


Pretty chaotic looking site, handfuls of unlabelled coins: ArcheoCafe on Facebook 

If these really are a heap of loose coins extracted from the deep stratigraphic sequence in the spring deposits, think the archaeological community (for example the EAA at the bequest of the University of Siena and Italian monument conservation services) should urgently take an interest in the methods used on this site, because on the evidence of what is in the public domain, this does not look like this significant series of deposits is being examined and documented with the required attention to detail. If so, that would be scandalous. If the job cannot be done properly with the resources available, better to leave the site alone.

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