22 December 2008

What are they watching?

It seems that we men have this uncontrollable desire to watch others doing manual labor, especially when it is something involving digging.

Over the past year they have been laying new utility lines under the streets around Piazza del Popolo here in Ascoli Piceno. In each of the major sections when they do this they have had to stop for months at a time as a result of some artifact that is discovered under road surface. The contractor is repeatedly blamed in the newspapers for delays but how are they to know what might lie below the surface?

This is a common problem in Italy where if you dig around enough you are bound to discover some ruins from a couple hundred or even thousand years ago. I have heard stories of people who have land and if they are digging and discover something they quickly cover it back up as they don’t want to deal with the bureaucracy involved with such a discovery.

Last Christmas they stopped work up near Piazza Roma as they found a wall section from a building dating to the Roman period. Last summer they stopped on the east side of Chiesa San Francesco as they uncovered a ceramic shop, complete with a kiln, dating from the medieval period. The most recent find was a little morbid; a grave. On the west side of Chiesa San Francesco they uncovered the skeleton only a few feet below the surface just outside the former monastery that was attached to the church. There are various speculations circulating as this is suspected to be a monk - but why was he buried outside the monastery?

A few days after I took these photos the skeleton had been removed. Soon, as with the other finds, this area will be filled in, covered with concrete and paved over with the rest of the surrounding streets. Who knows what they will find under the next section of street they excavate?


Niki said...

I love stuff like that. Archaeology, discovery. Very cool. I don't know if you've ever heard of the show Cities of the Underworld. It comes on the History Channel. One of my favorite shows. :-)

marybeth said...

I really enjoyed this post...both for the information you provided and for the memories it evoked of my trip to Ascoli this fall. I walked along the street near la chiesa di San Francesco several times a day, and would enjoy being there now to witness the excitement this new discovery must provoke.
grazie tanto!

Bryan said...

Niki - No History Channel here but that sounds like an interesting show, HC was one of my favorite when we lived in NM.

Marybeth - It is fun to be able to picture an area someone talks about across the world and say..."I know exactly where they are talking about!"!