Follow an average day

The excavation site does not open before 8:30 AM, so in the mornings we have quite some time to get prepared for the day. This includes breakfast, maybe a swim in the ocean at the private beach of the campsite, and if needed, a shower afterwards. When everybody is ready, we leave at 8.00 AM to go to our local caffé in Ostia Antica, where we get breakfast and something to drink.

Breakfast in the local caffé in Ostia Antica, Bar Centrale.
A close of the breakfast.

It is also possible to get some breakfast at the restaurant situated at the campingsite.

Breakfast in the caffé at the campingsite.

Before leaving the campingsite in the morning, it is decided who will go by car and who will go by train. Only 5 persons fit in the car including the driver (Prof. Dr. Axel Gering brings his own car). In 2013 and 2019, we had the luxury of having two cars, which meant that 10 persons could go by car.

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The two cars in 2013.

The train team often arrives 20 mins later, and goes straight to the excavation area, where the remaining team from the car(s) have prepared the equipment already.

Train team.

After arriving to Parco Archeologico di Ostia Antica, we delegate the different tasks for the day, which amongst others include getting the equipment and choose the lunch team. The lunch team visits the nearby borgo, where cheap vegetables, pizza, fresh meat a.s.o. can be bought in the local alimentari, while the other teams (measuring team, several digging and drawing teams for the different areas a.s.o.) initiate their work.

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The local vegetables and fruit shop.
The selection for lunch. Here we are in the newly opened supermarket, Todis, in 2021.
Preparing the material from the shed before the day starts.

One part of the team starts the de-vegetation. This is only a task the few first days of the campaign.

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Here is the de-vegetation of MFD in 2013.
De-vegetation in TDV in 2018.
De-vegetation of TFR 1 in the beginning of the campaign in 2019.

After the de-vegetation, the excavation, drawing, and measuring teams start their work and continue until lunchbreak.

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Measuring and drawing teams in MFD in 2013.
Excavation team in TFR 2 in 2019.

Between 1 and 3 PM we will have our lunchbreak. The break is roughly 2 hours, due to the extreme heat conditions during midday. The entire team enjoys the lunch together. During the years, the lunch break has been either on site or in the nearby borgo, where we have enjoyed locally made pizza.

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Our preferred lunch area in 2013 – the Ninfeo delle Venere.
A local pizza for lunch in 2020.
A close up of a home made panino – every ingredient is bought locally. Here in 2021.

During the breaks, it is possible to make some excursions around the city. In one break in 2012, we made a little excursion from our site on the Forum, went along the western Decumanus and ended at the Terme di Porta Marina.

Terme della Porta Marina.

After the lunchbreak, we continue work until 7.00 PM, where the archaeological park closes.

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Excavations in the portico MFP in 2012.
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Excavation and surface cleaning in the portico MFP in 2012.
Excavation in TFR 2 in 2019.
Deep excavation in TFR 2 in 2019.
Sometimes we encounter very large roots from the well-known Roman pine trees. They destroy pavements and mortar and require a lot of work to remove. Here in MFP in 2012.

Not only excavations are being conducted. Since 2015, a major part of our daily work has also revolved around all the marble fragments lying in piles around the Forum’s area. These individual fragments have also been scrutinised by the project every year since 2015.

Marbles from the deposit TRD in the precinct of Tempio Rotondo. They were found in 2015, and revisited in 2019.
Marbles found in TFR 2 and laid out in TFR 1 in 2017.
The marbles being sorted into architectural category, and when possible, further subdivided by dating. Here in 2017.
Here is one of the fragments being scrutinised by ph.d. candidate, Jesper Vestergaard Jensen in 2020.

After excavation, we are required to cover the excavations with geo-textile or something similar.

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The portico MFP is being covered after a day’s work in 2012.
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Covering the portico MFP in 2012 while some thunder is approaching from the southeast.

At 7 PM, we stop working and start to pack up the equipment in order to secure the area for the next day. Thereafter, the equipment is put into the shed.

The wheelbarrow has been prepared to bring the equipment to the shed. Here in 2017.
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The inside of the shed.
The Forum, when we leave it in the early evening. Here in late September 2021.

After a hard day of work, we visit the local cafe in the Borgo, where we have something to drink. Everybody can join the locals, but of course voluntarily – it is also an option to go straight back to the campingsite.

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An early evening at the Bar Centrale in 2013.
Here in 2020.

The dinner team will be defined during the day, and it is still possible for the dinner team to have one drink at the bar, before heading back to the campingsite, where the dinner will be prepared. The remaining team can stay a bit longer, before heading back to the campingsite where the dinner will be served.

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Cooking in 2012.
Cooking in 2019 with the table set and ready for dinner. Parts of the team are already ready.

…and the final result for the meat lover:

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A classical recipe in the OFP – a ragù with pasta and parmigiano.
Cooking salsiccia in 2017.

…and also for the vegetarians in our team:

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A nice selection of vegetarian dishes. This one from 2013.
Another dish. This time from 2018.

After the arrival of the remaining team, the dinner will be served, eaten, and enjoyed.

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A cosy evening in 2012.
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Another one in 2013.
A dinner in 2020.

After the dinner, some will work on their digital data of the day, while some discuss archaeological questions and the discoveries so far. Many people have to charge computers, cellphones and cameras, but everybody enjoys to have an extraordinary break from online civilisation – mostly due to the lack of WiFi. Sitting together and having offline conversations is sometimes even better...

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Evening program with computer work and conversations. In 2013.
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Long nights of conversation. In 2012.
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Also in 2012.
Fun and conversations in 2019.