Saturday, July 4, 2015

June 28th

After an amazing 3 weeks, it was finally time to return home. We flew back to Rome and said our final goodbyes to Roberto, Andreina, Francesca, and Gian Mario. It was sad to to say goodbye, but we could not be more thankful to them for letting us be a part of such an amazing project like Monte Prama and for all that they have taught us.

You can check out this video to learn more about our experience and the amazing work of the CCA:

Ciao Italy! You will be missed.

June 27th

On Saturday, we traveled to our final destination, Alghero. We spent our last day enjoying the beaches near the city and exploring the city itself. Alghero has become a popular place for tourists and the city was filled with many shops to pick up last minute souvenirs. We were also finally reunited with Roberto and Andreina. 

After a long day in Alghero, we ended our night with a late dinner near our hotel. Our menu for the night included squid, pork, tuna, and plenty of pecorino cheese, a local product of Sardinia. The night was bittersweet knowing we would be back home in less than 24 hours.

June 26th

On Friday we had our last day of work where we finished up the last of the documentation and cleaning of the fragments we'd been working on. We also spent some time cleaning up the workspace and organizing the fragments and supplies we used including moving some of the large pieces back to their original positions and matching up pieces that joined. We also made sure to stock up on all our Mont'e Prama gear at the museum store. At the conclusion of our work we learned that we had documented, labeled, and cleaned about 1,950 fragments in just two weeks! 

Sadly, Roberto and Andreina had to leave us to give a lecture in Bosa but we would meet up with them again in Alghero on Saturday. Friday afternoon we went back to Tharros for one last visit to the beach and that evening we went out for a final pizza dinner (but we might have gotten a little lost on the way there). 

We were sad to say goodbye to Cabras and our work at the museum but we definitely had the experience of a lifetime and learned so much - it is safe to say we would all love to come back someday! 

Thursday, July 2, 2015

June 24th and 25th

For the 24th and 25th, the group continued to document, dry clean, and wet clean the new fragments. For these two days, our normal routine was slightly elevated in comparison to the previous days.  We were not only running out of time to finish documenting and dry cleaning, but we also had fragments that required extra attention.  For instance, we had a few of the Nuraghe statues’ heads that could complete one of the larger statues.  Besides having to clean these pieces, the group also had to finish wet cleaning the torso of Rocco and a nuraghe tower, which they are hoping to put on display in the very near future. 

Tuesday, June 30, 2015

June 23rd

After a day and a half at the beach we returned several shades tanner and sunburned to the Cabras Museum. Roberto got assistance from David and Eddie in moving the large boxer fragment we call Rocco into the courtyard. And wet cleaning continued on the archer torso and lower abdomen fragment which we discovered fit together. Around mid morning we took a trip to the opposite side of the lake in Cabras where a team of archeologists had began new excavations on the Monte Prama site. Already 16 new tombs had been discovered, but the primary purpose of the dig was to excavate the mysterious stone structure beside the tombs. It's meaning may shed light on where the Monte Prama statues originally stood and why. 
After visiting the excavation Roberto gave the group a tour of an ancient fishing village where an early roman cistern was repurposed as a church when Christianity was an "underground" religion. One of the most interesting elements of the church is the 2nd century roman graffiti showing fishing boats, women, and animals.
When we returned to the museum it was time to remove the stones that had become encrusted on Rocco, the boxer statue. Then the fragment was run through the atomizer. 
After dinner, Roberto lectured on the CCA's conservation of the mosaic of the Saint Catherine Monastery on Mount Sinai. The descriptions of the problems they faced and their ultimate success left us speechless.

Tuesday, June 23, 2015

June 20th-22nd

These past few days we continued our work documenting, dry cleaning, and wet cleaning the new fragments. We learned how to use atomized water to gently clean the objects in a noninvasive way. The atomizer sprays a carefully measured amount of water and air to create a fine mist that cleans the object without damaging its surface. The process is necessary to remove all the layers of unwanted dirt and encrustations that have built up over time. 

However, we ended these two work days early and took off all of Monday to enjoy the beautiful Sardinian beaches. We went to Tharros and Is Arutas. Is Arutas is known for its amazing marble sand and it lived up to our expectations. We also explored the various beaches right around Tharros looking for the perfect combination of soft sand and still, clear water. Tharros also was surrounded by Spanish towers that were once used to protect the coast from pirates. Part of the area was also a Roman town which was currently under excavation. Finally we were treated to a traditional Sardinian pasta dish made with dried fish eggs.

June 19th

Today we spent the day working, but we ended early to take a trip to Cagliari. While there we got the chance to see more of the Mont'e Prama sculptures at the National Archaeological Museum of Cagliari. Andreina gave us a tour and we got the chance to better study the different typographies. This helped us to better understand how the fragments we were cleaning in Cabras fit together. There also many other pieces of jewelry and pottery at the museum. Furthermore, we had the chance to hear Roberto speak at a Rotary club meeting about Mont'e Prama and his award. Although the presentation was in Italian, there were plenty of pictures and we were happy to cheer Roberto on. After the presentation, we got pizza and got a quick tour of the historic district of the city before heading back to Cabras.