Rachel in Italy

Rachel is a Distinguished and Veritas Scholar who is majoring in Latin American Studies in Dedman College. She is participating in SMU-in-Italy and helping archaeologists excavate an Etruscan hilltop settlement.

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Experience of a lifetime

Wow. That’s all I have to say. Excavating on the Poggio Colla site has been the experience of a lifetime. Not just the excavating itself, but the entire life one leads in rural Vicchio, Italy. The people, the place and the program are what really make this trip amazing.

Starting with the people – during this program I’ve forged some of the most intimate friendships I’ve ever had. You don’t really bond with somebody until you’re down on your hands and knees sweeping dirt off of dirt so it looks “clean.” But seriously, the quality of individuals attending the Poggio Colla field school is unparalleled. I never want this trip to end! I want to continue living with 19 other individuals in tiny rooms at Vigna! Seriously though, I do.

The place. Oh, the place. Vicchio is one of the most picturesque places I’ve ever had the good fortune to lay eyes upon. I’ve become so used to the natural splendor, sometimes I have to pinch myself, look outside, and consciously remind myself, “I’m living on a vineyard in Tuscany, wow.”

The food is also just absolutely decadent. Two of the best cooks you’ll ever meet, Bruno and Beppina, live under Vigna’s roof with all of us. Talk about being spoiled. Dallas Italian food is going to pale in comparison when I return. Until then I’m going to gobble down pesto gnocchi like nobody’s business!

And finally we come to the program. Dr. Greg Warden and the rest of the senior staff keep this program running as smoothly as butter. Which is quite difficult considering the crazy maladies that inevitably pop up on this trip!

The junior staff who serve as our trench supervisors and assistants are also some of the most quality human beings I’ve met to date. They’re your teachers and friends. And they’ll squat down in the dirt with your and furiously excavate a 5m x 5m space with trowels smaller those used for gardening. That’s some devotion.

Devotion is really what this program is about: a dedication to finding and preserving history, a commitment to educating the world’s future archaeologists, and most of all, the drive to doing it all while having a really, really good time.

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