Ever wanted a real-life Indiana Jones moment? Traveling with my students is one of my favorite things about teaching. Seeing the world through their eyes is fun and reminds me to keep my own horizons open. On this visit to Rome, our tour included a full day archaeology project about 30 miles to the south along the Appian Way. We were told we would be working on uncovering a tomb at one of the watering stations the Romans set up every ten miles. Would we find a skeleton? Jewels? The conversation on the way was full of questions and anticipation. The 'real' archaeologists taught us how to dig carefully, along a level section, rather than straight down as was our first instinct. Working slowly in the damp earth we uncovered a lot of Roman bricks, which thrilled us but left the locals rather unimpressed. Finally we found some pieces of pottery which the lead researchers were very excited about. It helped them to date the tomb to the second century, and they wrapped it up with great care in a plastic shopping bag. So much for the glamour of archaeology. After digging all day, we were happy and exhausted. We cleaned off the mud and went to eat with some truckdrivers at an outdoor café-disco. (I guess things get lively in the village at night). Even while eating my Panini on a dusty picnic table I knew: this was my best day of teaching, hands down.
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