Ostia Archive

Four weeks looking at bricks and walls! 


I'm in Rome. At the Dutch institute and it's fantastic! I share a four bed bedroom with Elisabeth, Tessa and Lotte. The rooms are fully equiped with closets, a table and offcourse some beds. The weather is a bit disappointing right now, it's cloudy and it raines a bit. The bathrooms are great, we have three bathrooms so that should work, even with six women. We also have a dvd-player (yes we do!) and a cd-player. The kitchen is huge, there's a washingmachine and an iron. In short: eveything is present to make this trip a lot of fun. Including the people offcourse! 

What was less fun is the fact that Tessa, Ruud, Joost and myself almost missed the plane because we were waiting for Eelco who, turned out later, was the first to board the plane. Only we thought that he was still on the toilet. Elisabeth came for us and after a hasty boarding and a lot of angry looks from the employees of the airport  we were still on time. The flight was bumpy with some turbulence. The trip to the institute was fairly short, but the last few meters which we had to walk (up-hill) where hell-like. Especially because the weather changed a bit and the sun was shining at her best.

Now some of us are shopping (we do need breakfast for tomorrow) and some of us stayed in the institute (quess to which group I belong..) to take a wel-needed shower. I'm going back to the livingroom now but since we also have our own computers with internet as you can see, you'll be hearing from me soon!      


So here I am again! Lots of things have happened since the last time I wrote something on this page. I've been to Ostia, to the excavation site. But more of that later. On friday we had a tour round the library, which is very cool! It looks like a tipical old library with lots of wooden desks with old fashioned lamps. The are shelfs which you can only reach by stairs that go round and round and round.. And there are a huge amound of books. We sat there for a while to do research for our subjects (I'm in the religion group, we examine the temples. So far we've found out that there are three in the area we study). They don't have airco there so it was very warm. After a while Elisabeth and I went back to the kitchen to make pancakes! Offcourse they were great..

On saturday we went to the excavation site. We had to be there at nine and that meant we had to leave the institute at seven because there was going to be a strike. The public transport found it necessary to strike on our first day of travel!  The trains would only ride till 8.15. So it was 6.00 and my alarm rang.. It was a very warm day, so I was a bit worried about the heat but eventually that wasn't as bad as I expected. The site is enormous and we needed a full day to explore it all! It's preserved in a way that would make archaeologists in the Netherlands jealous, but mostly you can only see the lower part of walls. Sometimes however a building is preserved up to three or four floors high! This is exciting, not only because you can climb them and have a fantastic view of the excavation, but also because now we know that Roman buildings had more than one floor.  Below there could be shops and above people would live in small apartments. How many people lived in one apartment we do not know for sure. We avoided the area which we are going to study  because we would visit that on sunday. At the end of the day everybody was sweaty and tired but the heat was surprisingly bearable. We all needed to cool down so we went to the sea! Since the beaches in Italy are exploided by several companies and you have to pay for them, that wasn't as easy as it sounds. Luckely our teacher Mols could direct us to a small part that was free. It was very busy there, but we only needed water! Ruud hurt himself on some rocks when he was running into the ocean.. After a good swim and some evening sun (as if we didn't have had enough of that already..) we went to the supermarket to buy food for sunday because the shops would be closed on that day. When we finaly arrived at the institute people took a shower and Nicolette and I cooked diner: pastasalad. I made my grandma's koude macaronischotel and it was a huge succes! We eventually ate at 22.30.. Bit late..

On sunday we explored the part of the excavation which we are going to study and I saw our groups' temples. I will upload some pictures today if I have the time. That day it was really warm and the heat was less bearable and very damp. By the time we had seen the insula (quarter), in which there is no shade at all contrary to the rest of the site which had lots of trees, everybody was tired. We went to the museum at the site but people were just looking for benches to sit on instead of looking at art. So Mols let us go on a lunchbreak. The group was planning to lie in the park to get some rest and shade but at that moment a thunderstorm started. The rain and thunder cooled it down a bit so after the break everybody was feeling better. With renewed enthousiasm we returned to our insula. There each group explored his specific area to look for odd or difficult to explain things. The heat returned and offcourse my group works in an area with no shade except for some small corners which are flooded with ants.. After a while I took a break by going to the toilets to cool down a bit and put some water in my face. At 16.30 we returned to the institute. When the train arrived it was loaded with people going to Rome to see the game. We'd totally forgotten that but Italy had to play in the finals that evening.. So after a long ride feeling like sardines in a can we hoped that the subways wouldn't be that busy. They were sad enough even busier and Joost and I almost didn't get into the sub because it was so crowded. Nicolette even fell because some idiotic guy began pushing everybody into the train. She was almost run over by people but managed to get up in time. We were obviously happy to be home finally! It was Lottes and Joost turn to cook and they made spaghetti with loads of garlic and marrow (courgette). It was spicey and good! After dinner we saw the game (the guys only saw the first part and the penalties because after the first part they decided to go into town to watch the game there). Offcourse we cheered for Italy and boehd when Zidane gave his head bump. Well as you know Italy won and in Rome you couldn't miss that let me tell you! Everybody was outside screaming and hooting their horns, while riding in cars through town. The guys told us later that people were walking from the Circus Maximus (where everybody watched the game) to the Colosseum and back. Bit boring.. I went directly to bed after the game because I was very tired and surprisingly fell asleep immediately in spite of all the noise outside.

Today we stayed in the institute to read. I got up at nine because I deserved some rest I'd decided last night. I've just returned from the supermarket and I'm going to write a bit about temples now.


This morning we were again at the site to do some research. However, arriving there we found out that there was no water. Yep I mean no water at all. No water in the toilets, no water to wash your hands and no water to drink. It seems that having no water is an excuse to close the store where they usually (yep) sell water and food. Why we do not know but it wasn't very handy. Molls decided it was useless to hang around at a place where the heat is so intence that you need lots of water and there isn't any so we stayed there untill one. Nicolette, Niels and I wanted to check out the museum again because last time we were too tired and since then we'd found out that in the museum there are some statues that were located in or near our temples. But the museum wasn't open yet because they were cleaning it (not with water I suppose..) We then returned to our lovely temples and walked around and around hoping to solve some of the problems we are confronted with. I shall try to adress these problems shortly so you might get an idea what we are doing there.

  • there are three temples and one sanctuary at our site. One's dedicated to Hercules Victor (victory), one is attributed to Aesclepius (the god of healing and medicine) and of the oldest it is uncertain which deity was honored there. So a question is: which gods are honored in which temple?  Which arguments and evidence is there?
  • How did the sanctuary look is another question. Was it covered with a roof? In the sanctuary there are some differences in floorlevel, why is that? Has that something to do with the complete raise of the groundlevel of our site that happened somewhere in the first century B.C.? Why then are there so many different levels at one site?
  • What about watermanagement? There is archealogical evidence for a waterrad and some pipelines. There is also a building which function is unclear, but problably it also had something to do with water. It has two floors and in the ceiling there are lots of terracotta pipes. The area is next to a thermecomplex (baths)  so that would explain something. But not all!

 And how do we solve these problems? Indeed by looking endlessly, doing research and try to fit the pieces together.  Somewere around friday we should have a reasonable idea of the solutions (according to Mols) and by then I will tell you the answers. I'm having lots of fun figuring everything out and using my imagination though! At least now I'm pretty sure this is what I want to do (for now at least, I still intend to end up in some museum). At twelve we returned to the museum (we figured they would be ready by now even whithout water) but surprise! they had closed it! We didn't feel like going back to the site for only half an hour so we sat on a bench in the park looking at a working fountain (water from the Tiber which is nearby)  and lusting for water we could actually drink (the Tiber isn't very clean since Italians aren't the most enviromentally aware people). Eventually the others were finished and we returned home. There we did some more research (found a book about watermanagement in Dutch!!) and at eight we ate. Noodles (bami) this time with lots of veggies (groente)  for our vitamine C. I'm going to bed now, read some and then sleep! Tomorrow we will visit the Isola Sacra (which is a roman burial ground). Looking forward to that!

Sleep well ye'all!


Finally there are pictures to see! I've had so many problems updating them, even now I'm very annoyed because googlepages and hyves won't do what I want them to do!!! But if you look to the right on this page, there is a link to my hyves page where you can see the pictures. I doubt if more will follow because hyves fucking annoyed the shit out of me. Just like the computers here because there soooo slow...... People who want to see more pictures will have to wait till I'm back in the Netherlands. Sorry...

So what happened these last days. Hm, on tuesdaymorning we were at the site again doing some last research because the next day we would have to tell the rest of the group about our temples. We dicided that our site has been levelled several (probably three)times which explaines the differences in altitude. There were also changes done at the temple during the second raise of the ground. Furthermore we dicided that the temple of Aclepius isn't very likely to be dedicated to Asclepius because there isn't much evidence to substantiate this fact. These and a few other things we then worked out at the library. We ate mie and vergetables and went to bed. I was tired!!

On wednesday each group told the rest something about their area, what problems they had encoutered and which solutions they had thought up. That took a long time, longer than expected. But Mols was satisfied and we learned a lot from each other. After the orals Mols and Moorman (another professor from nijmegen, who was visiting us) companied us to the Isola Sacra, a burialplace near Ostia. That was very interesting. I will tell people about that when I'm back because I need to explain some thing using my pictures.

After the Isola Sacra we honored the beach with a visit again. There we made a friend, Marco. He's a friendly dog who's owner works in a bar at the beach (we think). Lotte bought a football so the guys were offcourse playing some weird soccergame thing. That's were marco comes in. He was running after the ball and almost caught it. Luckely he decided to wait untill Joost was there to rescue the ball. Marco received a compliment that he didn't bite it and the guys played on. The second time Marco got to the ball he decided he waited long enough and he bit the ball. That meant the end of our football because marco has strong teeth and the ball had a large hole after Marco was finished with it. The guys had fun chasing Marco around the beach to retreive the football. When he finally gave in everybody was laughing. After a long and fun day we returned home and remembered that we still had to eat. So at 23.30 we ate pasta with leftover veggies!!

I'm going to the beach now, so more will follow this evening or tomorrow!

On thursdaymorning we were again in Ostia doing some really last minute research because friday the endresults had to be known. In the afternoon we were supposed to be in the library but everybody was very tired so people lay on the couch or took a short nap. Because dinner was so late wednessday the dishes weren't done that day and as a result of that nothing was clean. Guess who's turn it was to do the dishes.. Yup my turn! And on top of that I it also was my turn to cook dinner. So when people were shopping Tessa and I turned the radio on (volume wide open) and did the dishes. We also cleaned the kitchen and mopped the floor. After doing that I made some rice-dish with Sanne. Unfortunately we had the wrong rice (desertrijst) so the dish turned in some kind of sticky thingy porridge with vegetables. It tasted good though so nobody was complaining! I went to bed early (well fairly early, it was eleven thirty before my head finally hit my pillow) because I was exhausted.

It's ten thirty right now so I'm going to bed (tired again yes..). Have to be up at six.. Bleh! I will tell you more tomorrow. For now: there are some more pictures on my hyve so check them out! Goodnight!

I know I'm way behind here.. But you know if you have to get up at six and be back at half past six in the evening, your a bit too tired to type long stories. But I'm trying to keep up.. Not succeeding, but trying none the less. Were was I? Ah friday.. Well friday. We had to tell everybody our final concluded story again. And so we did. Nothing much to tell about that because it probably is a bit boring if your less freaky than we are :). Fridayevening we had a lot of fun with a lot of boose. We knew that we would be free on saturday, so we planned to do some games. And ofcourse those are more fun when your tipsy or just wasted. First we played a few games of Mexicanen and after that a game called 'I have never..' You finish this sentence and everybody who has done the things that are said, have to drink. Needless to say which turn the game took after a few questions.. It was very funny and I was a little bit (cough!) tipsyin the end. At about three in the morning we ran out of questions and went to bed. ZZZZZZZZZZZZZZZZZZ!

The next day almost nobody was up before ten..  Me neither by the way.. Mols had warned us to rest but Joost and I wanted to see something of Rome. So with almost the entire group we went to Rome. We wanted to go to the Colosseum, but ended up near the Santa Maria Maggiore which is not very close to the C we found out.. With Lotte, Joost, Tessa and Nicolette I visited the church. It was a bit overkill but nice to see. We had to wear a scarf because our shoulders were visible (panic!!). Tessa also wanted to take a scarf but was told her shirt was ok, untill she turned around and showed the man her back wich was visible from top to bottom in her shirt.. That was funny! Ater the visit of the church we planned to walk to the colosseum but we gave up after a few blocks and took the subway. It turned out we had to walk miles below the ground before we arrived at the subwaystation. Lucky for us Termini has a lot of those automatic walk things (loopbanden). I wasn't feeling to well at that moment. Feeling a bit sick (perhaps the alcohol?) but Tessa gave me a babbelaar to and surprisingly that worked!

I'm talking to mum and Kelly and Wilbert right know, busy busy. So I will see you later! Ciao!


I'm back! Lets see.. Ah, well eventually we did find the entrance to the sub and we went to the colosseum. Joost took some pictures there. Elisabeth got a tear in her dress (a large one, the dress was hanging at her knees) but she had a veiligheidsspeld with her so she didn't have to walk around town half naked. The effect of Tessa's babbelaar wore off so I was feeling sick again. After the colosseum we saw the Forum Romanum but after that I decided to go home. Joost and Tessa went with me. We spent the day reading and resting in the livingroom. I liked it! Unfortenately I've now finished all my books..The others did the groceries  and before they were back a thunderstorm broke loose. It wasn't raining untill they were back though, so nobody had to walk in the rain. We ate chili con carne thanks to our cooks Eelco and Ruud. It was spicey but very nice! Sunday I spent at the beach with Joost, Elisabeth and Nicolette. Later Eelco, Ruud and Niels joined us. It was really really crowded! We rented a parasol (it costed five euro for the entire day and we could split the costs) and created some space for us to lie down. We immediatly ran to the water to cool down. It was heavenly! I've tried to get a more even tan, that means, loose the stripes on my arms and back and get my legs and belly to be as brown as my arms and back but I've failed pitifully so far. After yet another day in the sun we went home, took a shower and tried to get to the pantheon to find a restaurant. We then found out that the sub is closed at nine because of some building changes. So we dedided to take the bus. The first bus made a nice circle and dropped us of where we started.. The second bus took a turn in the wrong direction, so we got out at the first stop which was unfortunately far away from where we  started.. The third bus went al the way back and then took a turn to Termini (Rome's largest train/subway station. Which isn't quite near the pantheon.. We then gave up and decided to eat somewhere near termini. After some hesitation we chose a pizzaria. The food was good, the waiter nice (which is an exception because people in rome tend to be cranky, very cranky or just downright angry all the time) but the bill was a disaster (this is something we should have known because people in rome tend to take advantage on tourists). We had to pay 1.50 pp for the dry bread, 30 in total for use of plates, forks, knives etc and 30 as a tip..! Needless to say we were a bit angry. The food and the nice waiter didn't make up for the price we had to pay for it! As a revenge some of us (the ones who had bags that were large enough) took some glasses and the table decoration (which were lemons which we ate at lunchbreak at the site) home with them. So we are now a few glasses and a lot of laughs richer! The bus took us directly home this time and I went to sleep immediately (it was one 'o clock and we had to work the next day..).

On monday it was the real deal! We heard that we had to study walls (jeeh muurtjes turen..), and that day we practiced the art of writing everything down you see on a wall.. There are teams now existing of two people. I work with Nicolette and Joost with Elisabeth. We are in the same building and we're having lots of fun.. to much fun sometimes because we're a bit slow.. The first day was uneasy because we forgot half of what we had to write down officially. After some practice we had to change rooms and assess everything the other group had done. Nicolette and I found out that we had measured some spaces between bricks a bit stupid because the measurements were all the same. So our paper said that the distance varied from two to two centimeters..... Yeh we were a bit lame on our first day.. The rest was ok so we were not too worried. But I must say so far it is verry exhausting to work in the heat all day. I'm mostly looking for shadow all the time instead of looking at walls. Looking at walls btw isn't very exciting, when your finished with your first your done with it.  When I close my eyes I'm seeing bricks at the moment (yesterday I saw mosaics all the time) it's driving me crazy!! So this will be it for now, I'm going to have a look in the kitchen where Joost and Niels are making patat!! Bubye!                                                                                                                                                  

  • 35 graden in Italie op het moment! 
  • ik heb dan toch eindelijk met goed gevolg mijn propedeuse! (van kunstgeschiedenis he)
  • ik heb een paklijst!
  • zie foto's op de pagina: My pictures
  • The pictures have arrived! The pictures have arrived!!
  • zie Ostia foto's op mijn hyves. je moet wel onderaan beginnen want hij zet ze niet op datum neer. Fijn he, hyves!
  • vereer ook de hyves van joost, elisabeth en lotte eens met een bezoek want zij hebben ook foto's online staan. (via mijn hyves zijn ze te bereiken als vrienden).
  • 10 muggenbulten and counting.. They itch ith itch!!
  • ik ben bruin joh!! Helaas wel alleen op de plaatsen waar de zon komt dus ik heb een mooi t-shirt aan. Charming...
  • me hungry.. We eten meestal niet voor half negen en vandaag is het niet anders..