The archaeologist in the field
The only thing that grows on this mountain, or at least this part of the mountain, is grass accompanied by thorny bushes. This is where we work, under a scorching sun with not a single drop of water nearby. Besides our tools, the filled bottles of water we carry up the mountain are essential and cannot be forgotten.
When no one speaks, the only sound you hear is the scratching of trowels over the dirt, and grassroots snapping when they stand between that piece of garden equipment and the dirt. The grass never stands a chance, although it often tries. It is a stubborn grass-type, I’ll give it that. Its roots are thick and go down a lot further than those of the grass that grows in your backyard. But the trowel, and annoyed archaeologist are dreaded enemies. So the trowel is drawn, as if it is an ancient sword used in epic battles described by some Greek poet. It is no longer ‘just a gardening tool’ as one could stay at home where there is a fridge with a nice cold drink to enjoy when gardening. Here, the fight over the dirt becomes a determined battle. We need that dirt to search it. To search for the Samnites, searching for the Roman colonisers. Working 9 to 5 has been parodied to ‘working 6 to 8’ and faces are smeared with dirt and sweat. Lo Monaco in August is a nicely heated place. The Italian army won’t train here during this month because of the scorching summer sun and lack of rain. Indiana Jones might feel at home here, although there probably are not enough sacred treasures for his taste.
But Lo Monaco gets people to think outside the box! When manmade tools fail, the raw prehistoric nature rises. So when even the trusted and sacred trowel dies an dishonourable death when hitting a rock, it is easily replaced by a stone. “It is sharp and it will never break!” You should not argue with such a strong argument. Or with someone holding a sharp rock…