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ONE-MA3 2018: Adventuring with Area.3 

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ONE-MA3 2018: Adventuring with Area.3 

By Sophie Cohen ’21

Today it seemed as if we were adopted by an extended Italian family – the family who operates the Gruppo Canoisti Pontini, aka Area.3, in Sermoneta. They took us trekking up to the Castello dell’Acquapuzza, which looks out onto grassy fields that are the home of white Bufala mozzarella cows and Sermoneta. The tower was used as a look out during the Middle Ages. One of our guides, Fabrizio, showed us a map that spans the region under the tower, and described that people used maps such as that to determine where they should build Roman villages. Hundreds of years ago, the land that is now the valley below Caetani Castle was covered by water.

Fabricio showing us the map

We climbed over rocks to reach the tower and were able scale up to its lowest level, a cave with a hole in its ceiling that allowed us to see to the very top of the tower.

The interior of the tower

After climbing down from the tower, we journeyed back to our starting point by kayak and canoe. We paddled against the current for almost four kilometers. Upon our return we had a big barbecue of homemade Italian food in the backyard of the Gruppo Canoisti Pontini’s family home, where about six of them live.

Italians and Americans enjoying the barbecue

On our way back to the castle we, of course, stopped for gelato. But this was only after we’d lost our soccer ball in the river one last time…

Retrieving the ball

This summer, Professor Admir Masic is leading a program on Materials in Art, Archaeology and Architecture (ONE-MA3), in which MIT undergraduates are conducting three weeks of fieldwork in Privernum, Pompeii and Turin as a prerequisite for the Fall 2018 MIT course, 1.057 Heritage Science and Technology.  The program involves real-world analysis of ancient infrastructures and materials and focus on teaching ways to improve sustainability of the future through the study of ancient successes.