If you’re looking for clear, concrete examples of how INEOS works with its neighbours, look no further than INEOS Manufacturing Italia’s site in Vada.
Thanks to an annual financial contribution - and logistical support - from the company, an ancient coastal settlement, once linked to one of the most famous Roman cities in Tuscany, is gradually emerging.
The Roman harbour, which has partly been excavated, served the ancient city of Volterra – and it is literally on the doorstep of INEOS’ Manufacturing Italia’s site at Rosignano.
“Although all the excavations are on our site, they don’t interfere with our operations,” said Dr. Juna Cavallini, HR Manager of the INEOS Rosignano plant.
Work on the archaeological site of San Gaetano di Vada, one of the most important trading ports of North Etruscan coasts, began in the eighties in the shadow of INEOS’ vast ethylene storage tank.
Over the years, excavations have revealed a large warehouse, a little thermal bath intended for the warehouse’s workers, a fountain, a big water tank, a public thermal bath and the port headquarters.
Roman jugs, pottery, coins and marbles, all of which point to intensive trading activity, have also been unearthed.
“Every kind of goods arrived from the entire Mediterranean Sea basin, to be redistributed from the port to the countryside and the city of Volterra, and here local products were shipped out,” said Dr. Cavallini.
INEOS’ funding is mostly used to pay for excavation work which is organised by Pisa University.
The university also runs the Vada Volterrana Summer School, which offers foreign and Italian archaeology students the chance to work on a real-life project.
The work, though, takes time. Literally, years.
Field surveys are often used to try to identify new sites. Surveyors, walking side by side, literally comb fields looking for ceramic materials that may have been dug up when the fields are ploughed.
Ground-penetrating radar surveys, which effectively take a snapshot of what the earth looks like under their feet, are also carried out.
Once they have a clearer picture, only then does the digging start.
During this summer’s Vada Volaterrana Harbour Project campaign, the students did a bit of both.
“We feel this is a practical way for INEOS to demonstrate that it is part of the community in which it operates,” said Dr. Cavallini.