Archaeological Field School at Vicus Martis Tudertium
Summer 2017 | Umbria, Italy
Discover Italy’s classical past while experiencing small-town life in modern Umbria, a beautiful region of rolling hills and countryside. Spend your days excavating a settlement along an ancient Roman road and your evenings taking part in the daily life of Massa Martana, a quintessential Italian town where summer is passed outdoors: in cafés, concerts and community festivals. Visits to local archaeological and cultural sites and on-your-own weekend excursions—to medieval towns like Assisi and Spoleto or destination cities like Rome and Florence— expand your appreciation of Italian culture and history.
Archaeological Fieldwork and Research
Learn and apply responsible practices for scientific archaeological excavation, working alongside experts at the field school of Vicus Martis Tudertium, a stopping point on the great Roman road, the Flaminian Way. From stratigraphic excavation to geomagnetic survey, learn the theory and practice of archaeology while uncovering artifacts and architectural remains dating from the first century BC to the third century AD.
Visual Culture and National Identity
Ancient material culture—bone hairpins and bronze spoons, pottery shards and marble wall coverings—provide a window into Italy’s classical history. Objects recovered from the dig prove that the Via Flaminia served as a major corridor for both Roman expansion into central Italy and Germanic invasion of the Roman Empire, and suggest how this classical past has shaped Italy’s history and culture into the present day.
Unearth fragments of past lives—coins, pottery, jewelry, sculpted marble, architectural elements and even human bones—through hands-on excavation. Collect, clean and catalog your finds, using photography and other documentation techniques. Work collaboratively with your site colleagues, thinking, excavating, recording and analyzing as a contributing member of an archaeological team.
Experience two sides of Umbrian life—urban and rural. Massa Martana bustles with small-town energy, while, just outside its limits, threshers and tractors roll across the hills, harvesting crops. Stay in an apartment in town—and socialize in the community. Relax in outdoor cafés, attend cultural events, tour the countryside, and enjoy dinners with local social groups and friends of the field school.
Apply your new understanding of archaeology and classical Italy to a focused topic that interests you, researching and writing a final paper. You might explore artistic expression through pottery, the history of the Via Flaminia or the local impact of archaeological tourism. Assigned readings, visits to historic sites, and lectures by ceramists and other local experts expand your knowledge and provide context for your scholarly work.