by | Mar 11, 2024

Intensive Summer School: Environmental Archaeology Trench-Side

Directed by Angela Trentacoste (British School at Rome) & Erica Rowan (Royal Holloway)

Dates: 9–22 June 2024. Participants are expected to attend the full session.

Flyer for download

 sorting organics
examining fragments of bones

Introduction: This intensive two-week programme is designed to provide a foundation in the theory and methods of environmental archaeology, alongside focused in-field training in the collection and processing of environmental evidence (macrobotanical and zooarchaeological remains) relevant to Roman sites. Participants will leave the programme with a strong foundation in on-site environmental archaeology, and essential knowledge on bulk sampling strategy, set up of a water-separation machine for the recovery of charred plant remains, small bones and artefacts, and processing of faunal remains and bulk sediment samples. The programme emphasises hands-on work with plant and animal remains, undertaken alongside a taught programme of short talks, case studies, seminars with directed readings, and in-field activities that introduce a broader range of topics in environmental archaeology. The field school runs as part of the Falerii Novi Project’s on-going excavations.

Bursaries: The Falerii Novi Project is offering at least 3 bursaries for participation in the inaugural session. This will cover the costs of participation in the summer school (accommodation, meals and local travel). Participants will need to cover their own travel costs to the site.

The Falerii Novi Project: The project is an international collaboration between the British School at Rome, Institute of Classical Studies (University of London) and the universities of Harvard and Toronto, with further support from the universities of Ghent and Florence. The excavations began in 2021 inside the city walls of Falerii Novi following authorisation by the Ministero della Cultura and is supported by the Soprintendenza Archeologia, Belle Arti e Paessaggio per la Provincia di Viterbo e per l’Etruria Meridionale. The site sits just 50km north of Rome, along the ancient Via Amerina. The project aims to analyse the diachronic urban, economic and socio-historical development of the city from mid-Republican foundation to a suspected abandonment in the early Middle Ages. The project has undertaken large-scale excavation focused on several areas: the macellum, a domus south of the forum, and an insula and intersection along the Via Amerina near the south gate, and tabernae along the town’s forum. In summer 2024, the project will continue exploring these areas through open area excavation with a team of ca. 35 people from a range of nationalities and universities along with visiting specialists.

Location and time periods: Falerii Novi (VT), Italy. Roman Republican–Medieval.

Programme: Participants will be on site c. 7:00–17:00. On site time will include in-field teaching, demonstrations/observations, and practice-based training. This field programme will be supplemented by short talks, case studies, and seminars c. 3 evenings a week for approximately an hour before dinner. Saturday 16 – Sunday 17 are free days with an optional excursion. Hands- on training focuses on archaeobotany and zooarchaeology; other topics (e.g. palynology, geoarchaeology) and related themes in Roman archaeology (wine production) will be presented through in-field talks and the evening sessions.

Who should apply: The summer school is aimed at upper-level undergraduate students, recent graduates, and post-graduate students in Archaeology, Classics, Environmental Humanities and related disciplines who wish to deepen their knowledge of and skills in environmental archaeology. We welcome applications from participants with different reasons for joining the course and on different study/career tracks, e.g. individuals who wish to gain a greater understanding of the nature of on-site environmental evidence, Classical archaeologists who want to prepare for setting up their own excavations, specialists who wish to deepen their field knowledge, etc. Prior excavation experience is not necessary, but a willingness to work in the field is. We welcome applications from low-income backgrounds and groups under-represented in Classical archaeology.

Please note that if a visa is required to travel to Italy it must be obtained by the participant.

Certification: While the summer school is an academic short course, it does not issue university credit. Participants will be issued a certificate of completion.

Room and Board: Participants will be housed alongside the rest of the team of the Falerii Novi Project in Civita Castellana. Lunch is provided on site and a per diem given for other meals. The town has all major amenities (supermarkets, restaurants, pharmacies) and is connected to Rome by public transit.

How to Apply: Candidates should apply by letter, of no more than 1000 words, setting out their reasons for wishing to undertake this placement, how participation would contribute to their study and interests, and outlining any previous experience. You should also provide the name and email address of a referee. Letters of application should be addressed to the field school directors, Dr Angela Trentacoste and Dr Erica Rowan, and sent by email to by 31 March, 2024 to a.trentacoste@bsrome.it.

volunteers digging in trench
volunteer group photo in front of gate