Location: Naples, Italy
Our commitment is to promote Archaeology in its different aspects of research, training, and conservation, with a basic and clear purpose: to involve anyone from around the world who wishes to gain access to this scientific field. Sanisera is an international archaeological organization whose main aim is that of promoting and developing research , so that our current and future generations can be enriched by culture and education in this field.
Courses Quick Guide
This underwater archaeology course consists of three main parts:
During the first part of the course students will participate in an underwater archaeology survey. Immersions will focus on an underwater archaeological survey, exploring the Ancient Port of Sanitja and the coast of the Cape of Cavalleria. The aim of this project is to identify structures of the Roman city of Sanisera and underwater shipwrecks, as well as the associated cargo including amphora and anchors.
The second part of the course focuses on Mediterranean shipbuilding techniques, both theoretical and practical. Students will put into practice their conservation skills with a ship constructed in the 1920s.
The third part course consists of studying the submerged archaeological remains of Portus Iulius and the Roman villas of the Baia Underwater Park. In order to do this, participants will travel to Naples Bay, Italy.
Part 1. Discover Amphora & Shipwrecks in the Underwater Port of Sanitja (Menorca, Spain)
Over the past eight years, The Underwater School in Archaeology has researched the ancient port of Sanitja via an intensive survey program. We have discovered 18 Roman shipwrecks with cargo, including amphora, and more than 10 anchors from different time periods.
There will be a minimum of 12 immersions focusing on underwater archaeological survey exploring the Ancient Port of Sanitja and the coast of the Cape of Cavalleria. The aim of this project is to identify structures of the Roman city of Sanisera and underwater shipwrecks, as well as the associated cargo including amphora and anchors.
The port of Sanitja was not only occupied by Romans. There are also ruins of a Muslim mosque and an English defense tower which lead us to believe that we could find other vessels from these time periods. During the last years of survey, several anchors and three shipwrecks from the XVI-XIX centuries were discovered.
Course time dedicated: 65%.
Part 2. Mediterranean Shipbuilding (Menorca, Spain)
Students will learn the basics about traditional Mediterranean shipbuilding, as well as learning which tools, instruments and methods are the most suitable in order to restore old vessels. Participants will also attend lectures on Roman shipwrecks, Roman amphora and Mediterranean shipbuilding techniques.
Course time dedicated: 5%.
Part 3. Study Submerged Archaeological Remains in Baia Underwater Park (Pompeii, Italy)
The Underwater Pompeii site is located in the bay of Naples and is managed by Baia Underwater Park. Underwater surveys show that Roman buildings are about 400 meters away from the present coastline, at a depth of approximately 9 meters. Underwater and aerial surveys have shown numerous submerged archaeological remains. Evidence of the submersion of the coast can be found in the ruins of the Temple of Venus, which today is about 3 meters below the quay of the port. Nearby, on the other side of the bay, two monumental complexes were also found: a villa belonging to the Pisoni family and a bath complex with a nymphaeum.
Another submerged archaeological site that participants will visit is Portus Iulius, a port which sank during Roman times. It was built in 37 B.C. by Agrippa and Octavian, and was abandoned in 12 B.C., merely 25 years after its extremely expensive construction. Later on, it was submerged due to several ground movements –Bradyseism- and volcanic activities including Vesuvius.
The coast’s unique atmosphere even attracted emperors. For instance, Caligula celebrated his elevation to divinity by building a pontoon crossing the area, which he then rode over wearing the armor of Alexander. Emperor Claudius often visited Baia. Nero was so fond of this place that he ended up conceiving grandiose projects there, one of them being conveying all spa waters into a large basin intended to link Miseno with the Averno.
In 2006 the Baia Underwater Archaeological Park was created, the first of its kind in Italy. Because of this project we can visit these magnificent ancient ruins. The uniqueness of the archaeology in Naples Bay, both on land and underwater, has made this site famous worldwide.
This part of the course will focus on the recognition of structures, mosaics, sculptures, amphora and Roman pottery in the Baia Underwater Park. Here, participants will put into practice the underwater survey methods learned during the previous part of the course. In Baia participants will record and prepare the photography inventory of the archaeological remains and materials located there.
Course time dedicated: 25%.
Students will also attend lectures on Roman History, shipwrecks, Roman Amphorae, Ancients Ports and methods on archaeological survey.
This program is recommended for absolutely any person that is interested in underwater archaeology and would like to immerse themselves during 20 days in the underwater world of Roman archaeology.
Would you like to see sculptures, mosaics, architecture, streets and buildings from Roman times underwater as well as learn techniques that are used to discover underwater archaeological sites? If so, then this is the course for you.
On the Spanish island of Menorca, you will have the opportunity to become part of the scientific research team that have spent years recording shipwrecks, anchors and amphorae in the Roman port of Sanitja. You will learn and apply techniques and methodology used in underwater archaeological survey.
The water is very clear in Menorca, with an astonishing visibility…often up to 18 to 20 meters. The water is calm and mild in temperature and currant, allowing for excellent diving conditions in a natural and pristine Mediterranean atmosphere.
In the Undewater Park of Baia (Italy), which we call “Underwater Pompeii,” during for dives, you will have the unique opportunity to visit archaeological remains from the Roman word that no other place in the Mediterranean can compare to. You will also visit the archaeological remains of Pompeii as well as the most significant ruins along the coast of Naples (amphitheaters, baths, museums, etc).
After finishing this course, the training and experience gained will help you to decide if underwater archaeology is the area of research that you wish to focus on or if you want to continue on with underwater archaeology as a future profession. You will have also visited the most iconic and remarkable Roman underwater archaeological sites in the Mediterranean.
Previous knowledge or experience in archaeology or computer systems is not required.
Field School life & language
The field school course has a length of 20 days and will start in Spain. Students will meet in Menorca on the first day of the course. During the first 14 days participants will focus on the underwater archaeology fieldwork in the ancient port of Sanitja, exploring and surveying the port of Sanitja and the coast of the Cape of Cavalleria. The aim of this project is to identify structures of the Roman city of Sanisera and underwater shipwrecks, as well as the associated cargo including amphora and anchors.
The course runs six hours per day. The course is taught in English and Spanish.
Participants will then travel to Naples, Italy and practice what they have learned in the port of Sanitja, at the Underwater Pompeii (Baia). Participants will also visit the Roman ruins of the city of Pompeii.
Participants will then return to Menorca for the last two days of the program which are free course days.
To participate in diving activities, it is necessary to have a diving certificate that will allow you to dive up to 18 meters in depth. For this reason, we have designed two groups to choose from our underwater archaeology course: with or without a diving certificate.
Group 1. Without a diving certificate: Those that do not have a diving certificate should choose this group.
Group 2. With certificate: Those that have a diving certificate from an internationally recognized organization (i.e. PADI), should choose this group.
On the first day of the course, participants have to show a medical document stating that he/she is fit for diving activities. Participants that do not have this document on the first day will not be allowed to participate until they are able to present this document.
At the end of the field program, students will receive a certificate of participation stating the hours and activities of the course. Participants that perform exceedingly well in the course may receive a letter of recommendation from our organization upon request.
Sessions & Cost
For 2014: 10 sessions, 20 days each
Session #1: April 20 – May 9 $ 2950
Session #2: May 12 – May 31 $ 3300
Session #3: June 3 – June 22 $ 3800
Session #4: June 25 – July 14 $ 3800
Session #5: July 17 – August 5 $ 3800
Session #6: August 8 – August 27 $ 3800
Session #7: August 30 – September 18 $ 3300
Session #8: September 20 – October 9 $ 2950
Session #9: October 12 – October 31 $ 2700
Session #10: November 3 – November 22 $ 2700
The course is limited to 8 participants per session. Reservations are only effective when payment of the registration fee is received. If for any reason the course is cancelled, payment is returned according to the field school refund policy.
Period(s) of Occupation: Roman to modern
Minimum Length of Stay for Volunteers: 20 days
Room and Board Arrangements
Academic CreditNumber of credits offered: none