Discover Amphora & Shipwrecks in the Underwater Port of Sanitja & GIS Applied in Archaeology (Menorca, Spain)

Location: Es Mercadal, Menorca, Balearic Islands, Spain

Saturday, March 29, 2014 to Saturday, November 22, 2014

Session dates: 
1) March 29 - April 17; 2) April 20 - May 9; 3) May 12-31; 4) June 3-22; 5) September 20 - October 9; 6) October 12-31; and 7) November 3 - November 22

Flyer: course012.pdf

Program Type

Field school


The Sanisera Field School: International Archaeology Courses (more than 20 courses)

Project Director:

Fernando Contreras and Dolores Soriano

Project Description
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.
Why participate?
Courses Quick Guide
General Information
This program is divided in two main parts:
During the first part of the course, students will gain experience in underwater archaeology focused on exploring the Ancient Roman 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 anchors and amphora related to those shipwrecks and their cargo.
During the second part of the course, students will learn how to create a GIS platform applied to underwater archaeology.
Part 1. Explore the Ancient Roman 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 7 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.
This course includes classes on methodology as well as techniques and tools used in underwater archaeological survey. Students will also attend lectures on Roman shipwrecks, Roman amphora and Mediterranean shipbuilding techniques.
Course time dedicated: 50%.
Part 2. Creating an Archaeological GIS Platform
Students will create an archaeological GIS platform from the applied recording system of the underwater remains of Sanisera in the port of Sanitja, gaining experience in ARCGIS software.
Course time: 50%.
Directed at
If you are interested in underwater archaeology, learning about the classification of amphora and shipwrecks while participating in an underwater archaeological survey conducted in the port of Sanitja and then applying the collected data to GIS software, then this is the best course for you.
This is a general course that focuses on underwater archaeological survey and the software used to record information from the archaeological survey. After a week of surveying the port of Sanitja, participants will then use ARGIS software to enter in the data recovered during fieldwork hours.
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. 
Previous knowledge or experience in archaeology is not required.
Student Testimonials
Video 1:
Video 2:
Field School life & language
The first half of the course focuses on underwater survey in the port of Sanitja. The course runs six hours per day.  The day will be divided between diving, lab work, exercises, lectures, videos and excursions.
During the second half, participants will create an underwater archaeological GIS platform from the applied recording system of the Ancient Port of Sanitja, using ARCGIS software.
Participants will also visit archaeological sites on the island through organized excursions. For every seven course days there are two days off. The course is taught in English and Spanish.
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 their 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. 
Medical check
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: 11 sessions, 20 days each
Session #1 March 29th – April 17th $ 2,100
Session #2 April 20th – May 9th $ 2,300
Session #3 May 12th - May 31st $ 2,400
Session #4 June 3rd - June 22th $ 2,600
Session #5 June 25th - July 14th $ 2,600
Session #6 July 17th - August 5th $ 2,600
Session #7 August 8th - August 27th $ 2,600
Session #8 August 30th - September 18th $ 2,100
Session #9 September 20th - October 9th $ 1,900
Session #10 October 12th - October 31th $ 1,900
Session #11 November 3rd - November 22th $ 1,900
Spaces avalaible
The course is limited to 5 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

Project size: 
1-24 participants

Minimum Length of Stay for Volunteers: 20 days

Minimum age: 
18 (contact with questions about age)

Experience required: 

Room and Board Arrangements

Course fee includes:

  • Course tuition.
  • Tanks, tank filling and weights.
  • Open water diving certificate (PADI) for those in group # 1.
  • Accident insurance at the site.
  • Mapping Sotware: ARCGIS
  • Accommodation in the Student Residency in Ciutadella. Two to six per room. 
  • Walking distance to the historic center, port and beaches.
  • Breakfast, lunch and dinner.
  • Morning snack at the Sanisera site.
  • Daily transportation to/from the archaeological fieldwork.
  • Accident insurance at the site.
  • Excursions.
  • Certificate of participation.

Airfare not included from the student home to/from Menorca (Spain).
Equipment Needed
We encourage participants to bring their own dive gear, however, a complete set of diving equipment (with the exception of mask and snorkel which each participant must bring) can be rented at the reduced cost of 15 Euros per day.

between $1900 to $2600

Academic Credit

Number of credits offered: none


Contact Information
Cesar Gonzalez
Es Mercadal
(34) 666 68 65 50