2019 – Advanced Underwater Archaeology in the Mediterranean Island of Menorca (Spain)

Location: Menorca, ES

Season: May 1, 2019 to October 25, 2019

Session Dates: Session #01 May 09 – May 16 Session #02 May 27 – June 03 Session #03 June 14 – June 21 Session #04 July 04 – July 11 Session #05 July 22 – July 29 Session #06 August 09 – August 16 Session #07 August 27 – September 03 Session #08 September 14 – September 21 Session #09 October 02 – October 09 Session #10 October 20 – October 27


Program Type:
Field school

RPA Certified:

The Sanisera Archaeology Institute offers over 20 international field schools focusing on archaeology, anthropology, GIS, underwater archaeology, conservation, art, museums and archaeological film. Student's fieldwork centers on the survey and excavation of classical sites. - See more at:

Project Director:
Fernando Contreras

Project Description:

Sanisera Archaeology Institute for International Field Schools

1.         General Information

The Sanisera Archaeology Institute for International Field Schools offers annual programs in archaeology. This course is designed for students from all around the world interested in studying abroad, gaining knowledge in Roman cities, classical archaeology and underwater archaeology.

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 amphorae, and more than 10 anchors from different time periods.

In 2019 we will start a survey program in the deeper and unknown waters from the North coast of the island. We will dive up to 30 meters at some distance from the coast, assisted with a boat. We will be able to discover new shipwrecks of the Roman period or from the 16th to 19th Centuries.

The Sanisera Archaeology Institute offers an underwater archaeology course consisting of two main parts.


Part 1: Explore the coast north of Menorca (Spain)

There will be a minimum of 7 immersions focusing on underwater archaeological survey exploring a submerged valley where some remains of wrecks can be found through survey techniques, and always diving between 18 and 30 meters deep.

Course time dedicated: 90%.


Part 2. Mediterranean Shipbuilding (Menorca, Spain)

This part of the course focuses on Mediterranean shipbuilding techniques, both on theoretical and practical levels. Students will put into practice their conservation skills with a ship from the 1920s.

Students will learn the basics of traditional Mediterranean shipbuilding, as well as which tools, instruments and methods are the most suitable to restore old vessels.

Course time dedicated: 10%.

Students will also attend lectures on Roman shipwrecks, Roman amphoras and Mediterranean shipbuilding techniques.


2.         What you will learn

In the Fieldwork

  • How to survey and which archaeological techniques are used.
  • Use and handling of the tools that are used during the survey process.
  • Recording data obtained during the survey.
  • Objects photo-taking using photogrammetry standards.
  • Practice in the recognition of archaeological materials and Roman finds from the 2nd century B. C. to 6th A.D. or from the 16th– 19th centuries

In the Laboratory

  • Recording data obtained during the survey -diary and systematic methodology sheets-.
  • Study and typological classification of archaeological Roman objects discovered during the underwater survey.
  • Relative dating based on the classification of the archaeological objects discovered during the survey.
  • Drawing traditional boats


  • Underwater Archaeological background of Sanisera.
  • Ancient trade in Sanisera and the Western Mediterranean Sea.
  • Ancient navigation.
  • Modern sail merchant ships (centuries 16th – 20th).
  • History, archaeology, economy and culture of the Roman civilization.
  • Introduction to the History of the Sanisera Site.
  • Minorcan archaeology before the Roman conquest of the Balearic Islands.

3.         Directed at

This course offered by the Sanisera Archaeology Institute is designed to teach with precision this field of research. If you are interested in learning underwater survey techniques and methodology and apply them in a Roman culture where you will find amphorae, anchors and the remains of shipwrecks, then this is a good option for you. 

After more than 10 years of survey, our research team has new objectives, focused in a survey that will be held underwater, more than 18 meters deep. Located in the north coast of Menorca and nearby the Roman city of Sanisera, we consider essential to dive up to 30 meters, since there are many possibilities to discover, including more shipwrecks of Roman times or the past centuries.

This course is a novelty and a new challenge for our organization and is aimed at those students who have dived before, have good physical condition and feel comfortable practicing dives to depths up to 18 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 or computer systems is not required.


4.         Field School Life & Language

The course runs six hours per day.  The day will be divided between diving in the Roman Port of Sanitja, lab work, exercises, lectures, and videos. The course is taught in English and Spanish.

5.         Diving certificate

To participate in diving activities, it is necessary to have a diving certificate from an internationally recognized organization (i.e. PADI) that will allow you to dive up to 18 meters in depth. In this case, you will need a certificate that allows you to dive up to 30 meters.


If you want to participate in the underwater archaeology course and don’t have the Advanced Open Water Diving PADI course allowing you to dive up to 30 meters, no worries! We offer you the possibility of getting the title with our Diving Center collaborator. For only $225 extra you will be able dive anywhere in the world.

6.         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.

7.         Certificates

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.

8.         Sessions & Cost




Session #01

May 09 – May 16 

$ 1700

Session #02

May 27 – June 03

$ 1700

Session #03

June 14 – June 21

$ 1700

Session #04

July 04 – July 11

$ 1700

Session #05

July 22 – July 29

$ 1700

Session #06

August 09 – August 16

$ 1700

Session #07

August 27 – September 03

$ 1700

Session #08

September 14 – September 21

$ 1700

Session #09

October 02  – October 09

$ 1700

Session #10

October 20  – October 27 $ 1700

Period(s) of Occupation: Roman (Underwater Archaeology)

Project Size: 1-24 participants

Minimum Length of Stay for Volunteers: 8 days

Minimum Age: 18 (contact with questions about age)

Experience Required: no

Room and Board Arrangements:
Course fee includes:   Accommodation in the Student Residency in Ciutadella. Two to six per room.   Walking distance to the historic center, port and beaches.   Course tuition.   Learning of Agisoft PhotoScan software.   A complete set of diving equipment: wetsuit, jacket, mask, fins, diving booties, tanks and weights.   Daily transportation to/from the archaeological fieldwork.   Breakfast, lunch and dinner.   Accident insurance at the site.   Certificate of participation. Airfare not included from the student home to/from Menorca (Spain). Open Water Diving certificate (PADI) not included in the course fee. You can get the certificate with our Diving Center collaborator for only $225. (contact us for further information at ) Cost: $ 1700

Academic Credit:
credits offered by Please, contact Aida Roman, our course coordinator, in order to get more information about the credits. Tuition is .

Contact Information:

Aida Roman


Es Mercadal




Phone: +1 347 8710963

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