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Medieval Castle of Zorita: High School Archaeology

Location: Zorita de los Canes, Guadalajara, Spain

June 19, 2017 to July 16, 2017

Session dates: 
June 19-2 July July 3-16

Application Deadline: 
Monday, May 1, 2017
Monday, May 15, 2017

Deadline Type: 

Program Type

Field school

RPA certified



American Foreign Academic Research (AFAR) Castilla-La Mancha Regional Government

Project Director:

Dr. Dionisio Urbina BA Catalina Urquijo

Project Description

This program is designed for students 16 and 17 years old. Our main objective is to prepare you as future archaeologists.
Field school students will learn surveying, excavation techniques, mapping, photography, keeping a dig diary, and artifact recovery, conservation, and drawing. We will also hold seminars and workshops on Spanish history, architecture, and archaeology.
Students will experience both theoretical and hands-on archaeology. In the mornings we will be on site, learning excavation methodology, working with tools and technical instruments, and extracting artifacts. You'll analyze the clues like a detective, recording everything with photos, sketches, and a fieldwork notebook. You will also learn to draw archaeological maps and take biological samples such as pollen, seeds, and plant remains.
In the afternoons we will wash and classify the pottery, bones, and other artifacts found on site. Some afternoons we will hold seminars on Spanish history, on drawing pottery shards, and on how archaeologists use aerial photography to spot ancient remains.
Other afternoons we will explore the castle that is literally our backyard, or we will go on archaeological surveys to learn how archaeologists decide where to dig and why. Weekends will be spent visiting several Roman and Medieval sites of interest in the area, including a day-trip to World Heritage Site Toledo.

Period(s) of Occupation: Medieval

The field school at the medieval Castle of Zorita is a unique experience for high school students interested in history and archaeology. Our students will work alongside professional archaeologists as we excavate this fortress built in the 9th century by the Moors, and then occupied by Christian knights and medieval Jews. You will learn excavation and fieldwork techniques on-site plus attend classroom sessions on history and archaeology, drawing, artifact cleaning and inventory, archaeological recording, keeping an archaeological journal, and analyzing aerial photography. Plus weekend excursions to nearby historical sites. Our goal is to prepare you as future archaeologists.

Project size: 
1-24 participants

Minimum Length of Stay for Volunteers: 2 weeks

Minimum age: 

Experience required: 

Room and Board Arrangements

The group will be staying at a small, rustic hotel just below the castle. Students will share rooms, each with en-suite bathrooms and air conditioning. The hotel has free WiFi. Meals will be provided by hotel cooks.


Academic Credit

Number of credits offered: none


Contact Information
ArchaeoSpain / AFAR
750 Jetton Street
North Caroline
United States
Recommended Bibliography: 

J. DODDS (ed). 1992. Al-Andalus. The Art of Islamic Spain. The Metropolitan Museum of Art of New York.

Exibition Catalogue.1994. The Art of Medieval Spain. AD500-1200. he Metropolitan Museum of Art of New York.

FUERO DE ZORITA DE LOS CANES. 1911. El Fuero de Zorita de los Canes según el códice 247 de la Biblioteca Nacional (siglo XIII al XIV) y sus relaciones con el Fuero Latino de Cuenca y el Romanceado de Alcázar                                                                                  

HERRERA CASADO, A. 1999. Guía de Campo de los Castillos de Guadalajara (Colección Tierra de Guadalajara, 24), Ediciones AACHE, Guadalajara.

LAYNA SERRANO, F. 1994. Castillos de Guadalajara (Colección Obras Completas de Layna. Ediciones AACHE, Guadalajara, 1994, 2).  

RODRÍGUEZ-PICAVEA, E. 1994. La formación del feudalismo en la meseta meridional castellanalos señoríos de la Orden de Calatrava en los siglos XII-XIII. Madrid

TORRES CAMPOS Y BALBÁS, L. 1919. El Castillo de Zorita de los Canes. (Guadalajara).Boletín de la Sociedad Española de ExcursionesI Vol. 27, 2, 1919, 90-106.

Ospreys Men at Arms series:

European Medieval Armies

Moors the Islamic West (7th-15th Centuries)

Medieval Heraldry

The knights of Christ

El Cid and the Reconquista 1050-1492

Armies of Castile and Aragon 1370–1516


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