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2013 Summer Archaeological Field School In Rome: Excavations Of The Porticus Aemilia

Location: Rome, United States

September 2, 2013 to September 30, 2013

Session dates: 
First session from September 2 until September 16; second session from September 16 until September 30

Application Deadline: 
Wednesday, May 1, 2013

Flyer: PDF icon poster1_rev.pdf

Program Type

Field school

RPA certified



Royal Netherlands Institute in Roma (KNIR) and the Soprintendenza Speciale per i Beni Culturale di Roma (SSBAR)

Project Director:

Dr. G.-J. Burgers (KNIR) and Dr. R. Sebastiani (SSBAR)

Project Description

Central to this Summer Field School is the so-called “Porticus Aemilia”, one of the largest buildings of ancient Rome. In antiquity, it was part of the river harbor of Rome, serving either storage functions or as a dockyard. Its ruins still stand up for a height of 8 meters, but are enclosed by the apartment buildings of the modern district of Testaccio. Notwithstanding the remarkable size (487 by 80 square meters) and monumentality of the ancient building, not much is known about its function. Furthermore, although it is generally assumed that it was built in the early second century B.C., this has never been confirmed archaeologically. Therefore, in 2011 an archaeological project was started to discover more about the buildings history. The objectives of this project are twofold. On the one hand, the project aims at gaining knowledge about the function and dating of the building, and about its relation to the diachronic history of this part of Rome. On the other hand, it wishes to contribute actively to unlocking the archaeological heritage of the modern Testaccio district, both through educational programs and through the integration of this heritage in urban regeneration schemes.

This small-scale summer school with a limited number of participants offers the students the possibility to partake in an international excavation project with experienced archaeologists, where they will be introduced to modern fieldwork techniques and methodologies. Furthermore, the students will be confronted with the concerns surrounding the preservation and integration of archaeological heritage in a modern and lively city. During the two-week summer school, the participants will be introduced to all aspects of field archaeology, which includes hands on experience in excavation techniques and excavation strategies as well on-site recordkeeping, documentation, and laboratory practices. This will be combined with excursions in Rome. Through this combination of fieldwork and excursions, the participants will be able to perceive the excavation in its wider Roman context. Furthermore, the excursion will cover some of the archaeological highlights of the city of Rome, such as the Forum Romanum.

Academic credit: Credit can be obtained directly from the participant’s home institution through discussion with department faculty and administrative staff (e.g., Registrar’s office). The Royal Netherlands Institute will provide supporting documentation (a letter of participation and a grade report) upon successful conclusion of the program. Our grade assessment uses the following criteria:

  • attendance, during lectures and on-site;
  • participation, in discussions during lectures and on-site;
  • a paper analytically describing the on-site activities in a problem oriented way.

The program application consists of:

  • A one-page (ca. 500 words) essay describing your interest in Rome, your motivation for participating in the Summer School;
  • A letter of recommendation from one professor;
  • A copy of your curriculum vitae/resume.

Program costs:  €1,000 / $1,300

The costs include tuition, accommodation in the center of Rome, public transport within the city of Rome, excursions (including entry fees for museums and archeological sites), a syllabus with course material, and welcome and farewell diners.

Period(s) of Occupation: Roman Period

Project size: 
1-24 participants

Minimum Length of Stay for Volunteers: full session (two weeks)

Minimum age: 

Experience required: 
None, although applicants who have prior archaeological (field) experience and course work will be preferred. The applicants should be aware that the intensive program involves long hours of work in hot weather conditions that can be physically demanding and mentally challenging.

Room and Board Arrangements

Accommodation: The students will be housed in the Royal Netherlands Institute, a neo-renaissance building situated in the prestigious Villa Borghese Park. From there, it is only a short walk to the Piazza del Popolo and the historical center of Rome. The accommodation consists of shared bedrooms (bedding and towels are present) and includes a bathroom, common area, washing machine, television and wireless internet. Furthermore, the participants have access to the library of the Royal Netherlands Institute.
Welcome and farewell diners will be served in local restaurants. No other meals are provided, but the accommodation includes ample cooking facilities.
Travel: The participants are responsible for their own travel to and from Rome. Rome has two airports of which the Leonardo da Vinci airport (also known as Fumicino) handles long-haul international flights. The Aeroporto di Roma-Campino mostly receives short-haul EU-zone flights. Travel within the city and to and from the site will be done by public transport. The confirmed participant will be issued with an arrival packet, which will include specific arrival information and logistical details.

$1,300 for two weeks

Academic Credit

Number of credits offered: none


Contact Information
Corine Tetteroo, Royal Netherlands Institute in Rome
Via Omero 10-12