Underwater Pompeii. Research and Survey in the Singular Portus Iulius (Naples, Italy)

Location: Baia, Naples, Italy

April 12, 2016 to November 14, 2016

Session dates: 
1) April 12 – April 20; 2) April 21 – April 29; 3) May 01 – May 09; 4) May 10 – May 18; 5) May 21 – May 29; 6) May 30 – June 07; 7) June 10 – June 18; 8) June 19 – June 27; 9) June 30 – July 08; 10) July 09 – July 17; 11) July 20 – July 28; 12) July 29 – August 06; 13) August 09 – August 17; 14) August 18 – August 26; 15) August 29 – September 06; 16) September 07 – September 15; 17) September 18 – September 26; 18) September 27 – October 05; 19) October 08 – October 16; 20) October 17 – October 25; 21) October 28 – November 05; 22) November 06 – November 14

Application Deadline: 
Wednesday, November 30, 2016

Deadline Type: 
Contact for details

Flyer: 0292016.pdf

Program Type

Field school



The Sanisera Archaeology Institute for International Field Schools offers over 20 international courses 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: http://archaeology.institute

Project Director:

Fernando Contreras & Antonio Talavera

Project Description

Sanisera Archaeology Institute for International Field Schools


General Information


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

This underwater archaeology course consists of studying the submerged archaeological remains of Portus Iulius of the Baia Underwater Park.

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 study 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.

There will be a minimum of 8 immersions focusing on the recognition of structures and archaeological remains in Portus Iulius to make a detailed map of the Roman port infrastructure and analyze the spatial distribution of all objects we will find underwater.

Students will also attend lectures on Roman History, Roman Amphoras, Ancients Ports and methods on archaeological survey. 

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.
  • Study submerged archaeological remains in Baia Underwater Park
  • Practice in the recognition of structures and archaeological remains in Portus Iulius to make a detailed map of the Roman port infrastructure and analyze the spatial distribution of all objects we will find underwater.

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.


  • Underwater Archaeological background of Portus Iulius and Baiae
  • Ancient trade in Sanisera and the Western Mediterranean Sea.
  • Ancient navigation.
  • Roman Ports
  • Roman Horreae
  • History, archaeology, economy and culture of The Phlegrean Fields and Portus Iulius.

Directed at 

Participating in this course is a unique opportunity. Portus Iulius was the quintessential port of Rome in the period of greatest splendor of their empire. We absolutely recommend this program to any college student who wants to enter in the field of underwater archeology.

Portus Iulius is an underwater site with lots of submerged remains for you to be able to recognize Roman architecture and urban planning (walls, floors, rooms, canals, roads ...) and learn how to draw through 8 dives with the help of surveying instruments. They say an image is worth more than a thousand words. You can view it from Google Earth and recognize its wide expanse that is three times higher than Pompeii.

You will also know how to use survey techniques used to record and document all types of archaeological materials displayed on the seabed: pottery, amphorae, glass, building materials such as marble, stucco reliefs, fragments of sculpture,...
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 09 days. The course runs six hours per day, and is divided between survey dives, exercises, lectures and excursions. Participants will also visit the Roman ruins of the city of Pompeii.
Students receive an intensive introduction on basic aspects of the survey method in underwater archaeology to document archaeological pieces from the seabed of Portus Iulius, and learn how to draw the architectural map of the port structure.
The last two days of the program are free days for the students.
The course is taught in English, Spanish and Italian.

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




Session #1

2016 | April 12 – April 20

$ 1650

Session #2

2016 | April 21 – April 29

$ 1650

Session #3

2016 | May 01 – May 09 

$ 1650

Session #4

2016 | May 10 – May 18

$ 1650

Session #5

2016 | May 21 – May 29

$ 1650

Session #6

2016 | May 30 – June 07

$ 1650

Session #7

2016 | June 10 – Juny 18

$ 1650

Session #8

2016 | June 19 – Juny 27

$ 1650

Session #9

2016 | June 30 – July 08

$ 1650

Session #10

2016 | July 09 – July 17

$ 1650

Session #11

2016 | July 20 – July 28

$ 1650

Session #12

2016 | July 29 – August 06

$ 1650

Session #13

2016 | August 09 – August 17

$ 1650

Session #14

2016 | August 18 – August 26

$ 1650

Session #15

2016 | August 29 – September 06

$ 1650

Session #16

2016 | September 07 – September 15

$ 1650

Session #17

2016 | September 18 – September 26 

$ 1650

Session #18

2016 | September 27 – October 05 

$ 1650

Session #19

2016 | October 08  – October 16

$ 1650

Session #20

2016 | October 17  – October 25 

$ 1650

Session #21

2016 | October 28  – November 05

$ 1650

Session #22

2016 | November 06  – November 14

$ 1650


Spaces Available

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 (Underwater Classical Archaeology)

Participating in this course is a unique opportunity. Portus Iulius was the quintessential port of Rome in the period of greatest splendor of their empire. We absolutely recommend this program to any college student who wants to enter in the field of underwater archaeology.

Project size: 
1-24 participants

Minimum Length of Stay for Volunteers: 09 days

Minimum age: 

Experience required: 

Room and Board Arrangements

Course fee includes:

  • Archaeological immersions at Baia Underwater Park
  • Accommodation in Hotel Arco Felice (Naples Bay)
  • Transportation from the Hotel Arco Felice to the diving centre at Baia Underwater Park.
  • Course tuition.
  • Tanks, tank filling and weights.
  • Daily transportation to/from the research site.
  • Included excursion.
  • Walking distance to the historic center, port and beaches.
  • Certificate of participation

Airfare not included from the student home to/from Naples.

During the days in Naples meals are not included (although we will recommend cafés and restaurants that do not exceed the average of 20€/day in meals).

Entry tickets to museums and historical buildings are not included. 

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 Euro per day.


Academic Credit

Name of institution offering credit: 
Please, contact Felipe Esteban, our course coordinator, in order to get more information about this possibility sanisera@arrakis.es
Number of credits offered: none


Contact Information
Felipe Esteban
Apdo. 68
Es Mercadal
Menorca - Spain
+1 347 8710963