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The Fayum Archaeological Project

Location: Fayum, Egypt

October 16, 2014 to November 21, 2014

Session dates: 
Single session

Application Deadline: 
Tuesday, April 1, 2014

Deadline Type: 

Program Type

Field school

RPA certified



UCLA, Rijksuniversiteit Groningen, University of Auckland & Institute for Field Research

Project Director:

Prof. Willeke Wendrich, Cotsen Institute of Archaeology at UCLA

Project Description

The Fayum field school takes place at the Greco-Roman town of Karanis, a large mud brick settlement founded in the third century BCE as part of the Ptolemaic expanse of agriculture in the Fayum region of Egypt.  Karanis was abandoned during the early seventh century CE and the preservation of the ancient remains is excellent and a wide range of archaeological materials, including botanical macro-remains, textiles, wood and metal, are studied by a large group of archaeological specialists. This project focuses on both domestic and industrial areas of the site to better understand the importance of agriculture in relation to other economic activities. The 2014 field school will excavate at this site at domestic context in order to augment our knowledge of the archaeobotanical and zooarchaeological record. The Fayum Field School combines teaching American students with training Egyptian archaeologists employed by the Ministry of State of Antiquities, which makes cultural exchange an integral part of the program. During the five weeks of the field school students get an intensive on-the-job training in archaeological research methods, excavation techniques, survey and finds processing. Students will have the opportunity to work closely with archaeological specialists and are encouraged to develop independent research projects.  Excursions to important sites in the vicinity and ethnoarchaeological assignments are also part of this program.

Period(s) of Occupation: Greco-Roman Periods

Project size: 
1-24 participants

Minimum Length of Stay for Volunteers: Full program

Minimum age: 
18 years old

Experience required: 
No previous experience is required

Room and Board Arrangements

In camp you will be staying in a room with three to four people. For every team member there is a bed, a mattress, two blankets, sheets, and a pillow. It is not necessary to bring a sleep sack or a sleeping bag, although some participants bring one, especially if they are sensitive to the cold. Participants are expected to bring their own towels. A mosquito net is also highly recommended and can easily be hung up in the room.
Unmarried males and females should not – as a rule – socialize apart from the larger context of the group and should never go off alone into a room with each other (gossip tends to spread like wildfire, and potentially damages the position of the project in the village); therefore only married couples may share a room.
Once we start fieldwork, the day is fairly intense. A light breakfast (tea and biscuits) is served at 5:00 am, we leave the dig house at 5.30 am and we are in the field by 6:00 am. At 10:00 am there is a more substantial ‘second’ breakfast. Work in the field stops at 2:00 pm and a warm lunch (the main meal of the day) is served at 2:30 pm. The afternoons are reserved for report work and daily lectures. At 6:00 pm we get together in the dining area to discuss the day’s work. At 7:00 pm a light dinner is served, often soup or noodles.


All room and board costs are included in tuition (excluding weekend meals)

Academic Credit

Name of institution offering credit: 
Connecticut College
Number of credits offered 8 semester credit units (equivalent to 12 quarter units)


Contact Information
Institute for Field Research
1855 Industrial St. #106
Los Angeles
424 226-6130
Recommended Bibliography: 

Lloyd, A. 2000. “The Ptolemaic Period,” in I. Shaw (ed.) The Oxford History of Ancient Egypt. Oxford: Oxford University Press, 395-421.

Peacock, D. 2000. “The Roman Period,” in I. Shaw (ed.) The Oxford History of Ancient Egypt. Oxford: Oxford University Press, 422-445

Wendrich, W. (ed.) 2010. Egyptian Archaeology. Malden: Wiley-Blackwell

Bard, K. 2008. “Chapter 10: The Graeco-Roman Period,” in An Introduction to the Archaeology of Ancient Egypt. Malden: Blackwell Publishing, 319-366.

Johnson, J. 1999. “Late and Ptolemaic Periods, overview,” in K. Bard (ed.) The Encyclopedia of the Archaeology of Ancient Egypt. New York: Routledge, 70-72.

René Cappers, Emily Cole, Daniel Jones, Simon Holdaway, Willeke Wendrich,  2013, “The Fayyûm Desert as an Agricultural Landscape”, in Carolin Artl and Martin Stadler, (eds.)  Das Fayyûm in Hellenismus und Kaiserzeit. Fallstudien zu multikulturellem Leben in der Antike  pp. 37-50, Wiesbaden: Harrassowitz.

Gazda, E. (ed.) 2004. Karanis, an Egyptian town in Roman times: discoveries of the University of Michigan expedition to Egypt (1924-1935). 2nd ed. Ann Arbr: Kelsey Museum of Archaeology, University of Michigan.

Wenke, R. 1999. “Fayum, the Neolithic and Prehistoric sites” in K. Bard (ed.) The Encyclopedia of the Archaeology of Ancient Egypt. New York: Routledge, 313-316. Available online through Google Books.

Wilfong, T. 1999. “Fayum, the Graeco-Roman sites,” in K. Bard (ed.) The Encyclopedia of the Archaeology of Ancient Egypt. New York: Routledge, 308-313. Available online through Google Books.