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The Pran'e Siddi Landscape Project at the Island of Sardinia

Location: Italy

June 29, 2014 to August 2, 2014

Session dates: 
Single session

Application Deadline: 
Saturday, June 14, 2014

Deadline Type: 

Program Type

Field school

RPA certified



Oberlin College & the Institute for Field Research

Project Director:

Dr. Emily Holt, Oberlin College

Project Description

Pran'e Siddi, or the Siddi Plateau, is a high basaltic plateau located in south-central island of Sardinia. The area around Siddi was inhabited by prehistoric villagers beginning in the Neolithic period (ca. 4,000-3,200 BCE). During the Middle Bronze Age (ca. 1,700-1,450 BCE), the previously egalitarian people began to develop a hierarchical social system with an elite who expressed their power and prestige through the building of monumental stone towers called nuraghi.  By 1450 BCE, however, the elite sites on the Siddi Plateau were abandoned and the population moved away. Previous archaeological work in the area suggested that the Nuragic elites may have been using unsustainable agricultural practices to gain wealth and support their power.  In 2014, students will conduct archaeological survey, soil studies, and artifact analysis to reconstruct changing patterns of land use and look for evidence of environmental depletion.  During survey, students will use data collected from satellite imagery and receive basic training in GIS by using collected artifact data to build maps.  Students will also engage in intensive classification and serriation of the ceramic record recovered from the region in previous years.

Period(s) of Occupation: Bronze Age

Project size: 
1-24 participants

Minimum Length of Stay for Volunteers: Full program length

Minimum age: 
18 years old

Experience required: 
No previous experience is required

Room and Board Arrangements

Students will live in comfortable, but modest, field housing in the town of Siddi (ca. 700 inhabitants). Conditions at the field house are basic: there is only one bathroom, hot water may run out, and students will share communal rooms. Mattresses will be provided, but it may be necessary for some students to sleep on mattresses on the floor. The house includes cupboards and a full-sized refrigerator where students can keep any snacks they wish to purchase.
All meals during the week will be communal events that will introduce students to the traditions of Sardinian cuisine. Sardinian food is delicious and hearty, but students should be aware that meat plays a large role in it.  Specialized diets (vegan, kosher, etc.) are impossible to maintain in the context of this field school; vegetarians may attend but will find their options quite limited and may find it necessary to supplement group meals with foods they purchase themselves. The format of weekend meals will vary according to the field trip schedule, but their cost is included in the program fee.

All room and board costs are included in tuition

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: 

Balmuth, M. 1992. "Archaeology in Sardinia." American Journal of Archaeology 96(4): 663-697.

Blake, E. 1999. "Identity-Mapping in the Sardinian Bronze Age." European Journal of Archaeology 2(1): 35-55.

Depalmas, A. and Melis, R. 2010. "The Nuragic People: Their Settlements, Economic Activities and Use of the Land, Sardinia, Italy." In Martini and Chesworth (eds.), Landscapes and Societies: 167-186. Springer, Dordrecht.

Hester, T., Shafer, H., and Feder, K. 2009. Field Methods in Archaeology, Chapters 3 and 4: 21-40, 41-63. Left Coast Press, Inc.

Holt, E. Forthcoming (2013). "Nuragic culture and architecture (Bronze Age to Iron Age)." Springer Encyclopedia of Global Archaeology. Springer, New York.

Parcak, S. 2009. Satellite Remote Sensing for Archaeology, Chapter 5: Landscape Approaches and Project Design: 113-146. Routledge, New York.

Perra, M. 1997. "From Deserted Ruins: An Interpretation of Nuragic Sardinia." Europea 3(2): 49-76. 

Russell, A. 2010. "Foreign materials, islander mobility and elite identity in Late Bronze Age Sardinia." In Van Dommelen and Knapp (eds.), Material Connections in the Ancient Mediterranean: Mobility, Materiality and Identity: 106-126. Routledge, New York.

Trump, D. 1992. "Militarism in Nuragic Sardinia." In Tykot and Andrews (eds.), Sardinia in the Mediterranean: A Footprint in the Sea: 198-203. Sheffield Academic Press, Oxford.

Webster, G. 1996. A Prehistory of Sardinia 2300-500 BC, Chapter 2: The Island Setting: 28-43. Sheffield Academic Press, Sheffield.