This listing expired on July 21, 2014. Please contact for any updated information.

Location: Sovana di Sorano, Grosseto, Italy

August 2, 2014 to August 31, 2014

Session dates: 
First session: from August 2, 2014 to August 16, 2014.

Application Deadline: 
Friday, May 30, 2014
Monday, June 30, 2014

Deadline Type: 
Exact date

Flyer: PDF icon act_la_biagiola_summer_school_25_04_14.pdf

Discount for AIA members: 
AIA members will pay € 800 per shift.

Program Type

Field school

RPA certified



Associazione "Cultura e Territorio", Soprintendenza per i Beni Archeologici della Toscana, LA3M – Université d’Aix-Marseille – CNRS

Project Director:

Dr. Luca Mario Nejrotti, Chercheur Associé at the LA3M – Université d’Aix-Marseille – CNRS

Project Description

Only a few places left in first shift!

NEW DEADLINE for application: June, 30

The evolution of an Etruscan villa through centuries: from the early Roman period to the Langobard occupation, up to the rural settlement of modern era. At present, the history of the site is quite clear in outlines: on an Etruscan villa, at least three phases of a Roman villa, a Langobard grave field and a modern farm follow each other. The excavations are carried on thanks to Soprintendenza per i Beni Archeologici della Toscana, “la Biagiola vitivinicola”, Kaustic Plastik and the municipality of Sorano.

Now we are ready to complete the excavation of the site'’s first sector and to convert it into an archaeological park. In 2014 we intend to open a Summer School for foreign students in archaeology, who wish to experience an archaeological excavation in Italy.

A little history
The territory of Sovana has been inhabited since Prehistory. Today the area is well known for its Etruscan necropolis, medieval castles and churches. Archaeological researches, however, continue revealing new treasures and new interesting aspects of human settlement through centuries. For example, it is well known that Romanization phenomena in the area took place between the 3rd and the 2nd century BC, but little is yet known about the Roman settlement in the countryside. Undoubtedly during the 6th and 7th c. AD here was the awkward boundary between the Byzantine and Langobard lands, but archaeological evidences from this period are very scarce.

Indeed, the peculiarity of the site lies in its multilayer stratification: a Roman villa grew over a late Etruscan settlement; afterwards, the Roman facilities were re-used by a Langobard group during the early middle Ages, when the site was turned into a cemetery. Those graves, that have already been excavated, contained precious and interesting goods. Finally, the villa was largely abandoned up to the present time: only a building survived over the centuries, transformed into a shed.

Thought the walls and the tombs are just partially preserved, they can supply a lot of archaeological information. When the research will be ended and the site turned into an archaeological park, “la Biagiola” will become one more attraction in the already rich cultural landscape of Sovana.

Since 2012 the site has represented the core of research and promotion activities carried on by archaeologists, coordinated by the association "Cultura e Territorio" under the supervision of the Superintendence for Archaeological Heritage of Tuscany (SBAT).

The aims of the 2014 Campaign are:

  • completing the excavations of the Roman ruins to uncover the Archaic foundations;
  • exploring the Langobard necropolis;
  • investigating some service facilities of the Roman farm: a likely oil or wine press area.

Field activities
Students will practice in each sector, led by one or two archaeologists of the staff. The excavations will be a training experience participants will be intensely concerned in. The trainees will be guided through this new adventure, by a team of skillful archaeologists: they will be able to explain clearly every aspect of the research process.

Lab activities
Laboratories will run in parallel to field activities, involving small groups of students at a time under the supervision of a staff instructor. Drawing, pottery, total station, G.I.S. and open source archaeological record labs will be certainly provided. In addition, depending on the needs of the field research, the laboratories will focus also on other topics, such as Archaeology of standing buildings, metal find preservation and anthropological analysis.

Lectures will be focused on local history and on the archaeological method and theory. They will take place in the afternoon, interposed to cultural trips.

Cultural excursions and leisure
Since the site is located in the middle of a rich archaeological area, several cultural excursions in the surroundings are planned, such as the Etruscan necropolis of Sovana, the impressive vie cave, Sorano and Pitigliano museums and castles. Not to forget leisure activities: Bolsena Lake, Saturnia baths and the numerous typical festivals will make the experience enjoyable and unforgettable.

Period(s) of Occupation: From early Roman Period to late Middle Ages

Only a few places left in first shift! NEW DEADLINE for application: June, 30.The Summer School of “la Biagiola” focus on archaeological method, on a multilayered site: from an early Roman Period villa, through a Langobard necropolis to a late Middle Ages rural building.

Project size: 
25-49 participants

Minimum Length of Stay for Volunteers: Applicants must stay one whole session.

Minimum age: 

Experience required: 
The 2014 Campaign is open to both undergraduate and graduate students in Archaeology. Admission is limited to 20 students per shift. No prerequisites are requested for the Summer School; students will be adequately trained during the campaign.

Room and Board Arrangements

Students are responsible for arranging their own travel to and from Italy. The Summer School is taking place in the municipality of Sorano (GR), in the south of Tuscany.
The closest airport is located in Rome. We suggest the students to reach Rome by flight and take a train to Grosseto.
On Saturday, August 2, a meeting point will be arranged at Grosseto Station (4.30 pm). Students will be driven to the Summer School accommodation by the staff.
On Saturday, August 16, the staff will drive the students to Grosseto Station in the morning, where they could take trains to their departure place or any further destination.
Students and staff will be housed in the local school building at Sorano, in dormitories for 6-8 places each, with communal bathrooms and facilities.
The meals will be cooked by an Italian cook. The breakfast (consisting of coffee, milk, tea or cappuccino and pastries) will be consumed at the accommodation. On Sunday lunch, students and staff will be provided with lunch-boxes.
Lunch and dinner, consisting of typical Italian dishes, will be held at the accommodation (Summer School fee includes water; all other drinks are not included).
Every effort will be made to accommodate students with food allergies (nuts, shellfish, etc.); students with food allergies are required to inform the staff of their specific dietary restrictions upon application.
We will try to accommodate individual lifestyles and dietary choices (vegetarianism, veganism, etc.) too: student must inform the staff of any special request upon application.
On request, it will be possible to go shopping every 3/4 days; students may ask staff members for any personal shopping request (not included in the fee).
Health and medical information
The participation in the Summer School implies intense physical activity and probably high temperatures (up to 100 °F) during the workday. It is mandatory that all students consult their family doctor to confirm that they will be able to endure the demands of working outdoors for several hours.
All students accepted in the program will be required to provide a doctor’s note stating that they are in good health and able to participate in the field school safely. In case of students with medical conditions and/or special needs, a specialist’s note will be required. In order to guarantee safety and proper intervention in case of emergency, medical history information must be included in the physician’s note. Such information will be treated with absolute confidentiality and will not be disclosed to any third party, unless required to safeguard the student’s health.
All the students enrolled in the field school must have a valid international medical insurance for the entire duration of their stay in Italy. Students are required to provide policy information prior to their arrival in Italy.
Given the potential exposure to pathogens in the soil, students must have had a tetanus vaccination or booster within the past ten years; no other vaccinations are required to travel in Italy.
Local Transportation
Staff will drive students, materials and supplies to and from the site on every workday, during cultural trips and in case of emergency as well. Staff will try to grant students’ wish of special trips, when free from activities.
Clothing and Equipment
Students should plan to bring appropriate clothing for summertime, providing the following items specifically for the field work:

  • comfortable, lightweight pants (no shorts allowed on the site) and shirts to be worn during excavation (shirts with shoulders and sleeves are preferable to tank tops);
  • closed-toe work shoes with reinforced soles (no trainers, sandals or flip flops are allowed on the site);
  • comfortable work gloves;
  • a hat to protect the head during the hottest hours of the day;
  • backpack;
  • sunscreen and insect repellent;
  • a flask or water bottle.

The following items are required for the accommodations:

  • sheet set (top and bottom sheet, standard pillow slip) OR a sleeping bag;
  • shower and hand towels;
  • personal toiletries;
  • any personal medicine;
  • swimsuit and beach towel;
  • basic school supplies.

The official language of the field school is English and no knowledge of Italian is required. However, Italian knowledge will be taken as advantage.
US citizens are required to carry a valid passport for at least six months following the date of their arrival in Italy. No visa is required to enter the country for a stay shorter than 90 days. All students are highly encouraged to read and review information relevant to traveling to Italy posted on the US Department of State’s website.
Internet access
Internet access will be available at the accommodation, at no additional cost. Personal computers and internet connections will be allowed.
Laundry service is not included. Students should do their own washing (detergents will be supplied by the staff). They can also find some launderettes in the near towns of Sorano and Pitigliano.
Currency and personal shopping
Every cash purchase has to be in Euro. Up-to-date data about Euro-US dollar exchange can be easily found online. Students will not incur in any additional fee for the duration of the field school, but they may want to purchase souvenirs, gifts and other personal items. Although the major credit cards are widely accepted, a modest sum in cash may be useful. Money may be exchanged at local banks and exchange agencies, or simply withdrawn at local ATMs.

€ 850 per shift

Academic Credit

Name of institution offering credit: 
Soprintendenza per i Beni Archeologici della Toscana
Number of credits offered No credits are offered. In order to enable students to gain credits from their University, a signed certificate will be issued, testifying all the activities of the Summer School in details.


Contact Information
Dr. Luca Mario Nejrotti
via Ormea, 122
Recommended Bibliography: 

FERRARESE LUPI A., 2011, Località La Biagiola: relazione preliminare di scavo (campagne 2009-2010), in BARBIERI G., Il territorio di Sovana. Un decennio di ricognizioni e indagini archeologiche, pp. 83-92.

TURCHETTI M. A., DICIOTTI F., CORSI J., NEJROTTI L., FERRARESE LUPI A., 2012, Sorano (GR). Indagini archeologiche nel sito della Biagiola: campagna di scavo 2011, in “Notiziario della Soprintendenza per i Beni Archeologici della Toscana”, 7.

TURCHETTI M. A., FERRARESE LUPI A., NEJROTTI L. M., Sorano (GR). Indagini archeologiche nel sito della Biagiola: campagna di scavo 2012, in “Notiziario della Soprintendenza per i Beni Archeologici della Toscana”, 8. In press.