Location: Sovana di Sorano, Grosseto, Italy
Three exciting shifts (May, July and August): a complete program (two or six weeks) uncovering ancient Etruscan, Roman, and Lombard civilization!
The “la Biagiola” special program for students provides a first-hand experience from the fieldwork activities to the communication to the public.
We provide the exciting opportunity to learn how to study a multi-layered site.
Students will take part in the exploration of an ancient site in Tuscany, working alongside expert archaeologists and others foreign students.
The school also provide a complete formation in standing building archaeology, survey, and medieval castles studies, and, last but not least, students will be involved in the creation of a popularization documentary.
This program is offered in collaboration with the cultural heritage office of Tuscany, the regional authority that manages archaeological sites and monuments.
In addition to the archaeological experience, participants will be able to enjoy a wide range of cultural sites, historic monuments, and natural sites of Tuscany.
The School is taking place from May 13 to 27 and from July 15 to August 26, 2019.
FIRST SHIFT: from May 13 to May 27;
SECOND SHIFT: from July 15 to August 5;
THIRD SHIFT: from August 6 to August 26.
Anthropology, Archaeology and Museology.
Students will experience all aspects of an archaeological career; fieldwork, architectural archaeology, burial archaeology, scientific analysis, physical anthropology, artifact conservation, and cutting-edge open source digital archaeology. Moreover, coursework will explore and focus on the major features of ancient Etruscan, Roman and Early-Medieval cultures. Besides research activities, students will also participate to the creation of both a documentary and a virtual archaeological park.
The evolution of an Etruscan villa through centuries: from the Roman period, to the Lombard occupation, up to a Modern era rural settlement.
“La Biagiola” archaeological site, near Sovana di Sorano (GR), Tuscany, was discovered by the volunteers of Gruppo Archeologico Torinese in 2004, during a survey project led by the Soprintendenza per i Beni Archeologici della Toscana.
After a few sample digs, held from 2008 to 2011, the Association “Cultura e Territorio” (ACT) has been entrusted with the archaeological research.
At present, the history of the site is quite clear in outlines: an Etruscan rural settlement, at least two phases of a Roman villa, a Late Antiquity settlement, a Lombard graveyard and a Modern farm follow each other, sometime destroying previous layers, mostly just overlapping them.
The excavations are carried on thanks to Soprintendenza per i Beni Archeologici della Toscana, “la Biagiola vitivinicola”, Kaustic Plastik, the municipality of Sorano, and many private donors.
Now we are ready to expand our excavations of the medieval cemetery and to explore the new facilities of the Roman villa that have been located in winter but still need to be unearthed.
In 2019, after fivesuccessful campaigns, we intend to open again the International School of Archaeology to students from all over the world, who wish to experience archaeological excavations in Italy.
The aims of the 2019 Campaign are:
The program will be beneficial for both Classical and Medieval archaeologists.
As bonus activities, students will be involved, also in two side projects.
The “Stone Crown” project consists of survey activities that aim to discover, catalogue and study some “lost” medieval castles identified this fall in the territory of Sovana. The program will include photogrammetry and wall stratigraphic analysis, with a focus on ancient building techniques.
The “Archaeology on stage” project will see the cooperation between archaeologists and professional directors, actors and film makers with the purpose of shooting a multimedia documentary about “la Biagiola” site and its territory.
Students will be involved in all the backstage activities of a video and theatrical production.
In addition, students will be involved in the “la Biagiola virtual archaeological park” creation.
The fieldwork excavations will be a major portion of the training focus for the participants. The trainees will be guided through this new adventure by a team of skillful archaeologists who will be able to explain clearly every aspect of the research process.
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, Manciano and Pitigliano museums and castles.
Not to forget the various leisure activities that are also included: Bolsena Lake, Saturnia baths and the numerous Italian festivals will make the experience enjoyable and unforgettable.
Period(s) of Occupation: From early Roman Period to late Middle Ages
Minimum Length of Stay for Volunteers: Applicants must attend at least 1 shift
Room and Board Arrangements
Arrival and departure
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 Monday, May 13, a meeting point will be arranged at GROSSETO Railway Station in the late morning for the first appliers. Students will be driven to the Summer School accommodation by the staff. A second meeting point will be arranged at GROSSETO Railway Station in the first afternoon.
On Monday, May 27, the staff will drive the students, in the morning, to GROSSETO Railway Station, where they could take trains to their departure place or any further destination.
On Monday, July 15 a meeting point will be arranged at GROSSETO Railway Station in the late morning for the first appliers. Students will be driven to the Summer School accommodation by the staff. A second meeting point will be arranged at GROSSETO Railway Station in the first afternoon.
On Monday, August 26, the staff will drive the students in the morning, to GROSSETO Railway Station, where they could take trains to their departure place or any further destination.
If students arrive in any other town or leave from any other place, they will have to provide themselves a ride to or from Pitigliano (where they will be picked up by our staff) as well as they don’t respect the arrival and departure dates.
Students and staff will be housed in the typical country house near the archaeological site, in dormitories for 6-8 places each, with communal bathrooms and facilities.
The school house address is:
Catabbiaccio, 58055 Semproniano GR
The breakfast (consisting of coffee, milk, tea or cappuccino and pastries) will be consumed at the accommodation.
On Saturdays no dinner will be provided by staff.
On Sunday no lunch will be provided by staff.
Lunch and dinner, consisting of typical Italian dishes, will be held at the accommodation (International School fee only 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 also will try to accommodate individual lifestyles and dietary choices (e.g. vegetarianism) too: student must inform the staff of any special request upon application, no special dietary request after application will be taken in consideration.
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 104 °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.
The staff will drive the 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:
The following items are required for the accommodations:
The official language of the field school is English and no knowledge of Italian is required.
Non-European citizens are required to carry a passport valid for at least six months after the date of their arrival in Italy. No visa is required to enter the country for a stay shorter than 90 days.
Internet access will be available at the accommodation, using staff devices upon request, at no additional cost.
There is WI-FI connection ONLY in the refectory.
Personal computers and internet connections will be allowed.
For normal internet connections, students are encouraged to purchase a data plan with an Italian mobile operator upon arrival at the airport.
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 town of Pitigliano.
Currency and personal shopping
Every cash purchase has to be in Euros.
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 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.
We strongly recommend you to buy an Italian or International SIM card before your arrival at Sorano. Good phone or data offers are harder to find in the countryside than in the airports, where salespeople are more accustomed to helping foreign customers.
BARBIERI G., BUCCI I., DICIOTTI F., FERRARESE LUPI A., 2011, Sorano (GR) Località La Biagiola: saggio di scavo, in Notizie del “Notiziario della Soprintendenza per i Beni Archeologici della Toscana”, 6.
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., DICIOTTO 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.
FERRARESE LUPI A., NEJROTTI L. M., TURCHETTI M. A., 2013, Indagini archeologiche nel sito della Biagiola campagna 2012, in Notizie del “Notiziario della Soprintendenza per i Beni Archeologici della Toscana”, 8, 2012, pp. 618-621.
NEJROTTI L. M., TURCHETTI M. A., 2014, Indagini archeologiche nel sito della Biagiola campagna 2013, in Notizie del “Notiziario della Soprintendenza per i Beni Archeologici della Toscana”, 9, 2013, pp. 518-519.
NEJROTTI L. M., TURCHETTI M. A., 2015, Indagini archeologiche nel sito della Biagiola campagna 2014, in Notizie del “Notiziario della Soprintendenza per i Beni Archeologici della Toscana”, 10, 2014, pp. 528-530.