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Discover Istanbul and the best five ancient cities of Classical world: Ephesus, Pergamum, Priene, Miletus and Didyma (Aegean Coast, Turkey) & Dig in the Roman City of Sanisera (Spain)

Location: Istanbul, Turkey

May 1, 2014 to September 7, 2015

Session dates: 
1) May 01 - May 20; 2) May 23 - June 11; 3) June 14 - July 03; 4) July 06 - July 25; 5) July 28 - August 16; 6) August 19 - September 07

Application Deadline: 
Tuesday, September 1, 2015

Deadline Type: 
Contact for details

Flyer: PDF icon 031.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:

Project Director:

Fernando Contreras & Cesar Gonzalez

Project Description

Sanisera Archaeology Institute for International Field Schools

Our commitment is to promote Archaeology in its different aspects of research, training, and conservation, with a basic and clear purpose: to involve anyone from around the world who wishes to gain access to this scientific field. Sanisera is an international archaeological organization whose main aim is that of promoting and developing research , so that our current and future generations can be enriched by culture and education in this field.

We are not only in Spain, but we also have courses in Greece, Portugal, France, UK, Croatia, Turkey and Italy. We offer students more than 20 courses that can enrich their CVs, validate university credits and get recommendation letters to enter the job market or get into prestigious scientific research centers.

Our work is focused on the archaeological study of ancient cities, anthropology, osteology, digging graves, conservation in archaeology, art, museums, excavate shipwrecks and submerged cities of ancient ports in the underwater school in archaeology, how to make a movie, learning GIS Software for archaeologists and discovering the most important monuments from Ancient civilizations such as Athens and Rome.

Why participate?

General Information

This program, which has been scheduled by The Sanisera Archaeology Institute for International Field Schools, is divided in two main parts. In the first part of the course students will gain experience in archaeological fieldwork by excavating in the Ancient Roman city of Sanisera, which is located in the Mediterranean island of Menorca. During the second part, students will discover the most significant remains from ancient cities of Classical world through an archaeological tour that will start in Istanbul and will continue visiting the Aegean Coast, leaded by an expert on Ancient art.

Part 1. The archaeological fieldwork in Sanisera (Menorca)

The research is focused on the archaeological excavation of Sanisera and it studies what happened in this Roman port connected to the maritime traffic that sailed the Mediterranean during those times. As a result, we know that this is a very interesting archaeological site, with abundant findings of multiple artifacts that will help us to reconstruct its past.

The excavation at the Roman city of Sanisera provides all the archaeological documentation necessary for the student to acquire enough training and experience in all aspects involving an excavation of the Roman civilization from the II century B.C. to the VI A.D.

In the laboratory students will learn to classify all the artifacts found on the site, including Roman pottery, numismatics and faunal remains.

Time dedicated to this part of the program: 65%.

Part 2. Discover Istanbul and the best five ancient cities of Classical world: Ephesus, Pergamum, Priene, Miletus and Didyma

For the second part of the course, the Field Program has scheduled an archaeological tour that will start in Istanbul. Its first destination will be Selçuk, where students will visit the most important classical remains of Ephesus, Pergamum, Priene, Miletus and Didyma y some of their renowned archaeological museums. This tour will have a duration of six days and explanations will be in English.

Istanbul, with one foot in Europe and the other in Asia, is a unique city of contrasts. There are many fascinating sights including Sultanahmet Mosque (the Blue Mosque), Topkapi Palace and the great basilica of Hagia Sophia built by Justinian in 537 AD.

The National Archaeological Museum of Istanbul was built by the sultans in the late century to house their collection of antiquities from across the Ottoman Empire. It is an amazing Greek and Roman sculpture collection that includes the sarcophagus from the necropolis of Sidon. The most relevant one is without a doubt The Alexander Sarcophagus, a late 4th century BC Hellenistic stone sarcophagus adorned with bas-relief carvings of Alexander the Great.

Ephesus, it was once a major port city on the Aegean Sea and one of the best preserved and most visited ancient Roman cities in the world. It was the crossroads of the north-south and east-west trade routes in Asia Minor, and also the center of politics and religion. In fact, ancient Ephesus had perhaps as many as 250,000 residents. Many of their homes have not been excavated or refurbished. From Roman houses stand above the so called Yamaç Evleri, with excellent frescoes like those in Pompeii.

The Library of Celsus is the most beautiful of the restored buildings in Ephesus. Today, the library consists of a rebuilt façade, without the rooms that once contained thousands of scrolls. Walk its grand marble streets to see the Temple of Hadrian. See the Temple of Artemis (once home to one of the Seven Wonders of the Ancient World). It was also here that St. Paul preached some of his most famous sermons and where the Virgin Mary Spent her final days, a Vatican designated place of pilgrimage. The excellent site museum is also situated at Selçuk.

Pergamum, under the rule of Alexander the Great, became a major metropolis and capital city. Four distinctions of Pergamum at the time: a major medical center and the second largest library in the world (200.000 books) that Mark Antony plundered to stock books that he gave to Cleopatra. The parchment was invented in this city by Eumenes, as a surface made with animal skin used to write.

In Pergamum we will visit two ancient sites. The first is the Acropolis. It is set high on a hillside and dominates the surrounding countryside. Other ruins include the library, the Temple of Athena and the crowning temple dedicated to Trajan. It is also possible to see the lower temple of Zeus and a Hellenistic theatre. The second site is the Asklepion Health Center of Pergamum. This hospital was named after Asklepios, the god of health and life. The remains have several pools, tunnels, a running track and a sophisticated theatre.

Priene, a magical site, was once one of the most active ports of the Ionian Confederacy. Alexander the Great stayed here. It has the impressive public monuments -stadium, temples and agora stand as very substantial ruins. Miletus, home of philosophers and scientists, is also included in the tour with its theatre, Baths of Faustina, gymnasium and nymphaeum. A sacred road once joined Miletus and the Didyma sanctuary. In Didyma you will discover the colossal Temple of Apollo where crowds of pilgrims came to consult the oracle. Is one of the best preserved of the ancient sanctuaries.

Time dedicated to this part of the program: 35%.

What you will learn

In the Fieldwork

  • How to dig and which archaeological techniques are used.
  • Use and handling of the tools that are used during the excavation process.
  • Basic principles of stratigraphy.
  • Recording the data obtained during the excavation using the Harris Method.
  • Practice on the recognition of archaeological materials and Roman finds from the II century B.C. - VI A.D.
  • Basic procedures for sample collection.

In the Laboratory

  • Study and typological classification of archaeological objects of Roman archaeology: ceramics, numismatics, faunal remains, metals and glass.
  • Relative dating based on the classification of archaeological objects discovered in the stratigraphic sequence.


  • History, archaeology, economy and culture of the Roman civilization.
  • Introduction to the History of the Sanisera Site.
  • Minorcan archaeology before the Roman conquest of the Balearic Islands.

Art & Museums

  • Discover the most significant remains from ancient cities of Classical world: Ephesus, Pergamum, Priene, Miletus and Didyma.
  • Visit the unique architecture of Istanbul: “the Blue Mosque” and the great basilica of Hagia Sophia.
  • Visit The National Archaeological Museum of Istanbul. It is an amazing Greek and Roman sculpture collection that includes the sarcophagus from the necropolis of Sidon. The most relevant one is without a doubt The Alexander Sarcophagus.

Directed at

If you have never excavated as a volunteer in a field school and are interested in excavating in a Roman city as well as visiting those cities included among the best places in the world to discover the essence on ancient Roman and Greek Empires, then this course is a good choice. This program accommodates participants with or without previous experience.

This program is designed for students interested in focusing their studies in the classical world of Rome and Greece, delving into its history and archeology.

You will learn to excavate and classify archaeological material found. You will identify different types of Roman pottery, amphorae, coins and other Roman archaeological material. After learning this in Sanisera, you will have a better understanding when you visit the five ancient cities in the Aegean Coast, archaeological museums and Istanbul.

By participating in this course you will have the opportunity to excavate in a unique Roman city in Menorca (Spain) and then explore the most remarkable archaeology from the Ancient world.

Previous knowledge or experience in archaeology or computer systems is not required.

Field School life & language

This field school program, with a length of 20 days, will start in Spain. Students will meet in Menorca during the first day. Next and during the following days they will focus on the excavation in the ancient city of Sanisera, where they will work for 8 days. Students will receive an intensive introduction on basic aspects of field excavation techniques following the Harris Matrix. The fieldwork runs 7 hours per day, with time dedicated to excavation as well as laboratory work focused on Roman pottery. Courses are given in both English and Spanish.

On the 13th day of the course participants will fly to Istanbul, where they will stay for 6 days. Once students finish the archaeological tour in Turkey, they will have one day off in order to enjoy their free time. On the 19th day of the course students will fly back to Menorca, from where they will go back home.

The schedule of the trip is:

1st day: Flight Menorca – Istanbul. Bus Istanbul – Selçuk. 2nd day: Ephesus. 3rd day: Priene, Miletus and Didyma. 4th day: Pergamum. Bus. Izmir – Istanbul. 5th day: Istanbul. 6th day: flight Istanbul – Menorca.  


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

In 2015, 6 sessions, 20 days each
Session #1 May 01 – May 20 $ 3,000
Session #2 May 23 - June 11 $ 3,000
Session #3 June 14 – July 03 $ 3,000
Session #4 July 06 – July 25 $ 3,000
Session #5 July 28 - August 16 $ 3,000
Session #6 August 19 – September 07  $ 3,000

Spaces available

The course is limited to 4 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: Classical Archaeology

This course is based in both Spain and Turkey. Participants will spend time excavating the Roman city of Sanisera in Menorca, Spain, where fieldwork focuses on the excavation of an urban area. In the laboratory students will learn to classify artifacts found, including Roman pottery, numismatics and faunal remains. Participants then will travel to Turkey on an archaeological tour of Istanbul and The Aegean Coast

Project size: 
1-24 participants

Minimum Length of Stay for Volunteers: 20 days

Minimum age: 
18 (contact with questions about age)

Experience required: 

Room and Board Arrangements

Course fee includes 

  • Course tuition.
  • Daily transportation to/from the archaeological fieldwork.
  • Accommodation in the Student Residency in Ciutadella (Menorca)
  • Accommodation in Istanbul and Selçuk (Turkey)
  • Flight ticket to/from Menorca – Istanbul (students can only take a cabin bag weighing up to 10 kg with maximum dimensions of 55cm x 40cm x 20cm).
  • Bus ticket to/from Istanbul - Selçuk.
  • Daily transportation to/from archaeological sites in Turkey
  • Breakfast, lunch and dinner (only while in Sanisera - Menorca)
  • Certificate of participation.

Airfare not included from the student home to/from Menorca (Spain).

During the archaeological tour in Turkey meals are not included (only 6 days of the 20 days of the course, although we will recommend some cafés and restaurants that do not exceed the average of 12€/day in meals. Entry tickets to museums and historical buildings are not included either.


Academic Credit

Name of institution offering credit: 
Please, contact Cesar Gonzalez, our course coordinator, in order to get more information about this possibility
Number of credits offered: none


Contact Information
Cesar Gonzalez
Es Mercadal
+1 347 8710963