Castelo Project 2023 – Excavation of a Bronze Age Site in Portugal ($1500-3 weeks/$1850-4 Weeks)

This listing expired on September 25, 2023. Please contact for any updated information.

Location: N381 106, 7170, Portugal

Season: August 6, 2023 to September 2, 2023

Session Dates:
3 Week Session: August 6 - August 26;
4 Week Session: August 6 - September 2

Application Deadline: May 1, 2023

Deadline Type: Rolling


Program Type:
Field School

RPA Certified:

Castelo Archaeological Project

Project Director:
Rui Mataloto
MA Prehistory and Archaeology, University of Lisbon
BA Archaeology, University of Lisbon
Bianca Viseu
MA Archaeology, McMaster University
BA Archaeology & Classical Civilization, University of Toronto
Gonçalo Bispo
MA Archaeology, University of Lisbon (in progress)
BA Archaeology, University of Lisbon

Project Description:

The Castelo Archaeological Project is seeking applicants for its fourth season of excavation at the site of Castelo Velho da Serra d’Ossa, located in the Alentejo region of Portugal. Students will be housed in the nearby town of Redondo.

The site, approximately 14 ha in size, dates to the Late Bronze Age [LBA] and Iron Age of southwest Iberia. The LBA of the southwest has long been characterized by the apparent emergence of a new culture associated with defensiveness and warriorship, as represented by:
(1) stone stelae depicting warrior iconography found in the wider region, and
(2) the emergence of large, fortified sites that appear during this period.
Unfortunately, there has been a distinct lack of site-level investigations and data, thus leading to insufficient and generalizing interpretations of the LBA. Our project aims to contribute toward a more comprehensive understanding of this understudied period.

The site underwent a brief investigation in the early 2000s to safeguard surface artifacts in danger of being destroyed. Our 2018 season was the site’s first comprehensive excavation and uncovered the largest known Bronze Age hut (cabana​) in the southwest of Iberia. Work on the hut and surrounding areas of the site continued during the 2019 and 2022 seasons.

Prior experience in archaeology is not required – students (and any others) of all backgrounds are encouraged to apply. This field school will train students in archaeological methods, such as excavation techniques, recording, illustration, and the handling and processing of artifacts. The field school will take students on weekly field trips to historical and archaeological sites and towns in Portugal and Spain.

Students who wish to gain experience in field archaeology and have an interest in prehistory are especially encouraged to apply!

There is no minimum age though students under 18 will be asked to co-sign forms with a parent/guardian.

Please visit our website for information on scholarship opportunities and how to apply!

Period(s) of Occupation: Bronze Age, Middle Bronze Age, Late Bronze Age, Iron Age, and Early Iron Age

Project Size: 1-24 participants

Minimum Length of Stay for Volunteers: 3 Weeks

Minimum Age: None

Experience Required: None

Room and Board Arrangements:
Accommodation: Students will be housed together in the town of Redondo. The house is located very centrally. Most rooms will be shared by two or more students, and sometimes on bunk beds. Sleeping arrangements are gender-separated. There is no air conditioning in the houses. Spaces are communal - there is a shared kitchen, bathrooms, washing machine, and living room. Students are responsible for cleaning these spaces and doing the assigned chores. Students will do their own laundry.

Meals: On weekdays, the field school provides students with three meals per day. Breakfast is provided at the dig house and students are expected to prepare it themselves. Lunch is served at a local restaurant. Dinner is provided by a local restaurant but eaten at home. Students should expect to eat a great deal of local Alentejan cuisine. The project will do its best to accommodate dietary needs, but students must inform us of any dietary requirements, and/or allergies before paying the tuition. Due to the nature of Alentejan cuisine, we are able to accommodate vegetarian diets, but any other dietary requirements must be discussed with one of the directors.

Transportation: Students are expected to provide their own transportation to and from Portugal (Lisbon airport) as airfare is not​ included in the tuition. Once in Portugal, transportation will be provided by the field school. Upon arrival at the Lisbon airport on Sunday August 6th, students will be greeted by either Rui, Bianca, or Pouca, and brought as a group to Redondo. At the end of the three week session (Saturday August 26th) or four week session (Saturday September 2nd), students will be brought back to the Lisbon airport or elsewhere in the city if they plan to stay in Portugal a while longer after the project. Please inform us of your travel plans as far in advance as possible.

The Town: The town of Redondo is quite small but very friendly. During their free time, students are encouraged to explore and familiarize themselves with the town. Free wi-fi is available at the local cultural centre (closed on Mondays) - make sure you bring your own cellphone or laptop. If you’d like to get a phone plan (cellular data plans are very cheap in Portugal) you must do this at the airport in Lisbon - there will be no opportunity to do this at a later time. Students will also have access to the outdoor community pool (wi-fi is available at the pool café) - so make sure to bring your swimsuits! Please remember - members of the Castelo Archaeological Project are guests to the Municipality of Redondo, and your behaviour reflects not just you, but on ours and other projects based in the town. Respect for the town and its residents is of the utmost importance.

Field Trips: Each weekend, we go as a group on field trips around Portugal (Alentejo) and/or Spain (Badajoz, Merida) to visit historical and archaeological sites, experience cultural events like concerts and performances, and relax at fluvial beaches. Trips typically take place on Saturdays with Sundays spent in Redondo relaxing and catching up on laundry.

Academic Credit:
We do not offer academic credit. However, we are happy to sign any forms you may need to get academic credit through your university.

Contact Information:

Bianca Viseu (MA Archaeology)



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