2023 Italy Roca Vecchia

Location: 73026 Roca, Province of Lecce, Italy

Season: August 27, 2023 to September 24, 2023

Application Deadline: March 17, 2023

Deadline Type: Exact Date


Program Type:
Field School

RPA Certified:

Center for Field Sciences & University of Salento

Project Director:
Prof. Teodoro Scarano

Project Description:

The Bronze Age fortified settlement of Roca Vecchia was a strategic key-site for the crossing routes between the Aegean and the Central Mediterranean. Maybe more important, the site includes the Grotta Poesia cave, an important cult center since prehistory. Roca Vecchia was settled from the mid-17th to the late 11th century BCE and was protected by a massive wall, repeatedly destroyed and rebuilt over time. Finds from the Middle Bronze Age levels (17th-14th century BCE) clearly attest to the early involvement of Roca within the Aegean network. Finds include an unusual variety of products of both Minoan, Italo-Minoan and local Italian pottery. These artifacts indicate active and intensive trading along the southern Adriatic routes already at these early dates. Despite the unquestionable local identity of the site, Late Bronze Age Roca yielded more Aegean-type ceramics than any other settlement in Italy (including a large variety of both imports and their imitations). Roca appears to have been characterized by cultural hybridization of the local Italian population with Minoan and Mycenaean elements.

Recent investigations carried out in Roca suggest that extensive ritual practices were linked to collective ceremonial activities, incorporating rituals and symbols of both local and Aegean origin. Final Bronze Age evidence include exotica – such as ivory and amber, metalworking activities in bronze and gold, including gold sun discs and ornaments – suggesting the wealth and centrality of Roca for the central Mediterranean area.

During the forthcoming seasons, students will participate in investigating both Bronze Age fortifications and settlement area as well as funerary evidence dating to the second and first millennium BCE.

Period(s) of Occupation: Bronze Age

Application deadline is June 3, 2023. Tuition is $4,600. Tuition covers full cost of instruction, room and board, transportation while in the program and 8 semester credit units (equivalent to 12 quarter credit units). Credit units are awarded through our School of Record -- Iowa Wesleyan University.

Project Size: 1-24 participants

Minimum Length of Stay for Volunteers: Full length of program

Minimum Age: 18 years old

Experience Required: None. This is hands-on, experiential learning and students will study on-site how to conduct archaeological research. Field work involves physical work and exposure to the elements and thus requires a measure of understanding that this will not be the typical university learning environment. You will have to work outdoors and will get sweaty and tired. Students are required to come equipped with sufficient excitement and adequate understanding that field work requires real, hard work, in the sun and wind. The work requires patience, discipline, and attention to detail.

Room and Board Arrangements:
The students will be hosted at Eden Apartments Torre dell’Orso ( Torre dell’Orso is a nice locality in the territory of Melendugno (Lecce), located on the Adriatic coast of Salento, not far from the archaeological site of Roca Vecchia. The apartments are cozy and bright. Apartments are provided with fully equipped kitchen and appliances. The bedrooms are large and equipped with single and double beds, wardrobes, chairs, wi-fi, TV and air conditioning. The accommodation is surrounded by a large garden. DIET: Breakfast and dinner are provided by an agritourism and students will travel there by project vehicles. Dinner is based on traditional Italian food. Students with special diets or food allergies must communicate directly with program staff to explore the possibility of accommodating their diet at this location.

Academic Credit:
8 Semester Credits Units (equivalent to 12 quarter credit units) through our School of Record -- Iowa Wesleyan University

Contact Information:

CFS Admissions

11209 National Blvd #137

Los Angeles


Phone: (562) 584-0761

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