Libarna Urban Landscapes Project (LULP) Archaeological Field School

This listing expired on April 30, 2020. Please contact for any updated information.

Location: Arquata Scrivia, IT

Season: June 20, 2020 to July 18, 2020

Application Deadline: March 31, 2020

Deadline Type: Rolling


Program Type:
Field School

RPA Certified:

Boise State University

Project Director:
Katherine V. Huntley, Boise State, and Hannah Friedman

Project Description:

The Libarna Urban Landscapes Project (LULP) Archaeological Field School provides students with an opportunity to contribute to cutting edge archaeological research at the Roman city of Libarna. They will also be part of an immersive cultural experience in northwest Italy. After three years of survey in June 2020 we will begin excavating in a Roman city block near the amphitheater.

Students will be trained in a variety archaeological skills in the field and lab, and introduced to the basics of archaeological thinking and the interpretation of archaeological data. Hands-on work at the site will be supplemented by readings, discussions, and visits to nearby museums and historical sites. Topics covered will include the archaeology of colonialism, urban archaeology, and the material culture of daily life. Students will also be exposed to the history and culture of northern Italy through activities, such as visits to museums and historical sites, attendance at local festivals, and meals serving traditional local cuisine. We welcome anyone who wishes to participate: no experience needed!

Ancient Libarna, located in the region of Piemonte in northwest Italy, is a key site for archaeological research into understanding political, social, and economic change following the region’s incorporation into the expanding Roman empire. Libarna’s desirable location along the major trade route across northern Italy meant it was established as a colony by the Romans in the 2nd century BCE. It then flourished until the 5th century CE. Despite the long history of the site, its myriad socio-cultural changes, and its economic importance to the region, Libarna has yet to be fully investigated.  Although the process of Roman growth and occupation has been studied in central and southern Italy, and at sites such as Pompeii, the far north of Italy with its more variegated and complex Iron Age settlement has been previously neglected in terms of in-depth archaeological research.

An immersive cultural experience

LULP archaeological field school is based in the small town of Arquata Scrivia, which is just about equidistant from Genoa, Milan, and Turin. This allows students the opportunity to live in a small, safe community that has not had much exposure to Americans. At the same time, three world-class, historic cities are an easy, hour-long train ride away.

Arquata Scrivia  boast numerous cafes, shops, restaurants, and gelaterias as well as a picturesque central square and historic buildings. There are also two pharmacies, two grocery stores, a bank, a mobile post office, a laundromat, and a train station. Community members are welcoming and enjoy interacting with our team. Additionally, students will be taken on 6 trips to historical and archaeological sites and museums over the course of the field season, including the Achaeological Museum of Turin, the Fort of Gavi, and Castello della Pietra.  Students will also attend two local festivals in Arquata Scrivia, which will include special dinners of traditional local cuisine. We also have access to the local river– so bring your swimsuits!

Finally students will learn about the culture and dynamics of international research teams. LULP’s team is made up of researchers and professionals from Italy and the UK as well as from across the USA.  LULP also works closely with local and regional heritage organizations, including the Soprintendenza Archeologia Belle Arte e Paesaggio per le Province di Alessandria Asti e Cuneo and Libarna Arteventi Associazione.

Learning Outcomes:

  1. Students will gain competence in best practice archaeological excavation techniques, finds processing and analysis, and interpretation of findings. They will be taught a number of transferable skills, including GIS, data entry, technical drawing, and mapping.
  2. Students will learn to work effectively as part of a team and gain experience in working with an international research team of people from different countries.
  3. Students will understand the history and cultural context of the ancient city of Libarna
  4. Students will understand the importance of ancient sites to modern communities and the importance of the preservation of cultural sites
  5. Students will learn to practice publicly engaged archaeology and history and to learn techniques to disseminate research in an understandable way directly to the public
  6. Students will discover and reflect on the richness and diversity of the past and present culture of northern Italy.
  7. Students will be able to appreciate and argue for the relevance of archaeological research as it applies to issues that concern cultural diversity, ethnic identity, and cross-cultural exchange.

Period(s) of Occupation: Roman Period

Project Size: 1-24 participants

Minimum Length of Stay for Volunteers: full stay required

Minimum Age: 18

Experience Required: none

Room and Board Arrangements:
Accommodation: The town council of Arquata Scrivia kindly provides LULP with modest, but comfortable accommodation. We are given several rooms equipped with cots in the local high school. Facilities also include bathrooms and showers, a pantry and refrigerator, and a dining area.  The high school is centrally located in town and is walking distance to all amenities, including the train station.  Food:  Breakfast: Breakfast is a simple, continental breakfast. The project provides pieces of bread and spreads, fruit, coffee and tea.  Lunch: Monday through Friday a local cook prepares lunch for students. Lunch is made up of a sandwich, fruit, and water and is served on site. Snacks: Participants are provided with two snacks a day during the workweek. Midmorning they are given fruit. Midafternoon they are given a juice box and crackers/biscuits. Dinner: Dinners Monday through Thursday* are prepared for the team by a local restaurant/chef. Dinner is usually pizza or pasta served with salad, bread, and bottled water. *In the past most students choose to leave for weekend trips on Friday after work, so the project made the decision not to provide dinner on Friday nights. Additional Food: Students are permitted to keep personal food and drinks in the pantry. Please inform us of any food requirements such as allergies/vegetarianism before you arrive so that we can prepare accordingly. We will do our very best to accommodate all your needs. Cost: 4,300 dollars for a student with Idaho state residency 4,535 dollars for a student with non-state residency These prices are inclusive of everything but personal spending on weekends and air travel costs.

Academic Credit:
3 credits offered by Boise State University.

Contact Information:

Katherine Huntley

1910 University Drive -MS 1925





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