Marzuolo Archaeological Project

COVID-19 NOTICE: Please be sure to reach out to the project contact to find out the status of their upcoming season. Many projects have cancelled fieldwork for 2020 and the information below may not reflect that.

Location: 58044 Cinigiano GR, Italy

Season: June 20, 2021 to July 18, 2021

Application Deadline: March 1, 2021

Deadline Type: Rolling


Program Type:
Volunteer, Staff Position

RPA Certified:

Cornell University, University of Arkansas, and University of Melbourne

Project Director:
Dr. Astrid Van Oyen (Cornell University), Dr. Rhodora G. Vennarucci (University of Arkansas), and Dr. Gijs Tol (University of Melbourne)

Project Description:

The Marzuolo Archaeological Project (MAP) is an international and multi-institutional fieldwork project at Podere Marzuolo (Cinigiano, GR, Italy). So far excavations at the Roman-period site have yielded high-resolution evidence of terra sigillata pottery production (the Roman empire’s most emblematic tableware), blacksmithing, woodworking, and agricultural production concentrated around a large opus reticulatum masonry complex. MAP uses an integrated approach that includes targeted excavation, spatial and scientific data analyses, 3D modeling, and material studies to investigate the dynamics of this rural multi-crafting community in Southern Tuscany.

MAP’s previous seasons clarified the broad chronological phasing and spatial extent and layout of the site and produced evidence of multi-craft production. One of the most notable outcomes was the discovery of a blacksmith workshop ‘in use’ in the mid-1st c AD at the time it was destroyed in a fire. The 2021 season will continue with an intensive and micro-level investigation of two 5m x 5m trenches in the remaining interior rooms of the northern workshop complex in order to better characterize the different types of production occurring in this zone and to recover evidence of cross-craft interactions. A third 10m x 10m trench will be placed in the SW sector of the site where a magnetometry survey revealed the possibility of a second large workshop complex.

Excavations are scheduled for four weeks (est. June 20 – July 18) with an international team, including undergraduate and graduate students. Students will receive a comprehensive field experience, including hands-on training in excavation strategies and techniques, spatial data recording and analysis, photogrammetry, artifact processing and conservation, and ceramic analysis. Field work will take place in the mornings, with finds being cleaned, processed, and analyzed in the lab in the afternoons.

Program Fee: $2,000 for four weeks

In addition to covering the cost of room and board, the program fee includes shuttling to and from the site, excavation tools and supplies on site and in the lab, and instruction in excavation techniques, recording practices, and artifact processing.

Covid Context: Although we are planning to be in the field this summer, international travel may continue to be disrupted or restricted due to the global pandemic. We will be monitoring the situation closely and will make a final decision on whether it is safe to conduct the field season in April 2021. 

Period(s) of Occupation: Roman Period (1st c BC/AD to 3rd/4th c AD); Medieval Period (12th c AD)

The Marzuolo Archaeological Project (MAP) is an international collaboration focused on the excavation of a Roman multi-craft production site at Podere Marzuolo in Southern Tuscany. MAP’s integrated methodology and holistic approach, aimed at generating micro-level data and analysis, enables a fine-grained reconstruction of a minor center that pushes our understanding of the Roman rural economy and ancient craft production in new directions. MAP is seeking enthusiastic and qualified students to participate in its fifth excavation season. While not a formal field school, students will receive comprehensive training in field excavation strategies and techniques, recording practices, and artifact processing and analysis. Please note that while excavation can be extremely rewarding work, it is also physically demanding. Students will be asked to work long hours in the heat of a Mediterranean summer.

Project Size: 1-24 participants

Minimum Length of Stay for Volunteers: 4 weeks

Minimum Age: 18 years

Experience Required: No prior experience required, although preference will be given to students with previous dig experience or relevant skill sets (e.g. ArcGIS, photogrammetry) and who have completed course work in archaeology, classics, anthropology, ancient history, and/or art history.

Room and Board Arrangements:
Students will be housed in shared rooms in the picturesque Tuscan hilltop town of Cinigiano (GR), Italy, within walking distance of cafes, grocery stores, and restaurants. Wi-Fi is available at a café located in the center of town. Laundromat services are available in a nearby town. The project provides participants with three meals a day, Sunday dinner through Friday lunch. While a light breakfast will be eaten on site, lunches and dinners will be catered and eaten together. Participants must provide their own meals on Saturdays and Sundays. Weekends are free for travel, and students are encouraged to take advantage of the rich historical and cultural sights of Tuscany—regional buses connect Cinigiano to Grosseto, Siena, and Florence.

Contact Information:

Dr. Rhodora Vennarucci

425 Kimpel Hall




United States

Phone: (479) 575-6578

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