Nadin-Gradina Archaeological Project (Croatia)

This listing expired on March 1, 2018. Please contact for any updated information.

Location: Zadar, HR

Season: May 12, 2018 to June 10, 2018

Application Deadline: January 29, 2018

Deadline Type: Rolling


Program Type:
Field school

RPA Certified:

University of Maine

Project Director:
Gregory Zaro, University of Maine

Project Description:

In general, urbanism along Croatia’s Adriatic coast is not well understood, including incipient urbanization in the Iron Age, the impact of colonization (Roman, Venetian, or Ottoman) on existing settlements and landscapes, or changing urban-ecological relationships over the past 3,000 years. Even the Ravni Kotari region in the outskirts of Zadar, arguably the most urbanized region along the entire coast in antiquity, has yet to receive significant archaeological attention regarding the process of urban growth and decline, or its articulation with and impact on local and regional landscape change. The question of human agency, landscape change, and urbanization is an important one in the context of the city of Zadar and its hinterland, which has remained an important cultural and economic center along the eastern Adriatic coast for the past 3,000 years, and it continues to experience rapid growth and expansion along with a booming tourist market in the 21st century.

This project explores the process of urbanization and landscape change at the Nadin-Gradina archaeological site, a moderately sized secondary urban center in the Ravni Kotari region of Zadar’s hinterland. Urbanization refers to the process of a settlement performing an increasingly diverse set of functions (e.g., political, economic, religious) in the context of a wider hinterland, but also resulting in generally higher populations in more nucleated centers, greater concentration of goods and services, greater economic specialization, increasing social stratification, a wider range of architectural forms (monumental and vernacular), the development of long-distance trading partners with increased reliance on non-local resources, and a greater impact on local and regional landscape change. Importantly, each of these variables leaves archaeological indicators that can be traced through time. The project focuses on such indicators at Nadin-Gradina as a measure of wider urbanization and landscape change.

The 30-day archaeological field school will be based in the Croatian port city of Zadar and centered on the nearby archaeological site of Nadin-Gradina. Students will gain practical experience in standard archaeological methods, as well as training in the scientific application of an archaeological research design to contemporary issues in archaeology. The course offers the added element of a truly international experience, where students work in the field alongside Croatian archaeology students from the University of Zadar, live and culturally interact within contemporary Croatian cities and towns, and visit a number of archaeological sites and Mediterranean landscapes relevant to the project research design.

Students will spend most of the time in the 3,000-year-old city of Zadar with daily commute to the archaeological site of Nadin-Gradina (25 minute ride). However, students will also take Sunday visits to the archaeological sites of Varvaria and Asseria, and to the neighboring island of Ugljan for a walk through a Mediterranean island landscape. The course concludes with a two-day excursion to the city of Split, with visits to the archaeological site of Salona (the former Roman capital of Dalmatia) and the palace of the late 3rd century CE Roman Emperor Diocletian, around which the medieval village of Split formed. During the trip, students will receive short lectures about the principles of archaeological method and theory, research design, ancient cities, and the cultural history of the eastern Adriatic. 

Period(s) of Occupation: Iron Age, Roman (Classical and Late Antiquity), Medieval, Venetian/Ottoman

This project explores the evolution of an urban environment, from Iron Age to the early modern era, with the goal of articulating urbanization, landscape change, and climate from 3,000 years ago to present.

Project Size: 1-24 participants

Minimum Age: 18

Room and Board Arrangements:
Omladinski Hostel / Obala Kneza Trpimira 76 / Zadar, Croatia (May 13-June 7). Students will reside at the Omladinski Hostel (Youth Hostel), situated along the waterfront near one of Zadar’s many marinas. The hostel is located about 2 miles from the Zadar old town – a 30-45 minute walk along the waterfront (depending upon your speed). You can also take a 10-minute bus ride to the old town for about $2.40, round trip. There are also a number of café’s, parks, beaches, and restaurants near the hostel. Nikolla Hostel / Ante Kovačića 6 / Split, Croatia (June 7-June 9). Nikolla Hostel is located in the heart of Split, within minutes of Diocletian’s palace (a UNESCO World Heritage Site), a seaside promenade, and many cafés, shops, and restaurants. It is also a short walk to a café terrace on a hillside with sweeping views of Split and the Adriatic Sea. Best Western Hotel Stella / Maslenička 1 / Zagreb, Croatia (June 9-June 10). Hotel is situated near the Zagreb airport for easy commute the following morning. Cost: Program fee is $2,375 and covers all costs while in Croatia (does not include airfare, tuition, or travel health insurance)

Academic Credit:
3 credits credits offered by University of Maine. Tuition is .

Contact Information:

Gregory Zaro

5773 South Stevens Hall, University of Maine




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