Rutgers University Archaeological Field School in Italy (Upper Sabina Tiberina Project)

Location: Vacone, RI, IT

Season: July 14, 2019 to August 11, 2019

Application Deadline: March 15, 2019

Deadline Type: Rolling


Program Type:
Field school

RPA Certified:

Rutgers University

Project Director:
Gary D. Farney (Rutgers University); Dylan Bloy (University of Tennessee); Candace Rice (University of Alberta); Tyler Franconi (University of Alberta)

Project Description:

The Rutgers University Archaeological Field School in Italy, in operation since 2012, is a Rutgers Study Abroad summer program that endeavors to teach undergraduate and graduate students archaeological field skills and methods. Among those taught are: excavation techniques; site recording and management skills; the handling, processing and preserving of site materials, such as mosaics, painted wall plaster, pottery, human remains and other small finds; and field surveying skills through the operation of a total station. Student participants will acquire this training on site in Italy under the supervision of academic and professional archaeologists. In addition to fieldwork, there will also be lectures and readings about archaeological methods, and historical and anthropological topics related to the project currently being pursued by the field school, the Upper Sabina Tiberina Project (for details of this project, see: for the field school and for the project goals and accomplishments). The field school operates in the Tiber River Valley in the northwestern part of the province of Lazio, just about 40 miles upriver from Rome. Participants live and work near the small village of Vacone, excavating a Roman villa site with evidence of Republican, Imperial and post-antique occupation and activity.

Enrollment in the Rutgers Field School is not limited to Rutgers University students, and applicants from other institutions of higher learning are encouraged to apply. Although applicants with backgrounds in archaeology, anthropology, classics, history, and/or; Italian studies are desired, no previous experience or prerequisites are necessary, nor is any particular major or background. Moreover, no knowledge of Italian language is required.

Undergraduate students will receive six course-credits from Rutgers Study Abroad that may be counted toward a variety of departments and majors, including Classical Studies, History, Anthropology, and Art History. For instance, the Department of Anthropology at Rutgers-New Brunswick will accept all six credits for their Anthropology major and minor. Please consult Prof. Farney ( if you have any questions about how these credits might apply to your situation.

Graduate students can earn either six or three course credits, depending on the track they wish to take. They should consult their departments to see how they will treat the credits for any degree they are pursuing. For six credits, they can participate in the undergraduate regimen in the first half of the course (as noted above), and in the second half in a graduate student only course on site and materials conservation. For the three credits option, graduate students participate only in the conservation course, unless an exception is requested and granted. This intensive conservation course will build on previous operations and interventions conducted by the Italian Archaeological Service at the site of Vacone. These interventions were “rescue” restorations to preserve the standing architectural remains; during the course of this restoration, floor mosaics were discovered some of which were conserved and removed. The Rutgers Field School has uncovered many more mosaic floors, and we anticipate finding a significant number in the future in addition to these. Some of the mosaics found in previous years and the ones we will find in the coming year will need to be restored, and in situ stretches and fragments of painted wall plaster will also need conservation. 

Period(s) of Occupation: Occupation period of villa: ca. 100 BCE to 200 CE; post-occupation burials: ca. 600 to 800 CE

Roman excavation; Excavation in Italy; Republican Roman habitation; Roman villa; Field School in Italy for Credit

Project Size: 25-49 participants

Minimum Length of Stay for Volunteers: For duration of school, but 3 credit grad students and undergrad interns can negotiate their time within that period with Prof. Farney (

Minimum Age: 18

Experience Required: None

Room and Board Arrangements:
http://fieldschool.rutgers.eduField school participants will live in an agriturismo (a kind of country hotel and restaurant), called Le Colline (, located less than 2 km from the Vacone villa site. Le Colline has rooms of three to four people, each with a separate bathroom. The agriturismo has internet access and will provide us with a means to do laundry. All meals will be provided at the agriturismo for staff and students Sunday dinner through Friday lunch as part of the program costs. Students will have to pay for their own meals at other times (Friday dinner through Sunday lunch), from the agriturismo or elsewhere. Students will also be able to visit the town of Vacone and other local towns regularly. Students are encouraged to travel to Rome or other nearby locales on most weekends. On Friday afternoon, staff will drive students to a nearby train-station (Poggio Mirteto) for a direct train into Rome (ca. 45 minutes); likewise, they will pick up returning students on Sunday late afternoon. Cost: The costs for the undergraduate participants are yet to be set for 2019. They should be ca. $5000 for NJ residents and $5500 for out-of-state residents. The costs for the graduate participants in the six credit program should be ca. $6000 for NJ residents and ca. $6500 for out-of-state residents. The costs for the graduate participants in the three credit program should be ca. $2500 for NJ residents and $3000 for out-of-state residents.

Academic Credit:
6 or 3 credits offered by Rutgers University. Tuition is .

Contact Information:

Gary D. Farney

175 University Ave., Dept. of History, Conklin Hall





Phone: 973.353.3897

Fax: 973.353.1193

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