The Archaeology of Death in Pompeii. Porta Sarno Necropolis. Italy. 2020

This listing expired on June 15, 2020. Please contact programs@archaeospain for any updated information.

Location: Via dell’Abbondanza, 6, 80045 Pompei NA, Italy

Season: January 1, 2021 to July 1, 2021

Session Dates: First session July 4-24 Second session July 25-August 14

Application Deadline: June 10, 2020

Deadline Type: Rolling


Program Type:
Field School

RPA Certified:

Parco Archeologico di Pompei, Universidad Europea de Valencia, and ArchaeoSpain

Project Director:
Llorenç Alapont (UEV)

Project Description:

This is a practical training program in the archaeology of death.
The Porta Sarno Necropolis in Pompeii presents an exceptional opportunity to investigate the  Roman society from a diferent perspective. The study of the necropolis; the organization of the monuments, tombs, roads, walls, burials and ustrina. It will give us a better understanding on how the funerary space was managed and how it evolved with respect to urbanism, legislation, religion, and the history of the city.

This is a multidisciplinary project that incorporates diverse archaeological sciences to achieve its goals such as funerary archaeology and bio-archaeology, and diferent techniques such as topography, photogrammetry, and virtual reality,

Interpreting and investigating the funerary remains:

1. The human skeletal remains and the treatment of the corpse.
2. The typology, location, and architecture of the funeral spaces and monuments.
3. The offerings, the symbolic objects, and the funerary rites performed by the living for the dead.
4. The memory of the deceased, epigraphy, painting, sculpture and the exterior image of the tomb.
5. Symbolism, religion, superstition, and rituals.
6. The reconstruction of what really happened after the death of the deceased until the moment they were definitively deposited in their grave and how they died and lived.

Seminars and workshops

-Field Archaeology: The documentation and field record.
-Documentation of various funerary contexts: The individual graves, plurals and reductions, secondary graves, and the graves of children.
-The Biological Context: Identification of the human skeleton, recognition of individual bones and teeth, characteristics, size, and shape of parts of human bones. Estimation of age, sex, height, cause of death, pathologies, etc.
-Archaeology of death and burial
-Introduction to Roman cremation: the process, the results, the uses of such studies in archaeology and forensic science, etc.
-Roman funerary archaeology
-Excavation and documentation cremation burials
-Osteological analysis and documentation of remains
-Identification of human bone fragments
-Identification of non-human bones

Period(s) of Occupation: Roman

The 2020 excavation season will focus on two specific areas. The first area is located in front of the walls of the façade of the funeral enclosures (Area J). This area was first brought to light during the preventive excavation campaign of the Porta Sarno Necropolis in 1998. The presence of Samnite levels and specifically one Samnite tomb with goods is mentioned. The project’s objective in this area is to complete the excavation and study the layers and structures partially excavated in order to confirm the Samnite levels of use on the site and to conduct a further investigation that seeks to verify the presence of other Samnite tombs belonging to an anterior burial necropolis. The second and third areas are located north (Area B) and south (Area D) of the enclosure with funerary podium monument. The last year we completed the excavation and study of the partially excavated layers and structures, confirming the presence of cremations and locating and excavating them inside the funerary enclosure. By excavating them in this way, we will document the organization of the funerary enclosure and verify the stratigraphic sequence in order to prove the existence of multiple levels of use and occupation in the necropolis.

Project Size: 1-24 participants

Minimum Length of Stay for Volunteers: 3 weeks

Minimum Age: 18

Experience Required: No experience required

Room and Board Arrangements:
Price 3,250$ All participants will be staying at the residence of Complesso Parrocchiale di Marra (84, Via Marra - 80041 Boscoreale (NA) (coord.40º46’55.70”N - 14º32’49.48”E) 15 minutes from Pompeii by car. The project, as well as providing this accommodation, will also provide beds and pillows. Participants are asked to bring their own bedding (eg sleeping bag, sheets, pillow cases) and towels. Rooms are single sex and shared between 3 to 6 people. The accommodation has an internet connection. It’s a fenced-in residence with very nice facilities, a full kitchen, washing machine, common room, etc. You’ll need to bring your own sheet set, pillowcase, and towel. We also recommend that you bring a blanket or sleeping bag in case it gets chilly at night. The residence is located 150 meters from the restaurant where we eat dinner as well as cafes, bars, ice cream shops, and terraces. It's also very close to the shop where our lunch and food for Pompeii is prepared. It's close to the metro stop (circumvesuviana de cangiani) which during free time will allow you to easily and independently get around Pompeii, Sorrento, and Naples. Food The project will provide breakfast, break, lunch and dinner all week, with the exception of the break and lunch on the trip day (normally Saturday). Please let us know in the document Personal details of any dietary requirements, so that we may inform the restaurant in advance. The working day will be from 8:00- 17:00, with a half-hour break in the morning and an hour and half lunch break. ​Meals include a starter, main course, dessert, wine and coffee (beer is not included). Dinner will be at 9:00pm each evening.

Academic Credit:
Upon request to your university

Contact Information:

Catalina Urquijo

41 Crossroads Plaza, Suite 133

West Hartford



United States


Phone: +34 687754256 and +1 860 881 2227

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