Digging Abroad Field School
in Archaeology

Offered by the Soprintendenza BB.CC.AA. of Agrigento in partnership
with Arcadia in Sicily

Program Highlights

Students will become familiar with main features of Roman culture, including material production (as pottery and architecture) and rituals of every-day life.

  • Enjoy the many wonders of Sicily! A unique opportunity to take an active part in the archaeological dig of an ancient Roman villa near Realmonte.
  • A three-credit course offered in summer 2014, for all students interested in archaeology, ancient history, and Mediterranean culture.
  • No previous fieldwork is required.
  • You will engage in data recording, technical drawing and instrumental survey, stratigraphic analysis and restoration of archaeological findings.
  • Program dates are June 28 - July 25, 2014.

Be Part of the Excavation

You will actively take part in an arhcaeological dig. Traveling a few miles outside the town of Realmonte, you'll find the remains of a Roman Villa perched directly on the beach. The site was designed as a holiday resort in the first century AD. As the only such example in Sicily, this Villa Marittima was built with a central courtyard, flanked by columns with a central Impluvium. Some floors are inlaid with marble, others with polychrome mosaics depicting sea creatures and myths. A private dock area remains to be explored. The site has been interpreted as the property of a Roman governmental official.

The academic and fieldwork components of this course comprise field teachniques, recording procedures, archaeological drawing, material culture anaylsis, and stratigraphic analysis. Historical context is provided through lectures and writing assignments. The history of Sicily is very prominently depicted by this area, currently under study by students and scholars from Italy and from around the world. This is a rare opportunity to experience ancient history first-hand.

The three-credit course spans four weeks and is team-taught by Dr. Davide Tanasi of the Arcadia University Mediterranean Center for the Arts and Sciences and Dr. Rosa Maria Motta of Christopher Newport University. Students will utilize two required texts, comprising an introduction to field archaeology and an archaeological history of Sicily during the Roman era. Rituals of every day life, material production, and other aspects of life in Roman Sicily will be explored both in class and through the practical experience of working with the excavation team.

All of this and more are yours to discover. View the full course description.

This region of Sicily, Agrigento, is outstandingly beautiful. Its Greek temples, rolling hills, vineyards, beaches and white marlstone cliffs (the Turkish Steps) are truly spectacular. This program is a unique opportunity for students from all disciplines to undertake an immersive scientific experience and contribute to the world's understanding of Greek and Roman culture in Sicily.


Arcadia in Sicily

Arcadia’s center in Sicily is located in a 17th Century Palazzo on the island of Ortigia, which is the ancient center of the city of Siracusa, a World Heritage Site in southeastern Sicily dating back thousands of years. Arcadia staff in Sicily support students both academically and with co-curricular activities to help students integrate and enjoy the local culture and charismatic people. This is no ordinary study abroad experience. The historical, artistic and cultural influences in Sicily will make your life as a student here exceptional and enthralling.


Summer session: 3 credits

Admission Requirements

GPA Requirements: 2.75 on a 4.0 scale.

You must be in good academic standing and not on disciplinary probation. You need to submit a complete application including a transcript, letter of recommendation, and an advisor's form before your application will be considered.


The estimated program fee for Summer 2014 is $4,870. This includes tuition, accommodation, airport transfers, some meals, daily transport to excavation site, Siracusa weekend excursion, field study, insurance. Please note that students will have to arrange flights to Palermo, which is closer to the archaeological site.

To Apply

Simply complete the online program application form. Your program choice is “Christopher Newport Digging Abroad in Sicily.”

Contact Information

For more information on the program, contact:

Christopher Callas
Program Manager, Arcadia University

Dr. Rosa Maria Motta
Christopher Newport University

Dr. Davide Tanasi
Arcadia in Sicily