please note that due to COVID-19 the 2020 excavation was cancelled. We are leaving this information in place as an example until we feel able to update it with dates for the 2021 excavation season.
travel to and from the site
The 2020 excavation season is a six-week project that will extend from May 17th – June 26th. Volunteer archaeologists should plan to arrive in Orvieto on Sunday, May 17th. The first few days will consist of orientation sessions and preparation of the site for our excavation. The minimum stay is three weeks. Arrangement for a different arrival date should be cleared with the director.
The project will coordinate getting volunteers to the dig house. For those arriving on Sunday, May 17th, an airport van service from the Rome Fiumicino airport to Orvieto is available. The cost of this dig arranged travel averages $35. The van will transport you directly from the airport to the dig house. If you would rather travel to Orvieto on your own by train, we will pick you up at the Orvieto train station. At the end of the project, because participants have so many different travel plans, participants will need to plan their own transportation from Orvieto to Rome, Fiumicino airport, or to other destinations. We will assist in taking people to the train station in Orvieto.
Participants will stay at the S. Lorenzo in Vineis Convent a 15th century monastery, located across a small valley, a 30 minute walk or 5 minute bus ride, from Orvieto. The residence has bathrooms, showers, a laundry machine, and drying racks.
The excavations will cease on June 26th. Please note that the night of June 26th (Friday) will be the last night that participants for our project may stay at the convent. All participants with the project must depart their rooms by June 27th (Saturday).
If you do not have a passport, you should immediately apply for one. You cannot leave the USA without a passport. Applications are available at post offices. You will need a copy of your birth certificate, two photos, and to pay a fee for the Passport. The information about the types of photos is described in the application form that you obtain at the Post Office. You can have photos made at copy shops or, if you wish, photos can be taken at the Post Office for a fee. Passports are good for a ten-year period.
health and accident insurance
If the need arises, excellent medical facilities are available near the excavation site. It is extremely rare that archaeologists are ever injured. However, before departure, each volunteer must provide proof of health and accident insurance coverage. DO NOT FORGET your insurance card. It is also possible to purchase travel insurance.
optional course credit
For an additional fee, students may earn 4 or 8 course credit hours in the archaeological field school by registering through the Saint Anselm College Summer School. Letter grades will be assigned for CL280 Archaeological Fieldwork. Email Prof. Rulman if you are interested.
In the month of May participants should expect the mornings to be cool with occasional showers. In June the weather becomes warmer and the sun shines brightly. Because we will be outside most of the day, there are certain safety precautions one should take. Safety in the field is one of our greatest concerns and you will hear the staff constantly reminding you to “drink water” and “wear your hat”. Upon acceptance a list of suggested items for travel and excavations will be provided to all participants upon.
The physical labor at the project will vary, but you can expect physical demands due to the long day in the field. All participants will be excavating with a variety of hand tools and there will be moderately heavy lifting (movement of soil), as at any archaeological site. The program is rewarding but all who participate should possess enthusiasm and stamina to profit from six weeks of hard work.
Our excavation project will be very active. However, ample “free time” will be given during the week in order for participants to do laundry (which is on site) or other tasks. We will try to keep weekends free so that participants may explore Italy on their own. If any one wishes to travel to Rome or Florence, access to those cities is very easy by train. Trains travel frequently between Orvieto and Rome (1 hour by train), and between Orvieto and Florence (1.5 hours by train.)
Participants should plan to bring extra money to cover any incidental expenses for weekend travel and expenses for gifts or snacks that they may want.
Monday through Friday our wake-up call for fieldwork or lab is 7:00 AM. Breakfast ends at 7:20 AM. We leave for the sites at 7:30 AM. Work is scheduled from 8:00 AM to 5:30 PM. Lunch will be from 12:00 to 1:00 PM "in the field." Please be aware that all participants are expected to assist in a rotational schedule of daily chores such as cleaning up after meals.
The day will be spent either digging under the Umbrian sun at Coriglia or in the lab. Participants will learn how to use basic archaeological tools: trowels, shovels, pick axes and wheelbarrows. In the Lab, participants will receive hands-on instruction in cleaning and identifying artifacts as well as in sorting, documenting, and cataloging the finds.
At 7:00 PM, the group will meet for dinner in the Convent cloister. Dinner and lectures are mandatory. The dinner menu is “set” but vegetarian meals will be available on request.
Excavations normally extend from Monday through Friday. However, if a regular workday is lost due to rain, work may occasionally continue through part of Saturday.
While digging up exciting finds occupies the week, we try to keep weekends free so that participants can explore Italy. Orvieto's central location allows for easy access to most points of interest in Italy; it is an hour from Rome, an hour and a half to Florence by train.