• Name: Paul McLerran
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Saturday, December 12, 2009

Saving Rome: The Villa delle Vignacce Summer Field School

Can You See Yourself Saving Rome?

By "saving" one means uncovering and preserving its ancient remains, of course. Program Director Dr. Darius A. Arya and Co-Directors Dr. Dora Cirone and Dr. Albert Prieto of the American Institute for Roman Culture Summer Archaeology Field School will be conducting a six week intensive field school in Roman archaeology. The field school will be conducted from June 19, 2010 through July 31, 2010 and offers students a unique combination of 5 weeks of on-site field work and one week of specialized academic instruction by expert archaeologists and institute professors. As the program centers in Rome, there will also be visits to major Roman museums and open-air sites to augment field studies and to provide participants with a broader context of what life was like in Ancient Rome.

Participants will be given the opportunity to develop their archaeological techniques at the ongoing excavation and preservation of an important Roman site, the Villa delle Vignacce (a large Roman villa). In its fifth season of exploration, students will work with professional archaeologists to explore and preserve an important second century AD villa located within Rome’s famed Park of the Aqueducts. During the previous season, the excavation team's efforts were highlighted by the discovery of impressive statuary and marble veneer decoration. Among the finds was a 1.5 long marble statue of Marsyas, discovered resting horizontally on mosaic pavement, still attached to it's marble tree brace. According to a well-known Roman myth, Marsyas challenged Apollo to a music contest, lost, and as punishment was bound to a tree and flailed alive. The statue that was discovered depicts Marsyas in the midst of this punishment.

The 2010 Field School

This summer, field school excavations will continue to uncover more of Ville delle Vignacce’s imperial bath complex, while working to examine and preserve the caldarium, latrine and an apodyterium with marble veneer and glass paste mosaics and vaulting discovered during previous field seasons. As a large and expanding project, the Ville delle Vignacce investigations are proving to be one of the city’s most exciting new excavations and has recently garnered international press attention as one of Ancient Rome’s “At Risk” archaeological sites, threatened as the result of previous neglect and vandalism.

Participants will also explore both the urban development and the material culture of Rome from the 1st- 6th century A.D., investigating in detail many diverse aspects of Ancient Roman civilization. Through the examination of material evidence, so abundant in Lazio, program participants will have ample opportunity to learn from archaeological evidence as well as the many historical monuments and world heritage sites located in the area. Through this field school, participants will:

  • Learn the importance of archaeological record-keeping, including the proper methodology of conducting excavations, archaeological drawing, note-taking, and identifying, organizing and cataloging finds;
  • Become familiar with a variety of Roman artifacts and building techniques and materials, and learn how to "read" art, architecture, and other vestiges of material culture;
  • Learn more about ancient Rome and its archaeological record; and
  • Learn more about historic preservation.

This season's program aims to provide participants with both a chronological and diachronic approach to the study of Roman civilization. In this way, students will gain a comprehensive historical and cultural perspective of Roman civilization, and an understanding of and appreciation for how its cultural values influenced the entire western world up to the present day.


Ville delle Vignacce3


All prospective student participants and volunteers are encouraged to go to the website for additional information about the opportunity and how to apply. Saving Rome couldn't be more fun and exciting!

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