Location: Lisbon, Portugal
Our commitment is to promote Archaeology in its different aspects of research, training, and conservation, with a basic and clear purpose: to involve anyone from around the world who wishes to gain access to this scientific field. Sanisera is an international archaeological organization whose main aim is that of promoting and developing research , so that our current and future generations can be enriched by culture and education in this field.
This program, which has been scheduled by the Sanisera Field School, is divided in two main parts. In the first part of the course students will gain experience in archaeological fieldwork by excavating in the Ancient Roman city of Sanisera. This site is located in the Mediterranean island of Menorca. During the second part, students will travel from Lisbon to Seville discovering the most important Roman cities from Portugal and Spain, leaded by an expert on Roman archaeology.
Part 1. The archaeological fieldwork in Sanisera (Menorca, Spain)
Fieldwork will focus on the excavation of an urban area where a monastery has been found. The monastery, which dates from the 5th and 6th centuries AD, includes an Early Christian basilica. The Harris system will be followed in order to systematically dig all the sequence the site has.
In the laboratory students will learn to classify all the artifacts found on site, including Roman pottery, numismatics and faunal remains.
Time dedicated to this part of the program: 70 %.
Part 2. Travel from Lisbon to Seville discovering the most important Roman cities from Portugal and Spain.
For the second part of the course, the Field Program has scheduled an archaeological tour travelling from Lisbon, capital of Portugal and considered one of the most charming cities in Europe. We will cross the border to reach Seville in Spain as our final destination. Seville preserve the largest antique center of Spain and one of the three largest in Europe alongside with Venice and Genoa. This cultural capital receives national and international tourism, and is the third most visited city in Spain after Madrid and Barcelona. Among its most representative monuments are the Cathedral, the Giralda, the Alcázar, the Archive of the Indies and the Torre del Oro, the first three being declared a World Heritage Site by UNESCO in 1987.
In the tour, we will discover four Roman cities: Conimbriga y Evora in Portugal, and Merida and Italica in Spain.
This tour will have a duration of five days and explanations will be in English.
In Conimbriga, we will visit the Roman ruins one of the largest Roman settlements in Portugal with some of the earliest layers dating back to the first Iron Age in the 9th Century B.C. The Romans arrived in the 2nd century A.D., and the city walls are largely intact as well as the mosaic floors and foundations of many houses and public buildings. In the public baths, you can view the network of stone heating ducts beneath the now-missing floors.
The Romans conquered Evora in 57 BC and expanded it into a walled town. Vestiges from this period (city walls and ruins of Roman baths) still remain. Julius Caesar called it Liberalitas Julia (Julian generosity). The city grew in importance because it lay at the junction of several important routes. During his travels through Gaul and Lusitania, Pliny the Elder also visited this town and mentioned it in his book Naturalis Historia as Ebora Cerealis, because of its many surrounding wheat fields. In those days, Évora became a flourishing city. Its high rank among municipalities in Roman Hispania is clearly shown by many inscriptions and coins. The monumental Corinthian temple in the centre of the town dates from the first century and was probably erected in honour of Emperor Augustus. In the fourth century, the town had already a bishop, named Quintianus. The city's historic legacy was officially recognized in 1986, when UNESCO declared Evora a World Heritage Site.
Merida was founded in the year 25 BC by the army of Augustus. The city became the capital of Lusitania province, and one of the most important cities in the Roman Empire. Merida preserves the most important ancient roman monument than any other city in Spain. We will visit the theater, el amphitheater, the Temple of Diana, the National Museum of Roman Art and the roman villa was called the House of the Mithraeum. This is another house built at the end of the 1st century and the beginning of the 2nd century AC outside the city walls, without any restrictions to its growth. Its size and the decoration of some of its rooms undoubtedly show that its owners were people of Hellenistic culture who were important within the society of this city.
Italica was the birthplace of the Roman emperor Trajan. Hadrian was generous to his settled town, which he made a colony; he added temples, including a Trajaneum venerating Trajan, and rebuilt public buildings. Italica’s amphitheater seated 25,000 spectators—half as many as the Flavian Amphitheatre in Rome— and was the third largest in the Roman Empire. The city's Roman population at the time is estimated to have been only 8000. The games and theatrical performances funded by the local aristocracy, who filled the positions of magistrate, were a means of establishing status: the size of the amphitheater shows that the local elite was maintaining status that extended far beyond Italica itself.
Time dedicated to this part of the program: 30%.
If you have never excavated as a volunteer in a field school and are interested in excavating in a Roman city as well as visiting the most important Roman cities of Portugal and Spain, this is the best option for you. In addition, in this archaeological tour you can discover the charming of Lisbon and the architecture, people and flamenco of Seville.
This course will introduce you into the Roman world, first digging and later on visiting the best examples of how a Roman city was, with its public buildings, temples and theatres.
This program is designed for students interested in focusing their studies in the classical world of Rome, delving into its history and archeology.
You will learn to excavate and classify archaeological material found. You will identify different types of Roman pottery, amphorae, coins and other Roman archaeological material. After learning this in Sanisera, you will have a better understanding when you visit four roman cities of the Roman Empire, archaeological museums and the European cities Lisbon and Seville.
Previous knowledge or experience in archaeology or computer systems is not required.
Field School life & language
This field school program, with a length of 20 days, will start in Spain. Students will meet in Menorca during the first day. Next and during the following days they will focus on the excavation in the ancient city of Sanisera, where they will work for 11 days. Students will receive an intensive introduction on basic aspects of field excavation techniques following the Harris Matrix. The fieldwork runs 7 hours per day, with time dedicated to excavation as well as laboratory work focused on Roman pottery. Courses are given in both English and Spanish.
On the 14th day of the course participants will fly to Lisbon, where they will stay for 5 days. Once students finish the archaeological tour in Portugal, they will have one day off in order to enjoy their free time. On the 19th day of the course students will fly back to Menorca, from where they will go back home.
The trip schedule will be:
1er day: Flight Menorca – Lisbon. 2nd day: Conimbriga. 3rd day: Evora, Merida. 4th day: Italica, Sevilla. 5th day: Flight Lisbon – Menorca.
At the end of the Field Program, students will receive a certificate of participation stating the hours and activities of the course. Participants that perform exceedingly well in the course may receive a letter of recommendation from our organization upon request.
Sessions & Cost
For 2014: 5 sessions, 20 days each
Session #1 August 8th - August 27th $ 2,950
Session #2 August 30th - September 18th $ 2,950
Session #3 September 20th - October 9th $ 2,850
Session #4 October 12th - October 31th $ 2,850
Session #5 November 3rd - November 22th $ 2,850
The course is limited to 6 participants per session. Reservations are only effective when payment of the registration fee is received. If for any reason the course is cancelled, payment is returned according to the field school refund policy.
Period(s) of Occupation: Classical Archaeology
Minimum Length of Stay for Volunteers: 20 days
Room and Board Arrangements
Academic CreditNumber of credits offered: none