The Coriglia/Orvieto Excavation Project

Location: Umbria, Italy

Monday, May 19, 2014 to Saturday, June 28, 2014

Application Deadline: 
Thursday, May 1, 2014

Flyer: brochure_for_2014.pdf

Program Type

Field school


Saint Anselm College and the Parco Archeologico Ambientale dell'Orvietano

Project Director:

David B. George, Saint Anselm College and Claudio Bizzarri, PAAO

Project Description

Our site starts as an Iron Age settlement and, with no interruptions, ends with a Late Antique phase. We have uncovered a number of monumental structures. Among the most striking features are two walls the most recent a retaining wall of Imperial date running more or less East-West for 55 m then turning to the North and apparently running for 70 m. To the south of this wall runs an older wall constructed of tufa and encased with basalt stone. The Imperial wall seems to respect the footprint of an earlier wall dated from ceramics and construction to between the sixth and fourth century B.C.E. All of the ceramic materials found in this context are Etruscan or imported Greek. Behind the tufa wall seems to have been a terrace surmounted by a series of inverted dolium (ziro). We also found evidence for postholes and the collapse of a structure on the terrace. In this part of Etruria, they frequently indicate a sacrifice to gods of the dead. An understanding of their context here requires further excavation. Further to the south of these structures we found a series of large vascae cutting through at least four phases of walls.  Another area of particular interest is the north-west corner of the site. We uncovered an apsidal structure the inside of which was covered with hydraulic cement that we interpreted as either associated with a caldarium or as part of a nymphaeum. We also found more rooms to the north of the apsidal structure but neither abutting nor quite in the current state of preservation adjoining. We have recovered a hypocaust but the association of the various parts to each other is as yet unclear.  To the west of these structures we have found a series of Republican and Imperial floors and walls below which we recovered a wall with an associated Etruscan ritual deposit. We are utilizing a number of archaeometric instruments including portable X-Ray Fluorescence spectrometer (XRF) as well as portable Raman spectrometer.  

In addition to this we have uncovered a pyramidal hypogeum of Archaic Etruscan date beneath the city of Orvieto.  We are working to excavate this structure in association with the Fondazione Faina as well.  It has a stair case carved into the tufa wall that decends along the sides.  It is quite large.  Currently the cavity is 5.5 m x 5.5 m at the bottom of the excavated level.  It is 5.7 m from the lowest point of excavation to the closed-in apex.  To date, we have recovered animal bones, fragments of braziers, bucchero vessels as well as fragments of Attic Red figure pottery.

All volunteers rotate between both sites.

Period(s) of Occupation: Etruscan; Roman Republican; Roman Imperial

Project size: 
25-49 participants

Minimum Length of Stay for Volunteers: 3 weeks

Minimum age: 

Experience required: 

Room and Board Arrangements

The fee covers room and board. The dig house is a 10th monastery, the Convento S. Lorenzo in Vineis, near the excavation. Two to three to a room. Some additional rooms are in a Ex-School just down the road from the Convento.  Meals are taken in the refectory of monastery. They are catered by a near by Taverna. Pictures of the accommodations are up at under Photos.

$610 per week

Academic Credit

Name of institution offering credit: 
Saint Anselm College
Number of credits offered 3 to 6
$1000 for three credits


Contact Information
David B. George
Department of Classics; Saint Anselm College
(603) 641-7069