The Field School
You can view our 2019 Student Manual here.
The Libarna Urban Landscapes Project (LULP) Archaeological Field School provides students with an opportunity to contribute to cutting edge archaeological research at the Roman city of Libarna. They will also be part of an immersive cultural experience in a northwest Italy.
Students will be trained in a variety of archaeological skills in the field and lab, and introduced to the basics of archaeological thinking and the interpretation of archaeological data. Hands-on work at the site will be supplemented by readings, discussions, and visits to nearby museums and historical sites. Topics covered will include the archaeology of colonialism, urban archaeology, and the material culture of daily life. Students will also be exposed to the history and culture of northern Italy through activities such as visits to museums and historical sites every weekend, attendance at local festivals, and meals serving traditional local cuisine.
Ancient Libarna, located in the region of Piemonte in northwest Italy, is a key site for archaeological research into understanding political, social, and economic change following the region’s incorporation into the expanding Roman empire. Libarna’s desirable location along the major trade route across northern Italy meant it was established as a colony by the Romans in the 2nd century BCE. It then flourished until the 5th century BCE. Despite the long history of the site, its myriad of socio-cultural changes, and its economic importance to the region, Libarna has yet to be fully investigated. Although the process of Roman growth and occupation has been studied in central and southern Italy, and at sites such as Pompeii, the far north of Italy with its more variegated and complex Iron Age settlement has been previously neglected in terms of in-depth archaeological research.
Finally, students will learn about the culture and dynamics of international research teams. LULP’s team is made up of research and professionals from Italy and the UK as well as from across the USA. LULP also works closely with local and regional heritage organisations, including the Soprintendenza (the governmental archaeological department) and the Libarna Arteventi Associazione, a local community group that promotes the site.
An Immersive Cultural Experience
LULP archaeological field school is based in the small town of Arquata Scrivia, which is just about equidistant from Genoa, Milan, and Turin. This allows students the opportunity to live in a small, safe community that has not had much exposure to Americans, but at the same time, three world-class historic cities are an easy, hour-long train ride away.
Arquata Scrivia boasts numerous cafes, shops, restaurants, and gelaterias, as well as a picturesque central square and historic buildings. There are also two pharmacies, two grocery stores, a bank, a post office, a laundromat and a train station. Community members are welcoming and enjoy interacting with our team. Additionally, students will be taken on 6 trips to historical and archaeological sites and museums over the course of the field season, including the archaeological museums in Turin and Genoa, the Fort of Gavi, and Castello della Pietra. Students will also attend two local festivals in Arquata Scrivia, which will include special dinners of traditional local cuisine. We also have access to the local river – so bring your swimsuits.
- Students will gain competence in best practice archaeological excavation techniques, finds processing and analysis, and interpretation of findings. You will be taught a number of transferable skills, including GIS, data entry, technical drawing, and mapping.
- Students will learn to work effectively as part of a team and gain experience in working with an international research team with people from different countries.
- Students will understand the history and cultural context of the ancient city of Libarna.
- Students will understand the importance of ancient sites to modern communities and the importance of the preservation of cultural sites.
- Students will learn to practice publicly engaged archaeology and history and to learn techniques to disseminate research in an understandable way directly to the public.
- Students will discover and reflect on the richness and diversity of the past and present culture of northern Italy.
- Students will be able to appreciate and argue for the relevance of archaeological research as it applies to issues that concern cultural diversity, ethnic identity, and cross-cultural exchange.
No previous experience archaeological experience is required, just a willingness to learn and participate fully. Please be aware that excavation is a very physical task and you will be working long hours in the sun, so a good level of general fitness is advised.