Summer: Rutgers- Archaeological Field School in Italy (Graduate)

Rome, Italy | Vacone, Italy

Program Overview

Term Start Date End Date Application Deadline
Summer 2023- 6 credits
Jul 09, 2023
Aug 06, 2023
Mar 01, 2023
Summer II (3 credits 2 weeks only)
Jul 09, 2023
Jul 22, 2023
Mar 01, 2023
Language(s) of Instruction
Class Standing
Good Academic Standing

Graduate students may choose to earn 6 credits by participating in the 4 week program, or a 3 credit option by participating in just 2 weeks (dates can be arranged individually with Professor Farney)

Program Type

3 or 6

Program Advisor

The Program

Dig up history...

The Rutgers University Archaeological Field School in Italy, in operation since 2012, is an experiential program that endeavors to teach undergraduate and graduate students methods in field-based archaeology, including excavation skills, recording techniques and conservation of materials. Visit the Rutgers University Archaeological Field School website for more information.

The Field School does the work of the Upper Sabina Tiberina Project, an archaeological dig site focused on the excavation and preservation of Roman villas (see below for more on the UST Project). In addition to hands-on field work, students will also attend lectures and receive assignments overseen by Rutgers faculty and faculty from various universities around the world (among them University of Tennessee, Brown University, University of Toronto, University of Edinburgh, Cambridge University, University of Siena).

Program Location

Summer: Archaeological Field School in Italy


Rome (Vacone)

Vacone is a small medieval town (founded in the tenth century CE) located in the Sabina region of Italy. Only a 40-minute train ride from Rome, the town is rarely visited by tourists; however, those who do make the trip are often stunned by its natural beauty and simple charm. The surrounding is comprised of rolling hills, vineyards, and olive groves.


To view the program’s 2020 syllabus, please click here.  Please note this is a sample syllabus, its content is subject to change.

The program is designed to introduce graduate students to a variety of conservation and preservation techniques while helping to significantly advance Rutgers faculty research for the Upper Sabina Tiberina Project. Our team’s ultimate aim is to assess archaeologically a select cluster of Roman villa sites in the Upper Sabina Tiberina area of Italy, focusing on the Republican and early Imperial period (third century BCE to third century CE) in order to investigate regional patterns of rural habitation and agricultural exploitation. The villa sites are situated in an area defined by the Tiber on the east, mountains separating the region from Umbria to the north and the Reatine valley to the East, and the edge of the Farfa river valley to the south (ca. 250 sq. miles).

The project seeks to substantiate archaeologically the point at which the historical characterization of the Sabina in the late Republic and early Empire is perceptible, providing evidence of agricultural intensification and subsequent economic development. To this end, we are excavating one villa site in the area (Vacone), while conducting geophysical surveys at other known villa locations. We also have seminars for students on digital recording (GIS, Photogrammetry, Digital Mapping) and osteology.

There are two options of study for graduate students for this project:

  • 6 credits for 5 weeks on site - dates listed above, OR 
  • 3 credits for 2 weeks - dates by arrangement with Prof. Farney within the 5 week program time frame listed above.

For both options, graduate students can contact Prof. Farney ( to sculpt your experience for yourself. Some can learn excavation for the duration, and others can learn conservation of materials on site, notably our mosaics and painted wall plaster; others can do a combination of these activities. Work will be conducted 5 days a week, for approximately 6 contact hours per day. Students will have free time on the weekends. The entire project is about 5 weeks.

For information about study abroad credit transfer, registration, and transcripts please visit the Academics section of our website.

Important dates:

Graduate students may choose:

6 credits- 4 weeks

3 credits- 2 weeks (first 2 weeks of the program, or last 2 weeks of the program). To be arranged with Professor Farney

Housing and Meals

Participants will live in an agriturismo (a hotel and restaurant on an active farm), called Le Colline, located very close to the Vacone villa site. Le Colline has rooms of two to four people, each with a separate bathroom. The agriturismo has internet access. All meals will be provided at the agriturismo for staff and students from Sunday dinner through Friday lunch as part of the program costs. Students will have to pay for their own meals at other times (Friday dinner through Sunday lunch).

Students will travel to Rome or other nearby locales on the weekends. On Friday afternoon, staff arrange for students to be taken to a nearby train-station (Poggio Mirteto) for a direct train into Rome (ca. 45 minutes); likewise, students are picked up on Sunday late afternoon from Poggio Mirteto back to the agriturismo. The exception will be the last Friday (July 31, 2020) when students will stay until Saturday morning (Aug. 1, 2020), that Friday dinner being included in the program costs.

Financial Information

Program Costs

This is the billed amount that will appear on your Rutgers term bill during the term you study abroad.
NJ Resident non-NJ Resident
Grad 3 credits $5,250 $5,530
Grad 6 credits $6,990 $7,550
Program Cost includes:

•    Tuition 
•    Housing
•    Most Meals
•    Excursions
•    Administrative Fees
•    Emergency Medical Access Abroad

Out-of-Pocket Costs

These are estimated expenses that are not part of your term bill. Students will need to pay for these expenses out-of-pocket.
Airfare $1,200
Meals $100
Books and Classroom Materials $50
Local Transportation $40
Personal Expenses $100
Total $1,490.00
Out-of-Pocket Cost includes:

The above costs are estimations and represent the known out-of-pocket costs students encounter during their time abroad. 
Some of these expenses will be paid for prior to going abroad, such as an airline ticket and visa costs, while some of these expenses, such as meals and local transportation, will be paid in-country as part of your daily expenses. As you plan, you will need to budget these costs and spend wisely throughout your time abroad.


Available to all Rutgers students participating in a Rutgers Global–Study Abroad program. Applications can be found inside of your study abroad program application. For more information, please visit the Scholarship section of our website.

The Field School website has additonal scholarship options as well. 

Student Spotlight

Summer 2019

"The last time I was away from home, or, at least, out of the country for so long was junior year of undergrad when I studied in Edinburgh, Scotland for 6 months. I didn’t think when I’d gotten into Rutgers-Newark for graduate school that I would ever have the opportunity to do something like that again. I was extremely excited when I was informed of the Archaeological Field School in Vacone. The Newark History department is primarily American history-focused, and as someone who loves Ancient History, especially Roman Imperial history, the opportunity to learn valuable archaeological skills and discover something new, in situ, about Roman history was too good to pass up. However, this time presented new and different challenges. While my time in Scotland was structured like a traditional educational program—I lived in an apartment, I went to classes, I had daily homework assignments, and essays and exams—this field school was unlike anything I had ever done before."