Summer School in Classical Archaeology

Previous Editions

Did we actually find out something in last year’s edition? Sure we did, and here you can learn about that and see what you can expect from the 2018 Summer School. Download the 2017 edition report of the Digging Vada Summer School: Report_Vada_2017_Eng (qui potete scaricare la versione italiana del report 2017:  Report_Vada_2017_ Ita.)

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Digging the Roman age buildings of the Vada Volaterrana harbour…


Plan of the buildings currently under excavation.

A recent GPR (Ground Penetrating Radar) survey allowed us to identify in the Southern sector of the harbour settlement, the structures of one or more new buildings, whose excavation started in 2013. Starting from 2016, drone’s survey are run at the end of the excavation, in order to get a detailed plan of the newly discovered buildings.

The most ancient structures, dating to the Ist cent. AD, are located in the NW sector fo the area. Here a backery and its round oven (rooms 1-2) were dug out. Later, likely between the end of the Ist and the starting of the IInd cent. AD, a large rectangular building with many rooms (rooms 1-4, 6, 7) and a courtyard (room 5) was added. At the starting of the IIIrd cent. AD more room (rooms 8-10), maybe part of a small sanctuary, were added at the Eastern side of the second building. They faced an open courtyard (n. 11).


The 2017 edition: the bakery and the metals workshop

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The excavation of the bakery.

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The pottery lab: classifying and studying Roman amphor














In 2017 the excavation focused on some rooms and in the Late Antiquity cemetery. The excavation of the bakery, started in 2015, was finished. 2017 goal was the dating of end of bread production at the end of the Ist cent. AD.

Between the VIth and the VIIth cent AD the large rectangular room 9, East of the bakery, housed a workshop for the smelting of metals. On the floor we have been able to find the bottom of a small round oven, used both for fusing broken metal tools and for the smelting of new ones. Se, we can say this is an example of a Roman Age recycling activity!


The metals workshop, with the black coloured round spot of the kiln for the smelting of bronze artifacts.


The Eastern new sector of the building currently under excavation: the metal workshop (rooms 8 and 9) and the”marble hall” (room 10), to be dug in 2018. Down on the left the treshold of Room 9.


The 2017 edition: the necropolis


Students digging a female tomb during the 2016 season

As we have already discovered in the recent years, during the Vth-VIth cent. AD – the building been already abandoned – the area and the structures were used as a cemetery – a common practice in Late Antiquity.

Despite containing no grave-goods, the burials allow us to get a privileged insight into the local community life. Tunisian amphoras for olive-oil or fish sauces were often used as coffins for burying children , while simple graves dug in the soil were used for adults.

During the 2017 excavation, two tombs were dug out. A group of roof-tiles was protecting the body of a man. His skull was located in the Western sector of the tomb, alike in the other tombs we found. The age’s range is 35-45 years old.

The amphora tomb of a child, less than 3-4 years old, was dug out as well. Empty amphorae – like the big Tunisian one of our tomb – were in fact often used as coffins for buring children or young women.

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The 2017 excavation of a male tomb and a child’s amphora tomb.


The Vada Volaterrana Anthropology Lab – started in 2015 – begun studying these remains during the Summer school. Looking for the results? So, go for the full 2017 report (and those of the previous campaigns) here – the relevant download link is down on this page – and apply for the 2018 campaign!

Download full report

The full report of the 2017 edition of the Digging Vada Summer School can be downloaded in PDF format from here: Report_Vada_2017_Eng

Qui potete scaricare la versione italiana del report: Report_Vada_2017_ Ita.

The full report of the 2016 edition of the Digging Vada Summer School can be downloaded in PDF format from here: report_vada_volaterrana_harbour_project_2016

The full report of the 2015 edition of the Digging Vada Summer School can be downloaded in PDF format from here: Summer_School_Report_2015

The full report of the 2014 edition of the Digging Vada Summer School can be downloaded in PDF format from here: Summer School 2014 Report

The full report of the 2013 edition of the Digging Vada Summer School can be downloaded in PDF format from here: Summer_School_2013_Report


Going on investigating: the 2017 campaign…

During the 2018 Vada Volaterrana Harbour Project campaign, we’ll go on both field survey and excavation.

On-site we’ll focus on the following activities:

  • digging the so-called “marble hall” (room 10), in order to understand their full stratigraphical sequence and the final aim they were built for,
  • discovering of more tombs, in order to identify the cemetery’s extension.