ROMARCH: 2018 Archaeological Field School: Trasimeno (Italy)


The Trasimeno Archaeology Field School of the Umbra Institute in Perugia provides a curricular concentration in Archaeology and History based in Castiglione del Lago on the shores of Lake Trasimeno between Umbria and Tuscany.

The Excavation Siteimg_5568
The fieldwork takes place on an archaeological area located on the shores of Lake Chiusi, on the Umbrian-Tuscan border just a few miles from Castiglione del Lago and Lake Trasimeno. On fieldwork days, a bus will take students, faculty, and staff to the site for a full-day’s work and research. Lunch will be on-site, and students will return home in the mid-afternoon. Alternating days will be spent in class, at the local museum, or on field trips to nearby sites of interest. This archaeological site was only recently discovered and this project is the first scientific investigation. After a season of survey and two seasons of excavation, findings indicate the presence of a 2nd-c BC-3rd c. AD Roman villa, including a bath complex, tile manufacturing, and a possible Roman road. The Archaeological Field School is a long term project run in cooperation with local institutions. Every summer, students contribute to the uncovering of the site and the display of artifacts in the expanding archaeological museum of Castiglione del Lago.

The Town 

Castiglione del Lago is a charming medieval town in Umbria, located on top of a small peninsula along the southwestern shores of Lake Trasimeno. It featured in a recent article by The Guardian as one of the best lakeside towns in Europe.  A member of the prestigious I Borghi più Belli d’Italia Association (The Most Beautiful Villages in Italy,, Castiglione lies among renowned historical cities, such as Orvieto, Chiusi, Arezzo, Cortona and Perugia. All Field School participants stay in Castiglione during the summer term, only a few miles away from Perugia and easily accessible either by bus or train.

The Academic Program

The Field School consists of two courses, one theoretical and one practical, both held in Castiglione del Lago. The program aims to provide students with a comprehensive overview of up-to-date theories and methods of archaeological research and fieldwork as applied to the civilizations that shaped the history and culture of central Italy. The Field School runs for 6 weeks. Program dates for the summer 2017 will be May 26th (arrival in Italy) to July 7th (departure). 

The course ARFW 350: Archaeological Field Workshop is an archaeology practicum. Students will work alongside professional archaeological staff to gain fundamental skills in archaeological research and apply them to the project.
Course Credit: 3

The course ARCL 340: Archaeology in Central Italy: The Etruscan and Roman Heritageintroduces students to the region’s history and heritage, and provides context for the archaeological research project.
Course Credit: 3

Both courses are non-prerequisite and mandatory. They include fieldtrips to various archaeological and cultural sites, including an overnight trip to Rome. Fieldtrips are designed to enhance student understanding of the territory’s history, while also providing the opportunity to study and visit neighboring archaeological sites and major museum collections.

Click on the host website:

Or visit the project blog, including links to publications:

The Archaeological Workshop

The last three years of campaigns in the territory of Castiglione del Lago have revealed significant archaeological remains; the 2015 survey located a Roman building complex (probably a villa) and a possible Roman road; the 2016 excavations revealed a drainage system for the building, and the 2017 season uncovered part of the bath complex, an apsidal structure, and a wide staircase that perhaps linked different terraces on the site. There are four main categories of research questions: 1) who first built the complex and what was their role in the Roman takeover of this part of ancient Etruria (issues of identity, colonization, imperialism, and power negotiation)? 2) What kind of environmental and human exploitation did the owners carry out to sustain themselves and how were they connected to regional and international economic networks? 3) What effects did this social and economic activity have on a hydrologically-sensitive environment (issues of deforestation, farming, erosion, pollution, species changes, and disease, esp. malaria)? 4) Finally, when and why did the site go out of use, and how did it come to its current state?

Umbra Institute’s mission is to develop our students’ expertise in the full range of methods and processes employed in a complete archaeological project, from research design, to methods of data collection in the field, to the cataloging and display of archaeological remains.

Working with professional archaeologists, our students will have the opportunity to actively participate in each of these activities and learn the necessary skills: from preliminary survey of the territory in order to locate and characterize archaeological sites, to the processing and analysis of the data collected during the campaign. Investigating the archaeological heritage of this landscape, our project provides an instructive example of how different civilizations built upon one another in the same geographic area.

You can read the publication of the 2015 survey here: 


Cooperation With the Local Community:

The Trasimeno Archaeology Field School is run by the Umbra Institute in cooperation with the Archeological Superintendency of Umbria, with the Comune of Castiglione del Lago, DePauw University, and the Archeological Research Company Intrageo.

Life in Castiglione del Lago:

Students will live in modernly furnished studio apartments (2-3 students each) directly on the lake shore, a short walking distance from supermarkets and the archaeological site. All apartments include furnished kitchens. Castiglione has a lively local community which students will get to enjoy on a daily basis.

A renowned summer location, Castiglione is an international venue for relaxing vacations, swimming and sun-bathing on its beaches, or for practicing a variety of sports: cycling, sailing, wind- and kite-surfing, canoeing. The beautiful hills surrounding the area offer opportunities for hiking, mountain-biking, and horseback riding.

Bus and train services directly connect Castiglione to other cities, including Rome and Florence, making it easy to travel over weekends.

Program Fees: $5,975.00

Program Fees Include: Academic program, housing, airport transfers, Resident Director, orientation, use of facilities in Castiglione del Lago, Umbra-sponsored cultural activities, and official transcripts.

Program Fees do NOT Include: Airfare to/from Rome, meals, lab fees (for a total amount of € 250), and personal expenses.

How to Apply:

Deadline for application is April 20th, 2018. To receive additional information or to be contacted by an Umbra representative, please visit:

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