On the Expedition
Help save the cultural treasures of a Roman villa, or uncover an Etruscan burial ground, both overlooking the Tyrrhenian Sea along Tuscany's stunning central coast.
Your research team will be assigned one of two sites. You may be excavating the Etruscan coastal necropolis – a burial ground – at the Baratti and Populonia Archaeological Park. The park includes several areas from the ancient Etruscan city of Populonia, the necropolis of San Cerbone. You’ll investigate a portion of the Park stratigraphically, uncovering the remains of an industrial building used between the 4th and 1st century BCE and, underneath, a portion of the Etruscan necropolis. You will be verifying the site’s history, and finding out what human settlement patterns have occurred. It is the most important place to discover and understand the lives of the people who lived in Populonia during this time period.
Or, you may help save a nearly-forgotten treasure trove of ancient Roman culture at the Roman maritime settlement of Poggio del Molino. We need your help filling key gaps in our knowledge of the industrial history and coastal economy of Populonia and its territory, from the early Roman period, to the early Middle Ages and enrich Tuscany’s archaeological heritage.
You’ll join top scientists in the field to document all finds, carry out experimental archaeology, and survey the area surrounding the dig site to collect, clean, and document artefacts such as pottery shards, mosaic, fresco, metal, and coins.
Meals and Accommodations
You’ll stay in simple-but-comfortable apartments in the quiet village of Populonia Station, about 5km/3.2 miles away from both sites. The apartments feature modern furnishings with kitchen facilities and internet access.
Project staff and volunteers will help themselves to breakfast each day. Lunch will be at a local cafe, and dinner each day will be prepared by project staff with cleanup assistance from volunteers. You’ll have many opportunities to enjoy local wines, desserts and other culinary delights as well as traditional cultural events and festivals, depending on the season.
About the Research Area
The Necropolis of San Cerbone lies in front of the sea in an amazing gulf, inside the Archaeological Park of Baratti and Populonia, which includes the lower part of the ancient city with a famous Etruscan necropolis of monumental tomb mounds, as well as acropolis temples and a sacred complex, probably dedicated to Venus. Teams participating in 2013 will be working at this site.
The Poggio del Molino site is located in luxuriant green landscape overlooking the sea where the Mediterranean vegetation is particularly varied in species, form and color. The site is close to the wood-covered Natural Park of Montioni’s Hills as well as the Coastal Park of Sterpaia, which has a rare and highly-prized humid forest, once typical of the landscape of the ancient coast of the Maremma. An important bird and amphibian reserve, Orti Bottagone, is also in close proximity.
Characteristically medieval towns such as Donoratico, Bolgheri, Suvereto, Sassetta, and Massa Marittima dot the area, all of them famous for their traditional seasonal festivals, excellent wine, and succulent food (especially wild game such as boar). Populonia’s central position on the Tuscan coast makes it easy to reach Pisa, Firenze, Siena, Arezzo, Volterra, Pienza, San Gimignano, and Montalcino in a very short time.