ArchaeoSpain participants will be joining the ongoing archaeological excavation and restoration of the Early Christian and Byzantine settlement of Son Peretó, located in the eastern part of Mallorca, the largest of the Balearic Islands.
Son Peretó, occupied between the 5th and 7th centuries, is one of the most important Byzantine sites on the islands and a notable example of Early Christian architecture. Archaeologists have already uncovered a church, a baptistery with two baptismal basins, and two sectors of adjacent rooms used for housing and funeral rites.
The current project, managed by the Manacor Historical Museum and the University of Barcelona, began in 2005, and since then our goal has been to preserve and restore the ruins uncovered during the 20th-century excavations, especially the foundations of several walls and untouched graves. So far the graves uncovered have been found in excellent condition.
This coming year we will focus on the excavation of new tombs outside the baptistery’s apse and investigating new rooms at the foot of the basilica
ArchaeoSpain at Son Peretó involves restoration, excavation, mapping, and artifact conservation. We are looking for six adventurous people to join a crew working alongside professional archaeologists and anthropologists from the University of Barcelona and the Manacor Museum. Our team will be guided by a local archaeologist who speaks English, Spanish, and the local Catalan.
Participants are expected to take part in all archaeological activities during the program. And while Spanish-speaking ability is not a prerequisite, we will be immersed in both Spanish and Catalan languages daily. Work will be demanding due to the summer heat and the physical nature of the excavation (picks, shovels, trowels, sifting, and wheelbarrows) so participants should be in reasonable physical condition and in good health.
The group will also make time to experience the island away from the shovels and wheelbarrows, either by relaxing at a café bar, our seaside patio, or by visiting several nearby Talaiotic, Roman, Byzantine, Moorish, and Medieval sites of interest. And of course we will frequent the island’s excellent beaches. Our boat trip to the island of Cabrera, a national park and one of the most beautiful spots in the Mediterranean, is just one of the highlights.
In cooperation with students’ universities, academic credit can be obtained (see our FAQ).
Son Peretó was rediscovered in 1912 in a field near the town of Manacor. The first archaeological work uncovered a basilica-shaped church 21 meters long and 14 meters wide, with three naves separated by rows of columns.
Subsequent excavations took place in 1967 that focused on the mosaic floors (now housed in the Manacor Historical Museum), and in the early 1980s.
If you want to learn about excavating skeletons, this is your dig.
The current project aims to excavate and restore Son Peretó’s main structures, in addition to creating an effective chronology of the site, something previous researchers did not do. During our first campaign in 2005, we discovered pottery shards in the foundations of the walls that allow us to date that area of the site to, at the earliest, around the year 500. While the evidence so far suggests the basilica was built during the Byzantine time, other areas of the settlement could have been inhabited by previous cultures.
In 2008, we completed the majority of the restoration work on the main baptismal font. At that time, we removed the basin for restoration and used the opportunity to excavate below. The following year, archaeologists uncovered a washing basin used before church services next to a baptismal font. While this is not uncommon for this type of church, it is the first example found on Mallorca.
We will be living in a traditional house in the village of Son Servera, excavating at Son Peretó in the mornings, and cleaning and classifying artifacts in the afternoons at the Manacor Historical Museum.
All three places are MARKED ON THIS MAP.
HISTORY OF THE BALEARIC ISLANDS
The Balearic Islands fell under Roman rule in 123 BC when General Quintus Caecilus Metellus conquered Mallorca and Menorca. By the end of the 1st century BC, during the reign of the Emperor Augustus, the archipelago formed part of the Tarraconensis, one of the three Roman provinces in Hispania. At that time, the cities of Palma and Pollentia were the most important urban centers on Mallorca.
As the Western Roman Empire fell during the end of the 5th century, the Germanic Vandals invaded the islands, but their presence lasted only a century before the Byzantine Empire, or the Eastern Roman Empire, absorbed Mallorca into its domain in 534. The Byzantines were expanding into the western Mediterranean to try to restore the Western empire, what scholars refer to as the ‘renovatio imperii.’
The Eastern empire ruled Mallorca for nearly two centuries, and Son Peretó is one of the best known settlements for studying that period. Once the Byzantine grip crumbled in Iberia around the year 707, little is known about life on the Balearic Islands, beginning a series of so-called dark centuries.
Only continuing archaeology will shed light on this period.
dates & fees
Program Dates 2017:
May 28 – June 22
Program Fees Include:
• Full Room and Board
• Fieldwork training
• Excursions and other activities
• Transportation to and from airport on first and last days of program
• Medical Insurance
• Application fee
• Administrative costs
Part of your fee will go toward the research project.
Fees DO NOT include airfare.
To reserve a space, you must pay a $300 application fee. (Included in the price of the program).
The remainder of the program cost will be due by April 10th.
Application fees will be refunded if the applicant is not selected.
Rolling application. We accept applications until all spaces are filled.
Cancellation and Refund Policy:
• Before March 1st: All payments, except for $50 from the application fee, are refundable.
• Between March 1st and April 10th: Application fee non-refundable. The balance is refundable.
• After April 10th: All payments are non-refundable unless your application is rejected by the program director.
You should begin making travel arrangements as soon as your place in the group is reserved, and you should complete them upon being notified of your selection. We strongly recommend that participants purchase travel insurance to cover all needs including medical, accident, baggage loss, delays and personal liability. ArchaeoSpain is not a travel provider nor is a registered travel agent. Your travel arrangements to and from Spain are subject to the terms and conditions of your travel agency. In the rare event that the program is cancelled, ArchaeoSpain will refund program fees, but is not responsible for non-refundable airline or other tickets or payments or any similar penalties that may be incurred. It is your responsibility to protect yourself against airline and travel agency cancellation fees.
All ArchaeoSpain participants are covered with an insurance packet that provides medical and surgical treatment and prescription drugs in case of accident or sudden illness. This insurance also provides some compensation for baggage loss or theft. With your program packet we will send you more details regarding this coverage, but you may contact our staff for more information.
European students should bring an EHIC card with them.
Right of Refusal:
ArchaeoSpain reserves the right to refuse an applicant’s selection. This is a rare occurrence and is most likely due to a person’s inability to meet health requirements or in the interest of group compatibility. Once in the field, the program director and ArchaeoSpain reserve the right to send a participant away from the program should that person’s behaviour compromise the safety, research objectives and general performance of the group, or violate Spanish laws, regulations or customs.
ARCHAEOSPAIN GROUP LEADER
We believe that visiting the region’s historical sites is essential to understanding the context of the archaeological work at Son Peretó. Therefore the team will visit several nearby Talayotic, Roman, Byzantine, and Medieval sites of interest.
The capital city of Palma is about 45 minutes from Son Peretó and the group will spend a day there. Plus we’ll join the group leader as he builds human towers called castells, an island tradition. And of course we will frequent the island’s excellent beaches.
The excursions may change depending on the excavation schedule and unforeseen events.
• Roman city of Pollentia. The most important Roman site in Mallorca, next to the Medieval, walled town of Alcudia.
• The capital city of Palma: Gothic quarter, Bellver Castle (14th century), medieval Cathedral
• Capdepera Castle (13th-18th centuries)
• Bronze and Iron Age settlement of S’Hospitalet Vell
• Son Real Talayotic necropolis (7th century BC)
• Closos de Can Gaià (17th century BC)
• Byzantine Santueri Castle
“We learned so much about archaeology: the prep work needed when opening a site, proper labeling of containers, the importance of soil layers and what they may indicate, to name just a few. And cleaning pottery, bones and other finds can be a great way to unwind after a long day, especially with good music.
“The people who would get the most from the program are those with open minds, adventurous spirits, enthusiasm for trying new things, a willingness to work hard and take pride in what you accomplish no matter how small the task. I was fortunate enough to excavate three human burials. That kind of hands-on experience with top-notch professionals is world-class and priceless. I cannot stress enough what an amazing, once-in-a-lifetime experience I had.”
—Erin McKendry, Tampa, Florida
“The whole trip was one giant learning experience. The boat trip to Cabrera island was amazing! Great combination of a fun boat ride, beautiful landscape, interesting archaeology and wonderful people.”
—Emily Kirkegaard, Princeton University
“This was my first dig and even coming in with zero experience I was impressed with the program. It gave me an excellent start in the world of archaeology, and a crash course in how to understand the basics and employ them with precision.”
—Justin Blan, University of Dallas
“I learned that patience is important and also that singing can help pass the time. Seriously though, I learned more about excavating human remains than I had anticipated. And I also learned about the history of Mallorca and how much archaeology is valued here.”
—Veronica Stoneman, Oakville, Ontario
“We saw and experienced many different aspects of archaeology – between the fieldwork the work at the museum and our excursions to other archaeological sites. But mostly, I learned that sifting takes patience. The excursions really added to the experience. I learned so much during them, and I was always looking forward to the next one.”
—Natalie Svajlenka, Colgate University
“I learned that you can never find too much pottery and that sifting is important. And that digging is fun! Toni is great and he made sure we experienced as much as Mallorca has to offer: excursions, culture, food, and people. I’m convinced he knows everyone on the island and I’m grateful he was our trip leader.”
—Leah Damman, University of Melbourne
“I really enjoyed digging and getting a good hands-on experience on an exciting site. Sifting can be tedious, but can’t be beaten when you are finding interesting things such as coins! And Spaniards are geniuses… this siesta business is most appealing.”
—Graham Young, University College Dublin
“Friendly, knowledgeable, professional, kind… I don’t think there are enough adjectives to fully convey the complete ease and acceptance that the staff exuded. Toni especially. He made sure our experience was the absolute best.”
—Maria Eleni Karantzalis, Brooklyn, NY
“One day that sticks out was after a long day of excavation, working at the museum, and seeing an amazing spot on the island. We got home very late and we took a night swim under the moon. Unforgettable.”
—Ethan Ortega, Eastern New Mexico University
“Everything about Mallorca is just amazing. There is not a single place on the island that doesn’t just take your breath away. And the local culture is unique in that it exists as a part of Spain, but at the same time there is so much more to it. I just never wanted to leave.”
—Amanda Fetter, Duke University