The ArchaeoSpain program at Pollentia, celebrates its 14th year in 2017. Those who join us at the archaeological excavation of Pollentia on the island of Mallorca will work as field crew on the ancient settlement of the city alongside professional archaeologists and university students. We will focus on continuing excavation of the Forum, the heart of any Roman city. Students will contribute to the research that aims to piece together the story of how Roman culture developed across the Mediterranean and specifically in the Balearic Islands.
At the Roman city of Pollentia you will have a complete immersion in the archaeological process. We will tell you about the different methods in surveying, you will be learning the methods and techniques of an archaeological excavation, using tools but also working with stratigraphy, writing down your own excavation diary. Collecting, cleaning and classifying different artefacts will be part of your daily work as well as drawing structures and archaeological materials.
While we do not require that participants speak Spanish, they will be immersed in the language daily. Thus ArchaeoSpain hopes that you take advantage of this situation to learn some basics or improve your language skills. Just imagine, you could leave Spain knowing how to say “pass that shovel” in Spanish and Catalan!
The work, due to the summer heat and the physical nature of the excavation, will be demanding. Those that wish to join should be in reasonable physical condition and in good health.
ArchaeoSpain will also make time to experience Spain away from the shovels and picks by relaxing on the island’s beaches, sitting at a café, or touring several nearby prehistoric, Roman, and Medieval sites of interest.
SEMINARS AND WORKSHOPS:
• Pollentia Tour
• Introduction into Archaeology, Stratigraphy, and Artifact Collection
• History of Spain and the Balearic Islands
• History of the Pollentia Excavation
• Pottery Drawing
Roman consul Quintus Caecilius Metellus conquered Mallorca around 123 BC and it is thought that Pollentia was founded between 70 and 60 BC during Pompey’s successful quest to vanquish pirates from the Mediterranean. Pollentia soon became the main urban settlement on the island, and was named a Roman colony during the reign of Augustus (27 BC to 14).
SEE AERIAL MAP OF POLLENTIA HERE
After centuries of artifacts emerging during farming, in the 1920s historians began excavating Pollentia’s ruins alongside the modern town of Alcudia. They are the best preserved Roman remains on the island and they have become an important reference for the study of the introduction and spread of the Roman culture in the Balearic Islands. Systematic excavations at Pollentia began in the 1950s under the auspices of the William L. Bryant Foundation, a US project linked to Dartmouth College.
The foundation oversaw the dig until 1997, when the current archaeological team took over. To date, archaeologists have uncovered three main areas: a residential quarter, the theatre, and the Forum.
In the residential area of Sa Portella archaeologists excavated the remains of three houses. Two of the homes bear colorful names: The House of the Bronze Head, because diggers found the bronze head of a young girl in one of the rooms, and the House of the Two Treasures, because of two coin hordes found dating to the mid 3rd century and the late 4th century.
Also built during Augustus’ reign, on the outskirts of the settlement, the theatre's foundations were carved into the bedrock. Eleven rows of seats remain. Following its use as a theatre toward the end of the Empire, Pollentia’s inhabitants used the spot as a cemetery as some of the tombs are visible in the rock.
The ArchaeoSpain group will focus its research and work on the Forum, the city’s public square. Over the years archaeologists have uncovered the remains of several temples, platforms and altars, in addition to an open space lined with tabernae (shops). The constant activity in antiquity in the Forum makes for a complicated but exciting archaeological project, and each year’s work helps clarify the chronology of the structures being uncovered.
Archaeologists at Pollentia have also excavated more than 200 graves dug into the Forum layers, suggesting that the plaza ceased to be used as such sometime during the 4th century.
Orfila Pons, M.; Chavez Alvarez, M. E.; Cau Ontiveros, M. À. “Pollentia and the Cities of the Balearic Islands.” Early Roman Towns in Hispania Tarraconensis, Journal of Roman Archaeology Supplementary Series, 62 (2006). Portsmouth, Rhode Island. pp. 133-145.
dates & fees
July 1 – July 21
• Full Room and Board
• Fieldwork training
• Seminars and workshops
• Excursions and other activities
• Medical Insurance
• Transportation to and from airport
• Application fee
• Administrative costs
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 May 15.
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 April 1: All payments, except for $50 from the application fee, are refundable.
• Between April 1 and May 15: Application fee non-refundable. The balance is refundable.
• After May 15: All payments are non-refundable unless your application is rejected by the program director.
You should begin making travel plans 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 at Pollentia 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 student away from the program should that person’s behavior compromise the safety, research objectives and general performance of the group, or violate Spanish laws, regulations or customs.
Mallorca is an island full of history and our group will take advantage of all the the prehistoric and medieval sites of interest.
Alcudia is also located in one of the most beautiful areas of the island, and our group will have a chance to enjoy its charming beaches and landscapes.
The following are some of the visits we have planned for our group. All excursions are included in the program fees, but they may change due to the excavation schedule or unforeseen events:
• The capital city of Palma: Old town, Bellver Castle (14th century), Cathedral (12th-15th centuries),Archaeological Museum
• Megalithic settlement of Son Fornés (8th century BC)
• Watchtower of Cap Formentor
• Capdepera Castle (14th-18th centuries)
• Megalithic Necropolis of Son Real
• Bronze and Iron Age settlement ofS’Hospitalet Vell
• Small towns such as Port de Soller, Sa Calobra, Manacor
“I remember finding my first piece of pottery, three huge shards of an amphora sitting in the foundation trench of a temple to Augustus Caesar, and I couldn’t believe it. I remembered looking at artifacts in a museum display and wishing that I could have been the one to find it. With ArchaeoSpain, you will be the first one in 2,000 years to touch these artifacts.
Pollentia is one of the few archaeological programs where as a high school student you can take part in all aspects of the excavation process, from digging to categorizing artifacts to drawing and reconstructing pottery. And the counselors and the excavation leaders are not only experts in their fields, but they genuinely care about making sure you have the absolute best time every day for the duration of the trip. This is the best program I have ever participated in and I am so thankful for the opportunity to have been part of the Pollentia excavation team.”
—Chris Rendón, Palos Verdes High School (California)
“One of my favorite learning experiences was whenever I learned a new digging technique from the archaeologists, as well as learning more Spanish words and phrases along the way. This dig is for someone who loves archaeology or history, and wants to learn about different cultures while meeting new people along the way. The staff here are wonderful! Juanjo and Sara are the best counselors that anyone could ever hope for! They are hilarious and are excellent teachers. I don’t know what I would have done without them. Thank you for giving me this wonderful opportunity.”
—Fatima Pirtle, Du Quoin High School (Illinois)
“The work was hard and the sun was strong, and much of our day was physical, but knowing that we were digging ancient ruins was thrilling. We were ecstatic when the dig director let us dig up pieces of amphora that had just been found. I can remember my hand shaking as I gripped the trowel and pulled the first shard out of the ground. It was an incredible experience. I was literally pulling little fragments of history out of the ground.”
—Charlotte Dougall, St Paul’s Girls’ School (London)
“Because of this program I can identify everything from African amphorae to Roman cooking pottery to ancient animal jawbones. ArchaeoSpain was a great learning experience and made me even more certain that I want to become an archaeologist.”
—Claire Quin, New School of Northern Virginia
“I learned that archaeological fieldwork is very physical, but if you’re willing to put in the work then it really pays off. There is also no greater feeling then finding a unique artifact that hasn’t been seen in thousands of years. I think the people that would get the most out of this trip are people that love to have fun, don’t mind getting little sleep sometimes, enjoy meeting new people, have a sense of humor, and enjoy learning about new cultures.”
—Mike von Tsurikov, Cooperstown High School (New York)
“During the program I learned how to use tools in different situations, about how the various layers help me understand how the dating process works, and how to differentiate between time periods. And one of my favorite parts were the weekend trips, traveling around the island and seeing the different influences the people and their ancestors have experienced.”
—Irena Eisenhauer, American Embassy School (New Delhi)
“These four weeks have been the month of a lifetime. Besides the meals, jokes, trips, digging, and so much more, what stands out most was reconstructing a ceramic jar. I loved studying the pottery shards for similar shapes, patterns, and speckles in the clay for the slight chance that they will fit together, and then discovering those that do. I really enjoyed being able to work with experienced archaeologists as well as college students. It was a great atmosphere where you learn about the pottery by looking through what you’ve found on site and sorting it all.”
—Rebecca Morris, San Marino High School (California)
“The most important learning experiences I took from ArchaeoSpain were the interactions between the high school students and the Spanish volunteers and archaeologists, reaching out of my comfort zone by coming here for the summer, and enduring long hours of manual labor every day. But it is worth it when you can make amazing discoveries. The last dinner, when everyone was able to come together and relax and have fun was one of the best nights of the trip. I loved socializing with the volunteers and archaeologists. They were all such amazing people and I learned so much from them.”
—Miranda Litwak, Horace Greeley High School (New York)
“I learned that archaeology is a long process and requires a lot of patience. In order to really appreciate the program, you have to be ready to work. But all of this hard work made me appreciate what archaeologists go through every day and made me truly respect what it means to be an archaeologist. I also found it really interesting to learn how the Romans used true north to build and develop their cities. I had no idea that the Romans were so math-oriented, and it was cool to be able to apply my knowledge of geometry to see how a Roman city was built.”
—Lauren Soll, Columbia Prep School (New York)
“Undoubtedly the site will forever be imprinted in my mind. The people, the work, the memories, and the finds are truly unforgettable.”
—Russell Williams, Rudolf Steiner School (New York)
“The first night of the program, when Spain won the World Cup, was unbelievable. I’ll definitely remember that for years to come. There are definitely some bragging rights that come with being in Spain on that night.”
—Julian Amrine, Beaufort High School (South Carolina)
“My favourite learning experience was learning to classify the pottery and bones that we found in the ground, as well as being able to tell the origin and date of an artifact just by looking at it. Archaeology is more than just sitting and endlessly scanning through the ground with a toothbrush or finding a skeleton every five minutes (as portrayed on TV), but that it is surprisingly hard work and often with fruitless days. However, this makes all the labour worth the wait when a magnificent piece is found.”
—Freddie Camps-Harris, Eton College (England)
“I learned that archaeology is very complex. It’s not just digging, but it also involves all sorts of analytical tools. All in all, to be an archaeologist you have to be motivated, and if you are, it is the most enjoyable job in the world. Going to the field every day is physically demanding, and you need to be ready for that. The more you enjoy doing what you do, the more you will get out of the experience. The ArchaeoSpain staff were amazing, incredibly well-learned in the field, and they had tons of great stories and lessons to share. The Spanish archaeologists were incredible as well: fun, patient, informative, and they really helped me learn what it would be like to be an archaeologist.”
—Jacob Kayen, Lynbrook High School (New York)
“I will never forget the day I battled a fellow archaeologist in wheelbarrow jousting. Everyone slowly gathered around, I was handed my basket as a shield and pick axe as a lance and I climbed into the wheelbarrow. As we jousted, I realized my full love for the community that was built at the site, a group that was able to work hard, yet take a break for wheelbarrow jousting.”
—Priyanka Amin, Piedmont High School (California)
“I learned about the technical aspects of archaeology, about stratigraphy, and how to notice the different layers in the ground. Overall the program really opened my eyes to what archaeology in the field really is like. It was extremely rewarding and the Spanish staff and our group leaders did a wonderful job educating us in archaeology. Our trip leaders were the best people I have ever encountered. Both are very smart, have great attitudes, and handled everything with great wisdom and composure.”
—Vera Penavic, Smithtown High School West (New York)
“We had the greatest staff members I could’ve asked for on this trip. They were incredible, and always had our interests at heart. My favorite learning experiences on the trip came from being able to work alongside actual archaeologists and archaeology students. The archaeologists taught us so much about their fields of expertise, and the university students were more than willing to share their knowledge.”
—Kellan Rohde, Flintridge Preparatory School (California)
“Coming in to this program I had close to no knowledge about archaeology, but now I can say I understand the work that archaeologists do. The lectures also taught me about Spain’s history and archaeological theory. People who have a desire to learn, who are willing to work hard, and are capable of working with a team would get the most out of this program. While it’s really fun, it is still a lot of hard work that requires a lot of cooperation between team members.”
—Ann Cavers, Darien High School (Connecticut)
“I learned a lot about archaeology during my trip. I learned how one classifies artifacts; the difference between pieces of pottery; and how one can tell, just from observation, what time period it came from. I also learned how to excavate with tools, and that even working in 98 degree temperatures can be a lot of fun. I think that anyone with the slightest interest would appreciate every aspect of this program. It was just amazing.”
—Kate Ludin, Wakefield High School (Virginia)
“This program opened my eyes to the complexity of archaeology and its rewards. I really gained a better understanding of how the excavation process works and how each layer reveals more about the site… My favorite experiences were the times learning about the different types of pottery or the site’s history and stratigraphy. I consider the chaperones and site directors to be mentors and family.”
—Charlotte Sullivan, National Cathedral School (Maryland)
“I loved learning to identify pottery that we found in the field. And will never forget finding my first Roman coin. It was pretty corroded, but we could still make out a centaur on one side, which was awesome. I now know what a career in archaeology would involve.”
—Grace Molino, Ward Melville High School (New York)
“Our group of 12 became a close-knit family from day one, mostly due to the tolerance, helpfulness, and care from our group leaders. Not only did they teach us about archaeology on the excavation site, but they also helped us integrate into the community, and navigate the customs and food.”
—Hollis Kool, Palo Alto High School (California)