The Roman Forum Pollentia program offers a hands-on experience in excavation and laboratory at a Roman archaeological site.
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 students from different universities. You will be learning the methods and techniques of an archaeological excavation, using tools, of course, but also working with stratigraphy, using record sheets and writing down an excavation
diary. Collecting, cleaning and classifying different artefacts will be part of your daily work as well as drawing structures and archaeological materials. You will be introduced in the study of Roman pottery and will find out how to get from inventories and storage in a museum to exhibitions.
We will focus on the 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.
All the participants are expected to engage in all archaeological activities during the program. While speaking Spanish is not required, you will be immersed in the language daily.
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.
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 artefacts 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 colourful 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.
The group, including ArchaeoSpain staff, will be staying at Carlos V ApartHotel in the center of Alcudia, a walled, medieval town.
The hotel is about a five-minute walk from the excavation and students will be sharing double and triple rooms with air conditioning.
Meals will be eaten at a restaurant, and an arrangement will be made to provide us with the mid-workday snack.
Breakfast in Spain is a light meal, while lunch is more substantial, eaten around 2pm. Dinner is at 9pm.
The hotel, which has free Wifi, is a short drive from some excellent beaches as well.
Please let us know if you are a vegetarian or if you require a special diet so that we may discuss the best way to accommodate your needs.
dates & fees
July 2 – July 22
• 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.
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 behaviour 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 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 capital city of Palma: Old town,Cathedral (12th-15th centuries),Archaeological Museum, Jewish quarter
• Watchtower of Cap Formentor
. Talayotic settlement of Son Fornes and Museum of Manacor
• Capdepera Castle (14th-18th centuries)
• Megalithic Necropolis of Son Real
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
In addition, while in the field we will take some time out to teach everyone the basics in Archaeological Mapping with traditional tools and also using modern technology such as the total station.