Trasimeno Archaeology Field School


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


The Site

Castiglione del Lago is a charming medieval town situated in Umbria, on top of a small peninsula along the southwestern shores of Lake Trasimeno.  A member of the prestigious I Borghi più Belli d’Italia Association (The Most Beautiful Villages in Italy,, Trasimeno-archaeology-dig-UmbraCastiglione lies among renowned historical cities, such as Orvieto, Chiusi, Arezzo, Cortona and Perugia. All Umbra students participating in the Trasimeno Archaeology Field School will stay in Castiglione during the summer term, only a few miles away from Perugia, easily reachable either by bus or train.


The Academic Program

The Field School consists of two courses, both held in Castiglione del Lago during the Umbra Institute’s General Studies summer session. This curricular concentration 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 program will run for 5 weeks, beginning the last week of May and ending at the end of June. Program dates for the summer 2014 will be May 24th (arrival in Italy) to June 28 (departure).


Field trip in RomeThe course ARFW 350: Archaeological Field Workshop (mandatory) is an archaeology practicum. Students will work alongside professional archaeological staff to uncover artifacts and learn necessary archaeological digging skills.

Course Credit: 3


The course ARCL 340: Archaeology in Central Italy: The Etruscan and Roman Legacy (optional) offers students the necessary theoretical background to introduce them to the actual excavation experience in this central region of Italy.

Course Credit: 3


These are non-prerequisite courses. Students can choose to take one course or both. Courses 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 other archaeological sites and major museum collections.


Archaeology field workThe Archaeological Dig

The excavation will focus on two different areas of Castiglione.


One area is located off the medieval walls, on the sloping side of the hill, towards the southern shore of the lake. Recent survey investigations of this area have indicated the presence of a rich archaeological site, possibly a Roman building and Etruscan tombs. Among olive trees, geo-magnetic surveys have revealed the presence of underground structures, probably belonging to Etruscan tombs. The second site lies in the courtyard of a large castle on top of the hill. Inside, there are ruins of a small medieval church built on top of previous structures, which still need to be investigated. 


The goal of the campaign is to assess the original function of the entire area in order to understand the origins of the settlement of Castiglione following the settlement’s development from Etruscan, through Roman, to Medieval times. The project is an instructive example of how different civilizations built upon each other in the same area.


Important note: Digging in an archaeological campaign is a very exciting work, but it is also sometimes tiring and challenging. It is very important that students are ready and fit for this type of physical activity. The typical day starts early in the morning and runs until mid-afternoon.


Cooperation with the Local Community

According to Umbra’s academic goals and experiences, the Archaeological Field School is collaborative and aims to involve the community of Castiglione in a long term relationship. Students will cooperate with a local archaeological association and will help the municipality of the town to catalog findings and set up the new local archaeological museum.


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 outdoor life and students will have the opportunity to enjoy the everyday life of a typical Italian community. Bus and train services directly connect Castiglione to other cities, including Rome and Florence, making it easy to travel over weekends.

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.


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 and the Archeological Research Company Intrageo


Program Fees

For two courses: $ 4,975.00

For one course: $ 3,950.00


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, and personal expenses.


How to Apply

Deadline for application has been extended till May 2, 2014.

To receive additional information or to be contacted by an Umbra representative, please complete the attached form.