Archaeological Practicum (Field School)

Excavation experience is central to archaeological training, so we have created intensive spring/summer courses to expose students to the rigours of fieldwork.

Students participating in the Brock University Archaeological Practicum (CLAS 3F75) earn a full course credit (1.0 credit).

After participating in CLAS 3F75, students may apply for further fieldwork training as a half credit course (0.5 credit at the 4V00 level).

As a course, CLAS 3F75 is designed to introduce students in a systematic and formal fashion to the basic skills and techniques of excavation, horizontal and vertical measurement, drawing plans and sections, recording of archaeological data, and trench notebook maintenance. The goal of the Practicum is to train participants in a hands-on fashion so they will be qualified to work on other projects as effective and knowledgeable excavators with a minimum of supervision. Students enrolled in the Practicum, which was initiated in 1970, have worked on projects dating from the Aceramic Neolithic through the Late Roman periods in France, Israel, Greece, Cyprus, Turkey, Italy, Sicily, and Pantelleria.

The Brock University Archaeological Practica are usually scheduled for alternate even-numbered years (i.e., 2016, 2018, etc.).

*Because of the cancellation of travel during COVID 19, Archaeological Practica will held in spring/summer 2021.

Archaeological Projects

The archaeologists in the department run active field projects, usually every summer. They often take students who have previously participated in the Practicum (CLAS 3F75) as part of advanced field skills courses usually held in the odd-numbered, non-Practicum years (2017, 2019, etc.). Undergraduate and graduate students may have opportunities to participate in the following projects while earning 0.5 course credit:

Director: Carrie Ann Murray (Brock University)

Pantelleria is an island located off of the south-west corner of Sicily. This project is an excavation of a Punic and Roman period sanctuary on the edge of the volcanic crater-lake, Lago di Venere. The Roman conquest of the island dates to 217 BC but it is not clear what this means for life on the island. The preliminary results of the excavation suggest continuity rather than rupture between the Punic and Roman periods. Typically 6-12 Brock undergraduate and graduate students participate in the annual month-long seasons (mid-May to mid-June).

Directors: Justin Leidwanger (Stanford University) and Sebastiano Tusa (Soprintendenza del Mare);
Cultural Heritage Coordinator: Elizabeth S. Greene (Brock University)

The Marzamemi Maritime Heritage Project is a collaborative excavation, survey, and heritage management initiative focusing on the maritime landscape and seaborne communication off the southeast coast of Sicily, Italy. Since 2013 the project has undertaken the excavation of the so-called Marzamemi “church wreck”, which sank while carrying prefabricated architectural elements for the construction of an late antique church alongside other cargo from the northern Aegean during the 6th c. AD. Students from Stanford, Brock, and around the world have had the opportunity to learn the techniques of maritime archaeology alongside a broader dialog about responsible heritage practice, conservation and museum development.

Directors: Elizabeth S. Greene (Brock University), Justin Leidwanger (Stanford University), Numan Tuna (Middle East Technical University)

At Burgaz we explore the complex set of harbors used by one coastal city on Turkey’s Datça peninsula between the Archaic period and late antiquity. Thought to be the home of the Knidians before their move to the tip of the peninsula, the site offers an ideal vantage point for investigating connections along the peninsula, nearby islands and across the broader Greco-Roman world. Since 2011 we have explored—with the assistance of students from Brock and around the world—how cities adapt to changing environmental, geographic, technological, and environmental conditions that influence their standing in the local and global community.

Associate Director: R. Angus K. Smith (Brock University)

The archaeological site of Gournia sits on the north coast of the Isthmus of Ierapetra in East Crete. Possessing some 50 well-preserved houses, a system of cobbled streets, a central court, a Minoan palace, and cemetery, Gournia gives the visitor the best picture of what a Late Bronze Age (1500 BC) town looked like. Gournia was a regional production center of bronze tools and weapons, domestic objects, and pottery and stone vases, an active trade emporium with overseas connections to other parts of the Aegean and the Near East, and the palatial administrative center for the Mirabello region. Its harbor complex consists of a monumental shipshed, fortification walls with towers, a riverside dam, and a cobbled street running from the coast to the town.

Photo Gallery

Click below to see photos from past practica.