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Summer Field School

Dig with us in Greece!


Every summer The Nemea Center for Classical Archaeology offers a field school for undergraduate students with an interest in archaeology. No previous experience in archaeology is required – only a strong desire to learn and dig! Not a student at Cal? No problem! Our Field School is open to undergraduate students from any accredited university in the U.S. (and beyond). 

Currently, undergraduate students join us for two of our three ongoing field projects: the TAPHOS project at the Mycenaean cemetery at Aidonia and artifact study in the Archaeological Museum of Ancient Nemea. Both sites are located in the region of the Korinthia in southern Greece (approximately 1.5 hours south of Athens). At the prehistoric cemetery of Aidonia we run an active excavation, which means that you will have the chance to participate in just about every aspect of outdoor fieldwork – from digging and wheel-barrowing to labeling and drawing. At the Archaeological Museum of Ancient Nemea, on the other hand, we we work with materials recovered from the Sanctuary of Zeus and its surrounding areas, so there are opportunities for washing pottery, sorting finds, cataloging, drawing, 3D scanning, and more. The artifacts range in date from the prehistoric period right down through the Byzantine period – so there’s material to fit every interest.  Typically, students alternate between museum and field so that they experience the full range of activities. Work in the museum and/or on site happens 5 or 6 days per week from approximately 6:00am to 3:00pm. The afternoons are yours to relax and explore.

COVID-19 UPDATE


Due to the current global health crisis, the 2020 Summer Field School has been canceled. Students that had committed to participation this summer will be able to defer their acceptance to the 2021 Field School. We will miss being in the field and sharing our experiences with talented students very much. The health and travel restrictions currently in place in the U.S. and in the E.U. will continue to change throughout the coming year. For that reason, we ask for your patience when it comes to announcing Field School information for 2021. As the circumstances develop, we will continue to update this page with the relevant information and procedures for applying to future Field School seasons.

While you’re practicing social distancing and eagerly planning a summer adventure for when we can travel and congregate safely, we encourage you to scroll down this page and learn about the standard operating procedures, application requirements, and approximate costs associated with participating in a Summer Field School with the Nemea Center for Classical Archaeology!

Official Course Description & Approximate Costs


The primary goal is to teach practical archaeological skills in a real research environment while gaining an understanding of the material culture of Greece throughout various periods of its prehistory and history. Students will participate in a variety of field techniques and research methodologies including when appropriate: regional and site survey and sampling, geophysical testing and mapping, field excavation, stratigraphic analysis, written, graphic and photographic recording of data and finds, cleaning and conservation of finds, scientific and stylistic pottery analysis, cataloging, and presentation of research results through collection and exhibition management.

In addition, an overall knowledge of the archaeological history of Ancient Greece will be attained through the recovery and analysis of material (architecture, sculpture, metalwork and ceramics) from a wide range of periods (prehistoric through Early Christian) and especially through travel to major archaeological and cultural sites of Greece. The course also provides a valuable opportunity to learn about a foreign country and its contemporary culture while living in a traditional village community and to gain a unique perspective on the life of the ancients while living in their own landscape.

No experience or prerequisites are required. Participation does mean, however, that you will spend a lot of time outdoors in the summer heat of southern Greece. You can expect a fair amount of physical exertion while you’re in the field and the optional trips sometimes include hikes or walks over rough terrain, so being in good physical condition is important. If you have old injuries or other conditions that may be aggravated from lifting, pushing, digging, hiking, etc., it is a good idea to get in touch with the director before applying.

Course credits (4-6 units) from UC Berkeley can be obtained by registering for Classics N172A and/or an independent study (at an additional cost). Costs include two fees: approx. $1,500 for food and lodging (in the nearby village of Kleonai) and an additional $1,000 to cover participation (transportation, supplies, etc.). Airfare is not included in these fees and is the responsibility of the participant. Airfare can range widely from $1,000 – $1,800 depending on where you fly from.

When we are able to process and accept applications again, we will make that information available on this website (and elsewhere)! Please contact our Project Director, Dr. Kim Shelton (sheltonk@berkeley.edu), with inquiries or concerns in the meantime.