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Columbia offers new summer program at Hadrian's Villa in Italy

Sunday, February 16, 2014

Columbia will offer a new program this summer that provides undergraduate and graduate students the unique opportunity to excavate and learn together at Hadrian’s Villa, a UNESCO World Heritage site and the most important of the Roman imperial villas, located in Tivoli near Rome.

The four-week program will combine fieldwork with seminars and workshops. Over the course of the program students will become familiar with advanced archaeological techniques while exploring original ways in which to employ technical knowledge to address scholarly issues and formulate new historical questions. The course will be co-taught by Francesco de Angelis, associate professor of classical art and archaeology, and Marco Maiuro, assistant professor of ancient history.

The course will offer differing perspectives and approaches to the material, influenced by the divergent and overlapping nature of the professors’ academic, cultural and educational backgrounds, while giving students a firsthand opportunity to engage with the classical world. De Angelis emphasizes that “the idea underlying the program is that we combine different skills, different interests, different world views, if you like, and different cultures.”

The program is open to students of all disciplines, but is particularly geared towards students interested in the history, art and architecture of the classical world. The fieldwork project can accommodate students with various backgrounds, ranging from beginning through advanced archaeological knowledge.

Students will excavate on-site seven hours a day, five days a week, and will be joined by Italian students from the Università degli Studi di Roma “La Sapienza.” Late-afternoon workshops and seminars directed by faculty and guest specialists will provide an opportunity to discuss key issues, from ceramics analysis to the artistic and socio-historical dimension of Hadrian’s Villa.

“We’re using archaeology as the common ground for the study of the past, and I think that this is something that especially American students can benefit from … since they are so far away from the object of their study,” says de Angelis. “Getting to touch the past is an experience that cannot be paralleled, not even in a museum because there you are not allowed to touch. Extracting objects and extracting information from the ground is truly a transformative experience.”

Applications are due Saturday, March 1. For more information on the program or to apply, please click here.

The project is part of the Advanced Program of Ancient History and Art (APAHA), created under the aegis of the Italian Academy for Advanced Studies in America and the Università degli Studi di Roma “La Sapienza” through its Honors Center for Italian Universities (H2CU). It is supported by the Department of Art History and Archaeology, the Department of History, and the Classical Studies Graduate Program.

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