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Archaeological Field Work Abroad

Fast Facts

Sessions Offered:



Gangivecchio, Sicily




A minimum 2.5 GPA is preferred, students must be in good academic and disciplinary standing

Application Due:


Program Cost:

Click the Application tab.

This course is a 5-week field school at the Greco-Roman site of Gangivecchio in Sicily. The site is centered on a 14th century Benedictine Abbey, now the home of the Tornabene family, which sits on a Greco-Roman site, possibly dating from the Greek colonial period, 7th to 6th centuries B.C., all the way up to the 19th century, when the property was purchased by Vincenzo Tornabene in 1856. The school will be strip excavating Particella 19, the site of a Roman villa of the High Roman Empire, with some possible surface survey prospection in the immediate vicinity of the site. The field director will be a Sicilian archaeologist, Dr. Maria Gabriella Cerami of Palermo, who is also the artifact specialist.

Academic Program

Students will learn the most up-to-date Sicilian methods of excavation, mediated through Dr. Glenn Storey, University of Iowa, and graduate teaching assistant, Christian Haunton, of the Department of Anthropology. Students will excavate one by one meter units in Particella 19 in order to expose structural elements of the known Roman villa in that field.

Program Dates

Tentative dates are July 1- August 7, 2015

For More Information

For more details about academic content, contact Faculty Director Glenn Storey: or Study Abroad Advisor Amy Bowes:

Gangivecchio, Sicily


Sicily is located in the central Mediterranean. It extends from the tip of the Apennine peninsula, from which it is separated only by the narrow Strait of Messina, towards the North African coast. The earliest archeological evidence of human dwelling on the island dates from as early as 8000 BC. At around 750 BC, Sicily was host to a number of Phoenician and Greek colonies, and for the next 600 years, it was the site of the Greek–Punic and Roman–Punic wars, which ended with the Roman destruction of Carthage. After the fall of the Roman Empire in the 5th century AD, Sicily frequently changed hands, and during the early Middle Ages, it was ruled in turn by the Vandals, Ostrogoths, Byzantines, Arabs and Normans. Later on, the Kingdom of Sicily lasted between 1130 and 1816, first subordinated to the crowns of Aragon, Spain, and the Holy Roman Empire, and then finally unified under the Bourbons with Naples, as the Kingdom of the Two Sicilies. Following the Expedition of the Thousand, a Giuseppe Garibaldi-led revolt during the Italian Unification process and a plebiscite, it became part of Italy in 1860. After the birth of the Italian Republic in 1946, Sicily was given special status as an autonomous region.

Living Arrangements

Students are housed in a 14th century Benedictine Abbey, now the home of the Tornabene family. You can read more about the Tornabene family and their abbey on their webpage.

Archeological Project

The Gangivecchio Archaeological Project (GAP) began in 2000 and is continuing. Gangivecchio is a site in east central Sicily, between Enna to the south and Cefalú to the north on the coast. The site features a structure originally built in the 14th century as a Benedictine Abbey, with four major natural springs pouring out of the mountainside to the north, piped to a cistern just outside the Abbey courtyard.

There is no doubt that the Abbey is associated with a Roman site, featuring Late Roman, Byzantine and Medieval components in the courtyard. The remains of a Roman villa with associated artifacts dating from the first to fifth centuries A.D. lie just east of the Abbey.

Indications [also] suggest at least a Hellenistic Greek component to the site and the preliminary survey of 2000 confirmed a significant Greek component on the west side of the property that may date back to the Greek colonial period in the 8th to 7th century B.C., consistent with the dating of Greek colonial sites nearby.

Local tradition holds to an eariler Greek presence, perhaps as far back as 1200 B.C., in the form of colonization from Mycenaean Crete. The main evidence for this is the regional cultural memory focused on the cult of the Earth-Mother Goddesses (two or three) fertility deities whose cult originated on Crete (and who may be the origin of the manifestations of the Virgin Mary associated with the Abbey). Mycenaean presence in Sicily is well-establihsed.

Gangivecchio could also have been the fabled Greek city of Engion, mentioned by Diodorus Siculus, or a cult center associated with that city-state.

Gangicecchio's permanent water would have made it a landmark in the ancient landscape so it was likely an important cult center, with a bustling economy ulimately tied into the Roman world-system.

Travel Arrangements

Participants will receive instructions about traveling together as a group after acceptance.


Students must have a 2.5 GPA, and be in good academic and disciplinary standing. You must be in good academic and disciplinary standing with the university at the end of the semester, too.  If you are not in good standing at the end of the semester your acceptance will be revoked and you will be responsible for the associated withdrawal fees.

Applicants with a GPA lower than 2.5 are welcome to meet with the Study Abroad advisor for this program. You can schedule a meeting by calling 319.335.0353.

Cost of Program

The program fee for Summer 2015 is $3,600. This fee includes instruction, lodging, meals, and excursions. It does not include the Study Abroad Administrative Fee, round trip airfare, passport, immunizations, or any personal expenses.

The 2015 Cost Sheet can be found here: Archaeological Field Work Abroad 2015 Cost SheetPDF

Financial aid received to attend the University of Iowa may be applied toward the program cost. In addition, eligible program participants are encourage to apply for merit, need-based and Diversity Ambassador scholarships awarded by Study Abroad. More information is available at:

For information on CISI health insurance, please visit this web site:

How to Apply

Applications is now open and closes 4/7/2015

University of Iowa students can apply here: APPLICATION

The application process requires:
• Completed online application with short essay describing why you chose this program
• A copy of the information page of your passport (if you are applying for a passport, please indicate this on the application and you can bypass this requirement temporarily)

Non-University of Iowa students should contact Amy Bowes, the Study Abroad Advisor for this program for a paper application.

Withdrawal policy

After applying for a Study Abroad Program, notice of withdrawal must be made in writing to University of Iowa Study Abroad. The date on which the letter or e-mail message is received is the date by which your costs will be calculated. If for any reason you withdraw after the confirmation deadline and before or during the course of the program, the amount/percentage shown in the following chart represents what you will be required to pay to the University of Iowa.

Withdrawal schedule will be posted prior to confirmation deadline.

Consult with your Study Abroad advisor for any clarification about fees and billing. Note that when you withdraw from a program, any money already paid directly to a program provider and/or a host university will potentially be forfeited. Check with your specific provider/host university for details. Additional penalties for cancellation of airline tickets may also apply. Check with your airline for further details.

Post Acceptance Documents

After you've been accepted into the program, please turn in the following documents to UCC 1111 Study Abroad by April 10:

Confirmation of ParticipationPDF
Medical Self-AssessmentPDF