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Archaeological Field Work Abroad

Fast Facts

Sessions Offered:



Gangivecchio, Sicily




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

Application Due:


Program Cost:

Click the Application tab.

Academic Program

Walls inside Gangivecchio

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.

Students will learn the most up-to-date Sicilian methods of excavation while earning 3 semester hours of resident credit, mediated through Dr. Glenn Storey. 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.

Archeological Project

Fountain in Gangi

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.

Program Dates

The 2017 program will run 7/3/17- 8/10/17. These dates do not include travel time, you should arrive on site by 7/3 and depart on 8/10.

More Information

Amy Bowes, Advisor
The University of Iowa
Study Abroad
1111 University Capitol Centre
Iowa City, IA 52242-1802

Phone: 319-335-0353
Fax: 319-335-0343

Glenn Storey, Program Director and Associate Professor of Classics
The University of Iowa
210 JB
Phone: 319-335-2073


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.


Aside from the unending, tangible history in Italy, the nation has beyond remarkable landscapes which bring any visit to an entirely new level. You can go skiing in the Alps, visit Roman ruins and Greek temples, or explore the Grand Canal in Venice.

As one of the world's best-loved destinations, Italy is also the land of la dolce vita meaning "the sweet life". After an adventure tourists can unwind, relax, and be pampered by staying at one Italy’s high end spas or simply enjoy Italy's sophisticated dining pleasures, such as family-owned places where you can experience real Italian cooking.

People and Culture

Despite its rich and magnificent art and architecture, there's no reason to be intimidated. Italian people are very hospitable and are rarely indifferent. Hundreds of local festivals take place across the country in any given day to celebrate a saint or a local harvest, including the daily domestic ritual of passeggiata, a collective evening stroll celebrated by the young and old alike in towns and villages across the country. If there is one special national characteristic Italians are known for, it's that they know how to live life to the fullest.

Living Arrangements

Giovanna's cookbook

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:Gangivecchio.

Meals are included during the week and catered by Giovanna Tornabene.

Travel Arrangements

Participants will be given details about flights at orientation. Please do not purchase flights until you are told to do so. Flight cost is not included in the cost of the program.

Within Gangi and around Italy, students will utilize public transportation such as buses and trains. Italians are also very used to walking, so be sure to bring comfortable shoes!


Prior to departure there were be a mandatory large group orientation for all Iowa students attending the Archaeological Field Work program. The orientation will discuss registration and address questions students have about life in Gangivecchio, what to pack, program structure, etc.

All Iowa students are also required to complete the mandatory online Study Abroad orientation distributed through ICON prior to departure. Optional pre-departure sessions are available as well. Past topics have included: First-Time Solo Flyers, Packing, and Traveling in Europe. Information will be emailed directly to students and past information can be accessed here: Prepare for Departure.


This program is open to all UI students who are in both good academic and also disciplinary standing. Applicants must also meet the minimum cumulative GPA of 2.5. You must remain in good academic and disciplinary standing with the university until departure. 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.

In order to participate in this program students must be capable of spending 4-8 hours per day outside (70-90 degrees and sometimes in direct sun). Due to the remoteness of the dig site, immediate medical care is not always available and participants with chronic conditions should take this into consideration before applying. Please check with the advisor for this program if you have any concerns related to these requirements.

Cost of Program

The program fee for summer 2017 is $3,600. This fee includes instruction, lodging, most meals, and excursions. It does not include the Study Abroad Administrative Fee, round trip airfare, meals during program excursions, passport, immunizations, or any personal expenses.

The 2017 Cost Sheet, which estimates total out of pocket expenses, can be found here: Archaeological Field Work Abroad 2017 Cost SheetPDF.

Financial Aid and Scholarships

Gangi at Night

Most financial aid (scholarships, grants, and loans) is applicable to study abroad programs. Please check the Study Abroad website for information on financial aid and how it may be applied to studying abroad. You are also encouraged to speak with someone at the Office of Student Financial Aid to explore financial aid options.

Scholarship opportunities exist for study abroad participants. Please explore Study Abroad’s websites for UI Study Abroad Scholarship Opportunities, and Non-UI External Awards.

Federal Pell Grant recipients are eligible to apply for the Gilman Scholarship

How to Apply

The application can be found here: 2017 Summer 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.

Visa and Passport Information

View of Gangi


To study abroad, you must have a signed, valid passport from your country of citizenship that will not expire for a minimum of 6 months after your planned return date. If you do not have a passport, or it's about to expire, make sure you apply or renew as soon as possible! US Citizens can refer to the US Department of State’s website for more information regarding passports.


U.S. citizens do not require a visa for this program. Non-U.S. citizens should reference theItalian Consulate Webpage to see what is required of them.


In order to prepare for your time abroad, you are required by the University of Iowa to complete two orientations. These may be in addition to orientations provided by your on-site provider. See below for more information.

Online Education Abroad Pre-Departure Orientation

You are required to complete the International Programs online “Education Abroad Pre-Departure Orientation” course distributed through ICON prior to departure. This orientation is mandatory for all students going abroad under the auspices of the University of Iowa. It covers many practical matters about living overseas, such as health and safety, communication, money, goals and much more. You will be enrolled in this course by International Programs and an email will be sent to you once enrolled. If you have any questions you can email

Program-Specific Orientation

This orientation will be facilitated by your study abroad advisor and will cover content specific to your program and host country. It could be conducted in a group setting or one-on-one depending on your type of planned activity abroad. Your study abroad advisor will send you more information about this mandatory in-person session.