Apolline Project

illuminating the dark side of Vesuvius

Call for Participants - Be part of the Apolline Project


The Apolline Project

The Apolline Project is a multi-disciplinary research project which seeks to bring to light the hitherto neglected past of the area to the north of the spectacular Mt. Vesuvius. The project has several components, but major excavation work has up until this point focused upon the well preserved post-79 AD Roman baths at Pollena Trocchia. Please browse the relevant pages in this website to know more about our general research questions and the methodology used in the study of pottery, ecofacts, and volcanic fills. The results gained so far have been presented worldwide and published in an edited book and in several articles, which you can download. In 2011 this project was awarded the European Archaeological Heritage Prize, especially in consideration of our commitment to the local community. The Apolline Project is also a registered non-profit organisation, thus we are legally committed to not make any profit from your donations and to spend the entire amount in activities which have a social impact, specifically to foster the research and to raise awareness of the past among the local population. Furthermore, we maintain a high level of scholarship and participation on our excavation, but pledge also to keep the participation affordable.

This page provides some general information on our open projects, both fieldworks and classes, and how to apply for them. Please note that our projects are quite popular (we received 300 applications for the Summer 2014 campaign), but we can host only 20 people for each slot, therefore we encourage you to apply asap.

Open Projects

The Apolline Project is now open to applications for the 2016 lab and field activities, which can be divided into: dig at the Roman villa with baths, dig at the ancient city of Aeclanum, boot camp of human forensic at the Medieval church in Pernosano, study the pottery assemblage from the Suburban Baths in Pompeii, and summer course on restoration!

The Excavation at the Roman Villa with Baths: the full excavation and publication of the Roman villa with baths in Pollena Trocchia is one of the main aims of the Apolline Project. The villa was built right above the ashes of the famous Pompeian eruption occurred in AD 79 and continued to be used until the late antique eruption of Vesuvius in AD 472. The excavation runs actively since 2007, with a constantly increasing number of participants. The ambience on site is free from tensions, all team members are treated as peers and partake in the interpretative process, but they are required to work hard. Students willing to longer commit themselves to the project generally gain more responsibilities both on site (e.g. trench supervision) and in the lab (study and publication of the artefacts). Some positions are available for the next campaign, thus we encourage skilled archaeologists to apply for those.
The Summer fieldwork 2016 will take place from the 6th of June to the 23rd of September and students can apply from a minimum of two weeks to the entire period. Further details on program and deadline is available at this page.

The Excavation of the Roman city of Aeclanum: join us in this new, exciting chapter of the Apolline Project, the excavation of Aeclanum! Aeclanum (map) lies beyond the shores of Naples, Pompeii and Mt. Vesuvius, in inner Campania and more precisely in the district of Hirpinia, which in antiquity constituted the southern part of Samnium. Although the site is by no means small (at least 18 hectares), only a few buildings have been brought to light so far, noticeably part of the macellum, the early Christian church, and the Roman baths, which are preserved at almost their original height. The quality of the architectural remains and artefacts brought to light so far is spectacular and speaks of a considerable level of wealth during the Roman and Medieval periods.
The Apolline Project has a special interest in Aeclanum and more broadly the entire area of Hirpinia, because the environmental model built for the environs of Vesuvius points to certain degrees of economic interdependence between the Campanian plains and the mountains of Samnium, thus Aeclanum works as an ideal control test for our theories. Similar to Pollena Trocchia and the North Slope of Vesuvius, Aeclanum and Hirpinia are ignored by the mainstream archaeology, which is still focused on Pompeii and Herculaneum, and thus this new chapter of the Apolline Project fuels our aim to shed light on previously ignored areas and to connect to the local population.
This is a fantastic and rare opportunity for any student who wants to develop an understanding of how an excavation starts, from the ground up. A combination of survey and excavation also provides a well-rounded archaeological experience. Join us this summer and be some of the first people in well over a millennium to experience the life of this ancient city.
The Summer fieldwork 2016 will take place from the 4th of July to the 30th of September and students can apply from a minimum of two weeks to the entire period. Further details on program and deadline is available at this page.

The Study of the Human Bones: for those interested in learning how to interpret a historic skeletal assemblage, the Apolline Project is offering two-week intensive boot camps in physical anthropology. Students will be instructed and immersed in the practical application of techniques used to correctly analyse human remains and will play an integral role in helping to better understand the previously unstudied collection (a minimum of about 60 individuals) of Pernosano. In general, days will begin with a formal lecture, followed by practical learning on the human remains.
The next workshop will take place from June 6th to 17th and July 4th to 15th; further details on program and deadline is available at this page.

The artefacts of the Suburban Baths in Pompeii: since 2004 the Apolline Project has fostered research beyond the geographic and chronological limits of Pompeii and Herculaneum by nurturing a new generation of archaeologists in the “dark side” of Vesuvius. After 11 years, in 2015, we started a new and exciting chapter with the “Pompeii beyond Pompeii” project. The Suburban Baths are one of the most iconic buildings in Pompeii and famous mostly for the frescos with erotic subjects, but in our opinion the site’s evidence has been overlooked. Indeed the building, lying on a slope just outside the volcanic plateau where Pompeii was built, was only partially covered by the ashes of the AD 79 eruption. After the catastrophe, the local population returned and spoliated the marble decorations, while other potsherds show that the site was frequently visited also in late antiquity and throughout the Medieval period, until the end of the 18th century. Therefore the Suburban Baths have the potential to expand the history of Pompeii beyond the eruption.
The Apolline Project aims to study and publish the site in its entirety, starting from the pre- and post-79 pottery. The 2016 study season will take place from July 4th to 29th.
Students will learn the fundamental skills to process any ceramic assemblage from the washing and marking, to the different methods of drawing pottery; students will become familiar with the different pottery classes attested in Campania. The study season will alternate formal lectures on specific topics in Roman pottery with hands-on activities, following our two-fold aim of studying the evidence while nurturing the most-talented archaeologists to become specialists.
The participation includes tuition and accommodation. Please note that the Apolline Project is a registered non-profit organisation; the donations will be used to run the project and continue the restoration works and outreach programs. To apply, click here.

The course on restoration is a new, important asset of the Apolline Project. In recent years we have become more and more concerned about the problems of conservation and preservation of the sites and artefacts that we bring to light. We try to do our part, achieved already much more than the average archaeological projects, and in our ongoing excavations we spend about half of the budget solely on restoration and preservation, but it is not enough. We need to do our part in raising awareness among archaeologists and help disseminate the basics of restoration to a wider public. Our new course on restoration helps us to fulfil that need. The course will be run by Prof. Maurizio Coladonato (ISCR, ABANA, ABABO, etc.; one of the major world experts in chemistry applied to art conservation) assisted by our own Jessica Scarpelli. The class is open to University students and professionals in restoration, archaeology, art history, and classics. It will run twice, from July 3rd to 14th and from July 17th to 28th 2017. Participation costs € 800, which includes tuition and accommodation in our headquarters in Pollena Trocchia. Further details and the full programme will be posted on the 1st of April, but we encourage you to apply asap here, since places are limited to 12 participants and we are receiving requests already.

The Lab Works: these classes have been created to nurture future specialists and provide solid foundations to the study of ancient pottery, architecture, environment, archaeozoology, and physical anthropology. Each class is one-week or two-weeks long and focuses on a specific subject; in general, the day begins with a short frontal lecture with powerpoint, followed by practical learning on the artefacts (some of which are extremely rare to find elsewhere, like the carbonised leaves). Teaching is tailored around the needs and interests of the students, thus the number of the participants is kept low (3-10).
Please visit this page for further details on programs and deadlines. Please note that currently no classes are planned (for further details, please contact us).

How to apply

The application process is easy and straightforward. Please follow this link and complete the electronic application. Applicants are required to provide name and contact information of a relevant person – such as a professor or previous excavation supervisor – who can verify the details you provide in your application. Any application submitted will be strongly considered and processed within three weeks (unless you need to know it earlier for a grant proposal with your University, in that case please specify it in the application). However, there is a limited number of spaces so the earlier you apply the greater your chances of being accepted. We offer a select number of scholarships to participants to the dig, each worth 500 Euros. To apply, please have two letters of recommendation sent by your referees to secretary@apollineproject.org by Monday, May 2, 2016. These letters and your project application will be used to evaluate your eligibility for the scholarship. We do require payment in advance of the scholarship decision. The awardee(s) will be given the scholarship prize on site as a reimbursement.

Free Time


During free time it is possible to enjoy the unique local culture and heritage and trips can be organised in collaboration with other members of the project to various destinations. Naples and Rome are both at accessible distances and participants are encouraged to make the most of their stay by exploring the rich heritage – both natural and man-made – that the region has to offer. Highlights include Mt. Vesuvius, the Museo Archeologico Nazionale in Naples – which houses famous works such as the Battle of Alexander Mosaic – as well as numerous churches, castles and palaces. In addition, the historic towns of Sorrento and Amalfi are situated nearby on the stunning Amalfi coast. The island of Capri, home to such historical figures as the Emperor Tiberius, is also a must.

To anyone with an interest in archaeology or Roman history, Pompeii and Herculaneum (among other famous archaeological sites in this area), are essential visits only a short train ride from your accommodation, while Rome and Florence are just a few hours away (respectively 1 and 3 hours with the fast train from Naples). Students can plan visits independently or ask us to arrange an optional bus tour for them.

Travel and Transport

Aeroporto Capodichino – or Naples Airport – is the closest to the environs of Vesuvius, and while participants are required to cover the costs of their own flights a supervising member of the excavation team will be happy to pick you up and drive you to your accommodation. This can be arranged once your application has been approved and the details of your flight confirmed. Public transport in the area – including trains and buses – is good and participants will be able to move around the area with ease. If your application is successful you will be provided with further logistical information in a welcome email.


For international participants to the fieldwork and lab work in Pollena Trocchia, accommodation will be provided at Cappabianca – a late 19th-century palazzo only a short walk from the Roman villa with baths. Guests should expect the amenities to be on par with what is generally expected when staying in a hostel. For international participants this is included in the price, along with internet access, a kitchen, showers and washing facilities. If preferred, at extra cost it can be arranged for students to stay in local hotel accommodation, although students generally prefer to stay in Cappabianca.
For international participants to the other projects, an accommodation similar to Cappabianca is available.

Important disclaimer

The Apolline Project is not a company nor makes financial gain from the activity that it runs. It is an open network of scholars who make research, restoration, and public archaeology. It uses a legally-recognised non-profit organisation (Associazione Apolline Onlus) to collect and use funds.
Please consider donating, we do need your support and generosity to continue our activities and raise awareness of the past.

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