Apolline Project

illuminating the dark side of Vesuvius

Work in the Lab



Overview of the Lab Sessions


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The Apolline Project is involved in the study of artefacts and ecofacts from several sites in the environs of Vesuvius, thus it constantly seeks motivated archaeologists to train as specialists. The Lab Sessions provide a solid foundation to the study of ancient pottery, architecture, environment, archaeozoology, and human osteology, in the hope of nurturing the most talented archaeologists by training them as specialists for long term work with the project.

Each class is one/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).


Next Classes


The Pottery Class on Roman artefacts is available during the fieldwork in Pollena, from June 2nd to September 28th.
The Pottery Class on Medieval artefacts is available from June 29th to July 12th.

For the Human Osteology read the details here.
The Pottery Class costs 400EUR for two weeks.

The other classes are available on request (minimum 3 participants) and cost 170EUR for each week (for further details, please contact us).

Although one week is reckoned sufficient to provide a solid introduction to the study of a specific subject, students are encouraged to take 2-3 classes in a row in order to gain ampler experience. Students who wish to stay on in the accommodation for 1 week before and/or after the lab session of choice, are able to do so at no extra cost (but have to verify with us the availability beforehand) and can profitably use the extra time to explore the archaeological museums and sites in the Bay of Naples. Upon request, organised bus tours can be arranged.


Detailed Programs


Pottery studies


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Pottery is the most abundant archeological material discovered during excavations and it plays a fundamental role in establishing the date of archeological contexts, since shapes and styles change over time. The sizeable ceramic assemblage from the Roman villa with baths in Pollena Trocchia offers a comprehensive picture of imported and local pottery circulating in Campania in Late Antiquity. Furthermore, the variety of classes and shapes represents a useful didactic dataset to challenge students in identifying and drawing sherds.
Course Objectives
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 to late antique Campania. Participants who are already well versed in the basic skills will focus more on complex tasks, such as identification and drawing.
Lesson Plan
Powerpoint lectures cover the following topics:
  • Pottery creation from clay to decoration
  • African Red Slip Ware and African Cooking Ware
  • Campanian Wares in Late Antiquity
  • Drawing Techniques
Practical learning sessions focus on the following tasks:
  • Potsherds’ cleaning and marking
  • Identification and division of potsherds into classes, forms, and types
  • Data recording following the standards set by the Italian Ministry of Culture and Heritage
  • Pottery drawing
Please note that program may change according to the needs and requests of the participants.
Duration
Each week includes: 5 days of intensive lab work, 1 daily trip to the archaeological sites where the Apolline Project operates, 1 free day. Upon request, students can stay for 2 additional weeks (free of charge) in our accommodation to further explore the region.

Roman architecture


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In the environs of Vesuvius Roman buildings are preserved in most cases up to the roof and show signs of the activities undertook right before the eruption, like spoliation. The study of Roman architecture not only plays a vital role in understanding ancient production processes, but also provides insight into the ebb and flow of the ancient economy. To fully exploit the potential dataset embedded in the extant walls, one needs first to acquire the relevant research tools.
Course Objectives
This class provides a general overview of Roman construction techniques and focuses on the methods used to study ancient Roman architecture, from the identification of the construction techniques to the reconstruction of the building phases to the drawing and digitisation of the walls. By the completion of this course, students will be comfortable with the techniques involved in the drawing of ancient structures, and in particular, they will have learned how to acquire and process data collected in the field and how to create representative drawings.
Lesson Plan
Classes will take place both in the laboratory and in the field, covering the following topics:
  • Brief introduction to Roman Architecture and its development over time
  • Technical analysis of ancient monuments and its importance to the comprehension of archaeological sites
  • Techniques and general methods for drawing in the field (i.e. triangulation, drawings using horizontal and vertical coordinates) as well as types of visual representations (plans, elevations and section views)
  • Practical exercises involving the survey of the walls of the Roman sites under investigation by the Apolline Project
  • Input, processing and digitalisation of drawings using computer graphics softwares
Duration
5 days of intensive lab and field work, 1 daily trip to some archaeological sites in the Bay of Naples, 1 free day. Upon request, students can stay for 2 additional weeks (free of charge) in our accommodation to further explore the region.

Ancient Marble


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The study of ancient marble is very much reliant on establishing the provenance of this prised material, how it was worked at the source, in the workshop, and eventually reworked locally at later times. This information is of paramount importance for our understanding of the ancient economy and its fluctuations over time.
The purpose of this course is to offer students the possibility to study marble finds not only by means of formal lessons, but also through hands on experience.
Course Objectives
During the course students will learn how to clean and label fragments of marble, how to draw them, how to establish the possible architectural function of an individual fragment, as well as how to identify different types of marble and the location of their respective quarries.
Lesson Plan
Frontal lectures include the following topics:
  • Introduction to Roman marble
  • Definitions, characteristics, and classification of marble
  • Methods of extraction, processing, and transportation
  • Determining the provenance of marble and the use of coloured stones in the Roman period
  • Spoliation and reuse
Practical learning activities will take place both in the laboratory and in the field. They mostly consist of:
  • Washing and labelling
  • Drawing by hand and digitisation through CAD software
  • Identification of stone types
  • Recognition of signs of reuse
  • Exercises in the field at ancient Herculaneum
Duration
4 days of intensive lab and field work, 1 daily trip to Herculaneum, 1 daily trip to some archaeological sites in the Bay of Naples, 1 free day. Upon request, students can stay for 2 additional weeks (free of charge) in our accommodation to further explore the region.

Archaeobotany: Charcoal Analysis


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The extant remains of an ancient landscape are often limited to fragmentary sediments and plant remains. Despite their small size, these fragments of ecological history encapsulate valuable information and upon careful examination can inform on ancient agricultural techniques, the economy, climate, food production, as well as customs of worship. When skilfully assembled, this information can lend itself to a tantalising reconstruction of an ancient landscape.
This course is designed to provide an overview of archaeobotany with a special focus on the study of charcoal remains.
Course Objectives
Students will learn the methods and techniques of charcoal analysis ranging from sampling strategies to the identification of the main taxa to the broader landscape reconstruction.
Lesson Plan
The more theoretical part of the course will focus on the following topics:
  • Introduction to archaeobotany
  • History of the discipline and current research trends in Italy
  • Sampling methodologies and techniques for processing the sediments
  • Anatomy of wood: conifers and hardwoods
  • Research results in the environs of Vesuvius
Practical activities will encompass:
  • Work on the carbonised leaves
  • Sieving and floatation
  • Taxonomic identification of coal
  • Use of the microscope
  • Processing and interpretation of data
Duration
2.5 days of intensive lab work, 1 daily trip to some archaeological sites in the Bay of Naples, 1 free day. Upon request, students can stay for 2 additional weeks (free of charge) in our accommodation to further explore the region.


Human Osteology


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Physical anthropology has the potential to provide a great amount of insight into the lives of the individuals who inhabited or were interred at the site in question. Students will be instructed and immersed in the underlying principles of physical anthropology and will have the opportunity to engage in the practical application of techniques used to analyse human remains. This is undertaken by establishing baseline information regarding an individual such as age, sex, occupational stress markers, and nonmetric variations in addition to signs of disease and trauma.
Course Objectives
Students will have the opportunity to learn and practice the methods and techniques used to study human skeletal remains. This course will provide the basic skill set required to conduct analysis on a historical osteological assemblage.
Lesson Plan
In general, days will begin with a formal lecture (1.5-2.5 hours) pertaining to one specific area in physical anthropology. Students will then apply what they have learned in practical, hands on exercises tailored to the lesson. Lessons will be combined with trips to nearby sites.
Formal lectures include:
  • An overview of physical anthropology: (elements of skeletal biology: morphology and anthropometrics of human skeletal remains; teeth and the development of human dentition; determination of age at death, and determination of sex)
  • Regional applications in osteological analysis
  • An introduction to the use of stable isotopes in bioarchaeology (Sr, O, C and N)
  • Paleopathology and trauma
  • Demography of ancient populations
  • Ethics and legislation in the study of human remains
Duration
5 days of intensive lab work, 1 daily trip to some archaeological sites in the Bay of Naples, 1 free day. Upon request, students can stay for 2 additional weeks (free of charge) in our accommodation to further explore the region.


Zooarchaeology


Zooarchaeology provides information that often proves vital to the interpretation of a given site. The study of animal remains provides us with an improved understanding of the relationship between animals and man in the past. Animal bones are considered archaeological material and by studying them we can gain insight into the anthropic context to which they belong.
Course Objectives
Students will have the opportunity to learn and practice the methods and techniques pertaining to the reconstruction of animal skeletal remains. This course will provide the basic skill set required to conduct analysis on animal skeletal remains.
Lesson Plan
The classes will be divided into formal lessons in the form of power point presentations, and practical exercises using real osteological material. During the course, students will learn:
  • Methods and criteria of distinction: dimensions, typology, and morphology of animal remains
  • Determination of the species of animal, age at death and the sex of the animal
  • How to fill out formal sheets with pertinent information
Duration
2.5 days of intensive lab work, 1 daily trip to some archaeological sites in the Bay of Naples, 1 free day. Upon request, students can stay for 2 additional weeks (free of charge) in our accommodation to further explore the region.


Taking part


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The contribution includes all tuition and accommodation. The final deadline for applications is 10 days before the beginning of the program of choice and those who apply will find out if they have been successful within two days of their application. Beyond this the Apolline Project does not charge, and students will need to cover their own living costs and travel to Italy. It will be possible to collect you from the airport, and this can be arranged once successful applicants can confirm their flight details.

Application process


The application process is easy and straightforward. Please follow this link and complete the electronic application.


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