Excavating Sipontum Project

Excavating Sipontum Project

Excavating Sipontum Project

The Excavating Sipontum Project started in summer 2022. We investigate the long-term urban evolution of Sipontum, from its Roman founding to its final days as a medieval port town (tentatively dated to sometime in the 13th c.), in order to write an interwoven history of human-environment relationships in this town. Situated on the Lago Salso, in the shadow of the Monte Gargano, Sipontum’s fortuitous position made it a great connector between the Adriatic and Mediterranean Seas, and eventually was a prominent player in the medieval pilgrimage routes through Europe to the Holy Land. It also needed to manage the precarious and changing conditions of its lagoon, the Lago Salso, that afforded access to rich marine resources, while also potentially causing environmental challenges such as malaria infestation and swamping. Ours is a collaborative, Italo-American project that brings together scholars and students from the University of Foggia (Foggia, Italy) and McGill University (Montreal, Canada).  The project is co-directed by Prof. Darian Totten (McGill) and Roberto Goffredo (Foggia).

Students can participate in the Excavating Sipontum Project!

Undergraduates can participate in the project by registering for CLAS 349 Archaeology Fieldwork: Italy (graduate students register for CLAS 649 Archaeological Fieldwork: Italy). The project involves excavation of actual archaeological remains, dating (so far) from the medieval period; future seasons aim to intercept Late Antique and Roman layers and architectural remains. This excavation is run as a field school, to train students with little to no experience in archaeology how to dig, collect artifacts, record site features, and perform laboratory methods associated with archaeological fieldwork. There are weekly seminars on assigned readings where students will discuss how we move from archaeological excavation to archaeological interpretation. Topics include: field methods; artifacts and interpretation; ports in the Roman and Medieval world; economy and society in the Roman empire and the medieval world; city life through time. Laboratory work in the late afternoons teaches students to wash and sort the ceramics found on site. We will also have a geomorphologist with us for two weeks, so students can observe the work she is doing. No prior field experience or coursework in Classics is required.

2024 Field Course

CLAS 349/649 runs for six weeks 20 May-28 June 2024. This is a three credit course. Students must pay McGill per-credit summer tuition. In addition, there is a course fee of CAD$3013.46 for McGill students (additional fees may apply to non-McGill students). Fees cover course materials and tools, lodging, most meals (Monday-Thursday plus breakfast and lunch on Friday), and daily transportation from the accommodations to the archaeological site. Enrolment in this course is limited to 30 students, and is by permission only.

Interested students should submit an application to Prof. Totten via darian.tottern [at] mcgill.ca (email). The application will include a short essay explaining motivations for participation, the brief recommendation of a faculty member who knows you, and a brief group interview with Prof. Totten either in person or via Zoom. Consult the application form (link below) for more information. Applications for the Summer 2024 field season are due due by 16 February, 2024.

Deposit: If accepted to the course, a non-refundable deposit of $300 is required upon enrolment, and paid by the end of March 2023. You should make the payment to your student fee account the way you normally make payments. Once the payment is made, please send an email to student.accounts [at] mcgill.ca (Student Accounts) ​​​​​​​with a subject of CLAS 349 – Archaeology Fieldwork Italy. The body of your email should include your student ID number. Student Accounts will confirm once the payment is received and the deposit is set up.

Application: Please find the Application for the 2024 season here: PDF icon application_for_clas_349_2024.pdf


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