Portus Field School 2013-2015

Staff: Simon Keay and Renato Sebastiani were scientific directors of the excavation; Graeme Earl was director of scientific recording and data capture; Dragana Mladenović is director of the Field School. Fabrizio Felici was the site Excavation Manager; Penny Copeland was the Finds Recording Coordinator; Kris Strutt was Health and Safety Officer; Roberta Cascino was Coordinator of site documentation and Contact person for students from Roma Tre and the Comune di Fiumicino; Steve Kay was Coordinator of topographic recording.    

The multi-disciplinary Portus Field School has provided a novel educational experience by offering hands-on, team-focused training in a variety of techniques used in modern archaeological fieldwork. Students were exposed to techniques belonging to different scientific disciplines (including computing, geology, geophysics, biology), and research methods of social and human sciences (including history, classics, history of art), and were encouraged to grow as interdisciplinary scholars and mediators – crucial skills in the modern world. The training was problem-based, using multidisciplinary approaches in contemporary archaeological research. By providing a framework within which students could relate their core disciplines to archaeological field practice, as well as the experience of working side-by-side with students with different expertise, the field school enabled all those involved to gain a deeper insight into their own and related disciplines, and experience a practical fieldwork environment.

Students were given field tuition as they were rotated through different tasks. Field school staff and visitors provided lectures throughout the field school. These provided participants of all levels with an understanding of the wider context in which the work at the site was situated. These lectures were supplemented by optional study visits to sites and museums in the wider area, including Rome and Ostia. Before and after the field season students were given the opportunity to collaborate and learn about Portus and archaeology in general via a set of online resources and a forum. Many Field School activities can be seen in our photo stream.

A video made by students who participated in the Portus Field School in 2013, featuring a Southampton archaeology undergraduate interviewing a Stanford classics undergraduate about a latrine, of all things.

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