We asked our Portus Field School 2103, 2014 and 2015 students, including lifelong learning, undergraduate archaeology, undergraduate CIP and masters interns, to offer feedback. The following is a complete list of all of the anonymous and named feedback we received. Each quote comes from a different participant. (The photos are images of students working from the 2013 field school – they do not relate specifically to the student quotes).
“In few words, undoubtedly the best archaeological project that I have attended.”
“Portus was a once in lifetime experience. It is hard to describe the excitement of finding mosaic floors coins or even pieces of ceramic that were last held in a human hand 1600 years ago. Great teamwork and the Italians were such fun to work with and a really beautiful physical site to excavate.”
“The Portus Field School was one of the most amazing challenging back-breaking and rewarding summer experiences I’ve ever taken part of. The site community from the very beginning was a tight family of enthusiastic people sharing a common interest. We all got along well and it was a joy to work with everyone. Waking up each morning was exciting because I knew even though the routine was the same the experiences and work accomplished changed each day. Portus challenged me with responsibility; the trust the admins of the school put in each of the participants was amazing and we all tried our hardest to live up to their expectations. I didn’t feel like a naive student during my time at Portus; I felt like an active respected participant in an important exploration of Rome’s history. The teachings provided by the field school employees were unforgettable and each member of the staff had a different area of expertise providing students with a diverse learning experience. I hope to return again!”
“L’università di Roma3 ha dato la possibilità ai suoi studenti di partecipare alla campagna di scavo tenutasi a Portus nel 2013. In questa occasione è stato possibile per noi studenti apprendere le tecniche e le metodologie dell’indagine archeologica direttamente sul campo. Ci è stata data, infatti, non solo l’opportunità di svolgere tutte le mansioni di un archeologo e di comprendere e utilizzare strumentazioni e tecnologie proprie dello scavo archeologico, ma soprattutto di lavorare a stretto contatto con un team di professionisti preparati e disponibili. Disponibilità offerta nello spiegare e mostrare a noi studenti ogni aspetto del lavoro sul campo, con grande pazienza e generosità. Il valore di questa istruttiva esperienza risiede proprio nel fatto che si è potuto toccare con mano la realtà dello scavo archeologico in un ambiente stimolante e amichevole, grazie alla costante collaborazione con i professionisti che vi lavorano.”
“A thoroughly enjoyable three weeks. I feel Portus has developed me as an archaeologist and has opened my eyes to the many different areas I could potentially specialise in hopefully in the near future.”
“Lo scorso luglio ho avuto il piacere di partecipare alla campagna di scavo estiva di Portus portata avanti dall’Università di Southampton in collaborazione con la British School e la partecipazione di alcuni studenti provenienti dall’Università degli Studi Roma Tre. Nel 2012 mi era già capitato di prendere parte al Portus Project, ma quest’anno sono stata resa partecipe di un’esperienza che per me ha rappresentato una vera e propria novità: la collaborazione con la Field School organizzata dall’Università di Southampton.
All’inizio, devo ammetterlo, la presenza sullo scavo di ragazzi, più o meno giovani, che non avevano una formazione culturale prettamente archeologica mi lasciava perplessa, tuttavia con il passare dei giorni ho imparato a conoscere le persone che avevo intorno e ho capito che quando una Field School è organizzata bene, può essere un’esperienza davvero costruttiva, sia per i suoi partecipanti che per chi, come me, studia archeologia e non si aspetta di trovare una tale voglia di imparare il mestiere dell’archeologo da parte di persone che hanno scelto strade diverse.
Grazie ai laboratori di ceramica, di Laser Scanner e di geofisica, all’esperienza sul campo (pala, piccone e trowel alla mano) e alle interessanti e specifiche lezioni, come quella sui carotaggi o quella sui bolli (per citarne solo due ad esempio) e sotto la guida di persone specializzate nel campo e di chi a Portus lavora da anni, tutti, ma proprio tutti, ragazzi della Field School e non, hanno avuto la possibilità di accrescere le proprie conoscenze, sia umane che culturali.
Le mie impressioni su questa esperienza quindi non possono che essere positive e alimentano la mia voglia di partecipare ancora una volta al Portus Project.”
“I had a really fantastic time on the Portus Project. It gave me a new-found interest in archaeology and working with such amazing people made me want to improve my skillset. On the social side of it, the project was a great way to get to know people from my course I otherwise wouldn’t have, as well as people from Italy, America and Australia. I think the work to leisure time was well balanced, despite the long working days I never felt overworked and the supervisors were very supportive and concerned for our well-being (making sure we were wearing enough suntan lotion and drinking enough water etc).”
“I think this project is really well run, and I had a fantastic experience there and felt like it had a huge positive impact on my archaeological knowledge and practical skills. I think the combination of supervision and teaching mixed with the time allocated for physically working and experiencing the archaeology is brilliant, as it allows time to learn skills and then practice implementing them whilst still being supervised. I thought the MOOC aspect was really different, and really exciting to be involved in and I think it was a good opportunity for students to actively participate.”
“I think that the Portus project is an extremely good project as it combines both the physical archaeology and the data recording, whilst also giving informative lectures on the different aspects of archaeology.”
“I loved my time at Portus and would love to go back should the opportunity arise.”
“Ho trovato l’esperienza della Field School di Portus davvero interessante ed istruttiva. L’ambiente di lavoro è stato molto stimolante, sia per il mix e la collaborazione fra studenti di varie nazionalità, sia per la bellezza dell’area di scavo. Inoltre il campo era ben organizzato e funzionale all’apprendimento di nuove tecniche e nozioni per gli studenti, grazie, ad esempio, al proponimento di attività volte alla conoscenza di tecnologie (come laser scanning e georadar) non spesso reperibili in una situazione formativa studentesca. Un altro fattore per me determinante per il raggiungimento di un buon apprendimento è stato l’esser stati affiancati a figure professionali preparate e competenti, un team di archeologi che ci ha sempre seguiti e aiutati con pazienza e dedizione. Infine la considero un’esperienza utile al mio percorso di studi e che consiglio vivamente.”
“I did enjoy seeing Monte Testaccio as this was something I would not have done unless we had gone as a group due to its location in Rome.”
“The project leaders and supervisors were all really friendly and ready to answer any question I had which made me feel at ease straight away. I also loved participating in the creation of the MOOC.”
“Nel periodo compreso tra Giugno e Luglio 2013 ci è stata data, a noi studenti di Roma Tre, la possibilità di partecipare alla Field School nella campagna di scavo tenutasi a Portus presso Fiumicino. Le nostre giornate erano suddivise in varie attività volte alla comprensione di una tipica ricerca archeologica sulle varie metodologie di ricerca sul campo. Queste attività prevedevano l’affiancamento a professionisti del settore, in particolare del georadar, del laser scanning e della classificazione e siglatura dei materiali. Quest’ultimo aspetto sulle varie classi dei materiali veniva inoltre approfondito in lezioni teoriche. Il lavoro sul campo prevedeva l’inserimento in gruppi, ognuno operante in un settore diverso dell’area di scavo, formati da studenti provenienti da vari paesi europei e coordinati da figure di archeologi professionisti che si sono resi molto disponibili e che hanno favorito a rendere quest’esperienza molto stimolante ed utile per la nostra formazione professionale.”
“The project worked extremely well in helping to teach students, whether they had been on archaeological excavations in the past or not, how to work as a team and how to think with an archaeological point of view. Our supervisors challenged us to maintain questions in mind relating to trying to uncover functions of the site, and of course preparing a framework for how we see the excavations developing over the course of the project.”
“The project was incredible, run by people who really cared for the archaeology making it a memorable experience.”
“Overall the experience was fantastic. Firstly the setting of being in and around Rome was magnificent and an opportunity that I would never get again most likely. Secondly the actual digging was tiring but good fun. Thirdly the people who were there were great and I have made so many brilliant and lasting friends from it. Fourthly the assessment aspect was clear and well presented.”
“The Portus Field-school experience was a unique amazing and valuable learning opportunity. The staff were friendly supportive and professional and the students all had a fantastic time working and living together in a beautiful location for three weeks. I would recommend it to anyone and everyone!”
“The field school was absolutely fascinating – it enabled me to understand how various archaeological methods fitted together in such a large project. The fact that the field school is in Portus means that there is a wealth of Archaeology to discover and analyse which is all incredibly useful in determining how those who lived and worked here spent their lives. It is really worth attending!!!”
“Portus was the perfect choice for my first field school. All the instructors and
supervisors were engaging and cared about teaching the students and making sure we had a good understanding of the site its history and the work being done. It was nice to not be in the trenches all day but also learn about finds (documenting and cataloging them) and geophysics. These areas are just as important to the understanding of the site as the manual work within the trench. Although the fieldwork was hard it was also very rewarding. I found working and helping each other within the trench made for a much better experience and not only formed friendships but made us more productive. Thank you for a wonderful experience. I hope to see everyone next year!”
“I felt so incredibly lucky to be there. Portus is at the cutting edge of archaeological excavations in the world in terms of technology techniques, sheer scale and discoveries. I’ve met some really great people. And I learned so much! Portus is a truly incredible site and the professors and supervisors are amazing. I loved it.”
“Incredible site brought to life by an inspirational team of supervisors with plenty of opportunities for learning meeting a range of people from all over the world – and for fun!”
“The Portus Field School has been a fantastic learning opportunity for me. I have obtained valuable excavation GIS and flotation experience. The supervisors and staff care about the education of their students and it showed in their dedication and hard work everyday. The Portus Field School has been a life changing experience and hope to take part in the project again in the future!”
“Participating in the Portus Project was one of the greatest experiences I’ve had as a student of Classical Archaeology. I could not have found a better field school. Portus itself is just an amazing site and extremely important for understanding the relationship Rome shared with its provinces. Moreover the directors of the field school have invested a lot of time energy commitment and interest in their work at Portus and their passion for the site was definitely transmitted to me and to the other students. I hope to participate in the Portus Project again in the future.”
Video interview with one of the Portus Field School students who travelled over from the USA in 2013.
To find out more about how you could participate in the Portus Field School contact Dr Dragana Mladenovic (D.Mladenovic@soton.ac.uk), the Field School Director.