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Archaeology & Anthropology Field Schools

Europe - Spain - Archaeological Field School Plaza de Armas - 2013

Archaeology Field School Location and Dates

Application Deadline
Start Date 2013-06-21
End Date 2013-07-14

Archaeology Field School Location

Écija, Spain

Archaeology Field School Tuition and Credits

Sponsoring College/Institution

Ayuntamiento de Écija (Seville)

Archaeology Field School Tuition

TUITION FEE: 700 € (Accomodation and meals are not included)

TUITITON FEE + FULL BOARD: 2.200 € (Accomodation and meals included)

Archaeology Field School Travel
Additional Information on Tution/Room and Board/Travel Costs

TUITION FEE: 700 € (Accomodation and meals are not included)

TUITITON FEE + FULL BOARD: 2.200 € (Accomodation and meals included)

A RESERVATION FEE OF 300 € must be paid in advance in the next 10 days after this registration. This fee will be deducted from the final price or refunded in case your application was not accepted.A deposit fee of 300 ? must be paid in advance within the next 10 days after the pre registration.

Once you have been accepted, we will contact you by email. To confirm your application, the rest
of the fees (1900 € or 400 €) must be paid before the 10th of MAY 2013 by bank transfer.

What does the programme include?

A) TUITION FEES (700 ? )
Instruction during fieldwork and labwork
Seminars and workshops
Medical insurance
Administrative costs

B) FULL FEES (2200 ? )
Full Board and room for the duration of the program
Instruction during fieldwork and labwork
Seminars and workshops
Medical insurance
Administrative costs
Excursions and other activities

Round-trip airfare to Spain and travel to Écija
Please be aware that there are only 30 places available and the admission will be carried
out according to the profile and in the order applications arrived.

Cancellation and Refund Policy.

Before the 10th of May whatever payment has been done is refundable except for 50€ from the
application fee. Later than the 10th of April all the payments are non-refundable.

Travel Arrangements
The student is responsible to make sure to book the airfare on time to arrive in Écija by the starting date of the Field School. We encourage participants to purchase travel insurance to cover medical, accident, baggage loss, delays and personal liability. You might also want to protect yourself against cancellation fees.

Medical Insurance
All the students are covered with an insurance providing healthcare, accident and civil liability.

Archaeology Field School Description


This three-weeks Field School is intended for undergraduate and graduate students who are
willing to gain experience in historical European periods. The idea is to get familiar with the
archaeological record but also with the study of the material culture from different periods
applying the latest archaeological and technological methodologies.

This Field School is divided by morning sessions where the archaeological excavation of the
remains will take part, and the post excavation laboratory analysis and seminars will be hold
during the afternoons. A tour to a key historical city of Andalusia will be organized every

It is our intention to offer high quality training during the excavation process but also during the post
excavation. In addition, specific workshops will be taught twice a week to improve the
archaeological training.

We would like to welcome students from different countries to get a valuable experience in
archaeology with the possibility to excavate remains from the Roman period up to the Medieval
Ages at Plaza de Armas, Écija, Sevilla, Spain.

1.1. The area

The field school is based in Écija (Seville, Spain) which is located in the heart of Andalucía, at about 90 km from the city of Seville and 135 km from Malaga.

The main and nearest airports are the following:
? Seville: 78,1 km
? Málaga: 143 km
? Faro: 290 km
? Madrid: 450 km (also connected by AVE-high velocity train)

1.2.- Historical Background

Although its oldest remains date back to the 8th century BC, Colonia Augusta Firma Astigi (Écija)
was founded by the Roman emperor Augustus in 14 BC as capital of one of the four conventi iuridici
of the ancient province of Baetica.

Écija was settled beside the river Genil, the main tributary of the Guadalquivir, and soon this colony became one of the most prominent cities in Roman Spain, as core of the main productive region of olive oil which was bought by a public agency (the Annona) and sent to Rome.

This trade reached its top during the 1st and 2nd centuries AD, and whereas Écija was embellished
with monuments and impressive public buildings, the amphorae used to send out the olive oil were
dumped as much as to give birth to present Monte Testaccio in Rome.

The splendor of Roman Écija and surrounding countryside is revealed by many sites in good
preservation, both in the city itself and along the Genil river valley.

The olive oil production recoiled dramatically after the fall of the Roman Empire. During the
Islamic Period, however, the strategic position of Écija by the Genil river allowed the city to keep its importance as a strategic location among Seville, Córdoba, and Málaga. This importance is
still witnessed by the outstanding remains from that period, such as the city walls and the castle
(al-qasr), where our field school will take place.

Écija became again a wealthy city from the 16th century onwards. Dating to this period there are
an enormous representation of baroque churches, monasteries and palaces, residential and public buildings, among many others, offering to the visitor the best representation of the latest period of splendor in the city.

All this rich heritage makes of Écija one of the best preserved historical cities in Spain.

The archaeological site of Plaza de Armas
The field school will take place at the ”Plaza de Armas‘, the old castle that used to be residence of the main authorities who acted on behalf of the king. The present castle or alcázar (from the arab word al-qasr) was built during the Almohade period (12th century AD), but the remains underneath date back to much earlier. That is why we talk about it as an archaeological site rather than a castle in the common way we are used to thinking.

In 2001 and 2002 extensive excavation was performed in order to know better the history of the site, and so an archaeological sequence of the place could be drawn at several points of the castle. However, most of its 6000 m² are still awaiting to be excavated!

Pre Roman Écija (8th-3rd centuries BC). The site of Plaza de Armas is settled upon the only part of the city which rises slightly over the river Genil valley, and thus it is the safest point in the area to avoid flooding. This surely explains why prior to the Roman conquest traces of public and private buildings are to be found, as early as the 8th century BC. But it was during the Iron Age (6th-3rd centuries BC) when the first buildings were built in stone and clay, pointing to the urban character of Écija before the foundation of the colony by the emperor Augustus.

The Roman conquest (3rd c. BC-5th c. AD). During the long Roman rule the site underwent many
changes. It is still uncertain the nature of Écija as settlement during the Republican Period (3rd-1st century BC), but the archaeological remains of Plaza de Armas suggest that by the early 1st century AD the area was fully urbanized. There existed a prominent building which the archaeologists have interpreted as a public complex that could have been the first capitol of the city, but further research
is needed to confirm and explain better this hypothesis.

This complex was later demolished and this area of the city became residential. The remains of a
Roman house (domus) were excavated in 2002, and an impressive mosaic was brought to light. This mosaic is still in situ and so the students of the field school will have the opportuniy of working around it.

In the Late Roman period Écija reduced its size, but it is not possible to know if this part of the city was abandoned, because the upper part of the Roman and early medieval stratigraphy was
destroyed when the muslim castle was built in the
12th century.

The Islamic period (7th-13th centuries AD). Nevertheless, the researchers have stated that the
place must have been occupied during the early Islamic period (8th-10th centuries AD), since
many archaeological remains of this moment are spread all over the site, a scatter that must have
been done during the building of the castle.

Therefore it was the Almohade dinasty which built the present castle, previuosly levelling the hill
and thus erasing the traces of the early muslim period. The alcázar was intended to defend the
city against the Christian advance and was built as the strongest hold of the new city walls, as
well as the residence of the governors which ruled on behalf of the muslim king of Seville.

It is also usual to find cemeteries inside islamic cities, and so a small one was found during the excavation of 2001-2002, dating to the Almohade period as well.

The Christian conquest (14th-15th centuries AD). In spite of the importance of the muslim
structures of the castle, only the walls were preserved after the christians retook the city in 1240. They converted the fortress into a rather residential building, and so demolished the former
structures while new ones were erected, among which we must mention new towers and cisterns.

The Modern Ages (16th-19th AD. Although the residence of the royal authorities, the alcázar
soon lost its military function and was abandoned. Whereas Écija flourished as a beautiful
baroque city full of palaces and churches, its old castle decayed, and so the City Council deemed
it safe for the neighbours to demolish several towers and walls in order to prevent collapses.
However, after many attempts to transfer the place to private owners, by the mid 18th century it became a picadero, a Spanish word to define a place where noble knights trained themselves
with horses and other equestrian tehcniques.

Contemporary Times (19th-20th centuries AD. After 1800, the place was abandoned once again and further demolitions and destructions occurred. Later attempts were made to recover the Plaza de Armas as a public space, with no success until the excavations of 2001-2002.

The historical value of the site of Plaza de Armas. The excavations of 2001-2002 were the final
step of a long process of recovery of the former castle of Écija by the City Council and its Heritage Service. These excavations allowed to reveal a rich archaeological heritage which had remained concealed for so long; furthermore, for the first time in 200 years the old castle will be reestablished as a public space for local citizens.

And yet there is so much to achieve and discover... The site of Plaza de Armas represents one of the most complete and best preserved archaeological records in Andalusia. You will have the opportunity to choose among this overwhelming variety of features:

a) From a functional point of view, the archaeological record of Plaza de Armas includes
domestic and public buildings, a possible temple, a castle, a cemetery, etc. In short,you will have any possible type of archaeological site to choose upon, depending on your likes and preferences.

b) From a chronological view, the sequence of the site spans from Late Prehistory up to Contemporary Times: Late Bronze Age, Iron Age, Roman, Islamic, Medieval, Modern...All relevant periods are represented in Plaza de Armas.

Therefore, you will be able to excavate a medieval necropolis, an Islamic and medieval castle, a Roman house and quarter, a Prehistorical hut... But you also will be trained in many other techniques, thanks to the excepcional nature of the site: topography, building archaeology, archaeological drawing and planning, pottery classification and inventory, etc.

Students interested in taking part in the Field School are required to register BEFORE THE 10th
OF APRIL 2013. Please visit and download the registration form.

This form must be filled in and sent along with an updated CV to: fieldschool@bioarqueologia.


1. Who can participate in the program?
Anyone over 18 years old can participate in the program, but our groups usually consist of university students and recent graduates. Please contact us to see if you are eligible.
The only prerequisite for participants is a desire to carry out archaeological fieldwork at important historical sites.

2.Do I need previous fieldwork experience?

No. These programs are designed for people who want to learn and practice archaeology including
those without previous fieldwork experience. You will work under the close supervision of
professional archaeologists that will teach you what you need to know.

3. Do I need to know Spanish to participate?

No. Language has never been a barrier for people to participate in this program and all of our
instructors speak English. Nevertheless, our programs will offer plenty of opportunities for those willing to practice a second language.

4. Do I need to be a student of Archaeology / History / Anthropology?

No. People of any background can participate in this program.

5. Are there any age limits?

Yes. We can not accept participants under 18 years old.

6. What size are the teams?

The team has a maximum of 30 participants.

7. Is my registration fee refundable?

The registration fee is 300 € of which 250 € are refundable until the 10th of May. If you want to
cancel your application, you should do it before this deadline and you will be eligible for a refund. After this deadline the refund is not granted. In case your application is not accepted you will receive a full refund.

8. How soon will I know if I have been accepted into the program?

We will send you a confirmation of your acceptance within a week after we receive your application.

9. What is the application deadline?

The application deadline is the 10th of April of 2013. If all the places are not covered we might
accept applications until the program is full.

10. How do I join my team?

With your program information we will send you directions to the rendezvous point, usually at the
closest airport the first day of the program. If you can't get to the rendezvous location on time we will give you directions on how to reach the excavation site by yourself.

11. Do you provide air travel?

No.We do not provide air travel. ATLAS Archaeology and Heritage is not a travel agent nor we provide any kind of travel services. You will need to book your flight.

12. How hard is the work?

The work will mostly consist of digging the ground with different tools, from pick axes to small trowels. You will need to transport dirt by wheelbarrow or buckets. There will also be lab work and artifact washing and restoration. The work is hard, so you should be in good health.

13. Is it really hot in the field?

Temperatures in Spain are unpredictable, even in summer. But the temperature at Écija, Seville
can reach up to 100°F (38°C) at the hottest time of the day, but we usually stop work before it
reaches that temperature. In the evenings, temperatures can drop to around 77°F (25°C).

14. Is it a problem if I am a vegetarian or have any dietary restrictions?

No. It is not difficult to accommodate a vegetarian diet, but if you require other dietary restrictions please let us know and we will do our best.

15. What types of food will we eat?
We will eat local food. The Spanish diet is very diverse and healthy, including plenty of fruits and vegetables.

16. What is the meal schedule?

Breakfast is a light meal, eaten before work. At about 10.30 am we will stop work for a snack, usually a sandwich and/or a piece of fruit. Lunch is the main meal of the day, eaten at around 2
pm. Dinner is lighter, at around 9 pm.

17. What do I need to bring?

With your program information we will send you a list of suggested items and clothing that will be
useful for your program.

18. Do I need any specific tools?
No. All archaeological tools and equipment will be provided on site, but you can bring if you want
your small archaeological tool kit.

19. What if I get sick during the program?

Since we are based in a city, there are plenty of medical facilities including a hospital at a short
distance from the excavation site. If you need any kind of medical care you will be transported to the closest health care center. All participants in the Plaza de Armas Field School are covered by a complimentary insurance program providing full medical and surgical treatment as well as prescription drugs. Please contact us for complete details.

20. Do I need travel insurance?

Travel insurance is recommended. In the rare event that a program is canceled, ATLAS
Archaeology and Heritage will refund participation costs, but will not refund travel expenses.

Archaeology Field School Additional Information

Time Period

Pre Roman Écija(8th-3rd centuries BC)
The Roman conquest(3rd c. BC-5th c. AD)
The Islamic period(7th-13th centuries AD)
The Christian conquest(14th-15th centuries AD

How is the project area accessed each day or

Number of years this Archaeology Field School has been in operation

On rain days will there be lab work?


Will there be additional organized activities?

We will take advantage of our free time to visit some of the key historical cities around Écija. These excursions are free, and very useful to give you a broader exposure to the cultural context.

Will there be additional organized activities?




-02/07/2013 GIS




Is travel restriced during free time?

On most excavations we rest on Sundays. During the week and on Saturdays we offer free and optional excursions to sites of cultural and archaeological interest in the site area. You may choose to do other activities on your own. If you want to visit other cities in Spain we recommend that you take some days to travel on your own before or after the program.

Archaeology Field School Contact Information and Website

Field School Website:

Field School Contact Information

C/Cánovas del Castillo nº4
41400 - Écija, Seville

Field School Contact E-mail:
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Field School Contact Website:

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