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Spring 2020 Extended Study to Southern Italy

Classics 253E: Excavating in Southern Italy
Director: Professor Rebecca Miller Ammerman, Department of Classics
On-campus course: Spring 2020
Tentative extended study dates: May 24 - June 16, 2020
Destinations: Sicily, Southern Italy, Paestum
Course credit: One credit for CLAS 253; one-half credit for CLAS 253E
Prerequisites: CLAS 253 (spring 2020 semester) and Greek 121 (or equivalent)
Application deadline: November 1, 2019

On-campus seminar followed by three-week extended study in Italy


The main destination is Paestum, Italy, where students will participate in an archaeological excavation during the second and third week of the extended study group. Students will travel to several archaeological sites in Sicily (Segesta, Selinus, Agrigento, Naxos, Syracuse) and southern Italy (Reggio Calabria, Sybaris, Heraclea, Metaponto, Satriano) before the field school at the excavations at Paestum begins. A daytrip to Pithecussae on the island of Ischia is planned for the weekend between the two weeks of excavation at Paestum.

Students will approach the history and achievements of the western Greeks through the study of archaeological excavations conducted at the Greeks’ initial foundation of an ethnically-mixed — Phoenician, Greek, Italic — trading port of Pithecussae on the island of Ischia and their first settlements on the mainland of the Italian peninsula at Cumae and in Sicily at Naxos and Syracuse. By exploring the discoveries of archaeologists, students will learn about the impressive achievements of the western Greeks in urban-planning and law, sacred architecture and the arts, fortifications and warfare, philosophy and science.

Students will moreover have an opportunity to learn at firsthand about the practice of archaeology by conducting fieldwork under the guidance of Rebecca Ammerman, who is the director of a new field project at Paestum. The project focusses on the sanctuary of Athena, where one of the best-preserved Doric temples of the Greek world stands, and a large sector of the residential area of the urban center of Paestum. Students will engage in hands-on learning about archaeological field methods.