2014 Poggio Colla Field School students and staff


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Field School Dates: June 27-July 31, 2015

To apply:

Non-SMU students contact Gretchen Meyers at:

For SMU students:
SMU in Italy: Archaeology/Poggio Colla Field School Application

Link to video about MVAP & Poggio Colla Field School on YouTube: Etruscan Project

Location: Tuscany, Italy
Application Deadline: March 1st each year
A student may submit an application to the SMU Education Abroad Office beginning on December 1st. Applications should be submitted no later than March 1st. Space is limited, so apply early. It is possible this program may be full before the March 1 deadline. Students can also enroll through Franklin and Marshall College.

Southern Methodist University, Franklin and Marshall College, Franklin University Switzerland, The University of Texas, and University of Pennsylvania Museum of Archaeology and Anthropology

Project Directors
P. Gregory Warden, Franklin College Switzerland and
Michael L.Thomas, The University of Texas

Poggio Colla Field School trains students on an Etruscan site about twenty-two miles north-east of Florence in the scenic Mugello Valley. The settlement on Poggio Colla spanned most of Etruscan history, from the seventh century B.C.E. until its destruction by the Romans at the beginning of the second century B.C.E. The first 11 seasons of excavation have revealed at least three major construction phases, including an extraordinarily rich Orientalizing/Archaic phase that includes the remains of a monumental structure on the acropolis, and two later phases when the site was turned into a fortified stronghold.

Period of occupation: Seventh through Second Centuries B.C.E.

Field Instructors guide students working in Poggio Colla Trenches PC 34 and PC 28

The season will focus on excavation of the hilltop sanctuary, conservation, and laboratory research. Students will receive training in Etruscan archaeology as well as in the theoretical and practical aspects of fieldwork from a professional staff that includes archaeologists, an architect, an illustrator, a surveyor, and a conservator. Students conduct research projects that replicate the methodologies of archaeological documentation and explication found in archaeological site publication. Much of the training takes place in the field or in the lab; however, lectures by the staff as well as by visiting scholars supplement on-site learning. The site's proximity to Florence allows for week-end visits to major museums and archaeological sites.

Students research field notebooks and finds in preparation for their final projects

Minimum age: 18

Experience required: None

Room and Board arrangements: Students and staff are housed in several farm houses near the town of Vicchio. The program cost includes 3 or 6 hours of credit, lodging, meals (Monday-Friday), and local commute. This price does not include travel to and from Italy and weekend meals.

Illustrator JoAnn Boscarino's drawings of 2013 Poggio Colla food


View from Monte Giove of Vicchio, in the Mugello Valley



Excavation house, Vigna, home to Poggio Colla Field School students


Greg Warden and students Hannah and William Nutt study Poggio Colla coins


All-you-can-eat picnic lunch on Poggio Colla: salads, tuna, eggs,
meat, cheese, bread, tomatoes, peanut butter, fruit, and more.


Poggio Colla dinner: pasta, ribs, sausages, homegrown vegetables, dessert.

Academic credit
Number of credits: 3 or 6 hours
Offered by: Southern Methodist University

Contact information:
Greg Warden
PO Box 750356, Southern Methodist University, Dallas, Texas 75225

To apply: SMU in Italy: Archaeology/Poggio Colla Field School Application

Contact information for Franklin College Switzerland:
Greg Warden, President
Franklin College Switzerland, Via Ponte Tresa 29, 6924 Sorengo-Lugano, Switzerland


Fields of sunflowers abound in the Mugello Valley

"Education is what survives when what has been learned is forgotten."
--B.F. Skinner

We believe that the Poggio Colla Field School offers one of the best opportunities available to learn the process and theory of archaeological excavation. This program also introduces the student to the cultural history of the Etruscans. Every year we modify the field school, often as a result of student feedback, in the hope of improving the didactic aspects of our program. At the same time, this is a real excavation that must conform to the limits of budget and time. Therefore as a field student, you must first and foremost be a participant of this project, and as mandated by archaeological codes of ethics, the archaeological process is the number one priority.

Andrea Summers and Michael Thomas instruct Poggio Colla field school students


Students excavating pithoi, roof tiles, and other finds in Trench PC 34

If you are taking this course for undergraduate credit, your grade will be based on the criteria, outlined below, that also provide you with a percentage breakdown of how your final grade will be determined. The underlying principle is that your grade is highly dependent on performance and attendance: your attendance at both the lectures and daily fieldwork/lab-work is required, and it is critical to your learning experience and to the success of the field season. Coursework will be made up of excavation, laboratory research, pottery washing and processing and survey experience. Your daily fieldwork schedule can vary by the demands of the excavation change.

Students participate in a pottery workshop


Molly Palmison and Ali Neugebauer wash pottery from their trench


Site architect Jess Galloway teaches field school students to use survey instruments


Trench tours give students a broad overview of the site and excavation progress


British students directed by Phil Perkins in Trench NW 4


Jessica Aither, Danielle Belanger, and Maia Van Dyke in Trench PC 33


View across the Mugello Valley from the archaeological site of Poggio Colla


View of the Mugello Valley from Vigna, the main excavation house


Poggio Colla romance: Survey Consultant Thijs Nales and Lab Assistant
Courtney Brasher met on the site in 2008, and later married.


For links to Student Research Projects, Field Reports, Student Diaries, the Field School Manual, and Lectures, go to:

Current Field Season

For views into the daily life of the field school and excavation process, see:

Daily Life at Poggio Colla Field School

Site Set-Up

Excavation Process

Season's End

SMU MLS Program

Video clip: students digging in Trenches PC 34 and 38

2009 field school students excavating Trench PC 38 on the arx of Poggio Colla in Tuscany