Stanford University

Disease Confinement in the Adriatic: Bosnia and Herzegovina

Note for Summer 2023:

The Stanford Archaeology Center plans to offer the Bosnia and Herzegovina field school in Summer 2023, either in person or remotely. Based on potential Stanford travel restrictions, the Archaeology Center will be making a determination about whether our field schools will be conducted remotely or in person by early Spring quarter 2023. 

The dates of this field school offering will be June 19 - July 15th, 2023.

Undergraduate Field School

This field school is led by Archaeology Center faculty member Krish Seetah. The summer 2023 fieldwork season will be held within close reach of medieval economic superpowers - Dubrovnik & Venice - that controlled the Adriatic Sea. The fieldwork will be undertaken at two sites, Milavići cemetery and Hatelji multiperiod burial ground, both with bioarchaeological evidence of disease, located on a former transportation route for slaves from central Bosnia to the coast.

In person: In the field, you will learn fundamental archaeological field research skills, such as tool and equipment handling, principles of archaeological excavation, proper recording of the layers and finds (in paper, photographic and digital form) and artifact managements (cataloguing, storing and preparation for analyses). The full extent of the excavations will incorporate the concepts and principles of landscape archaeology, using numerous well-established protocols: landscape digital technologies (geophysics, a series of GIS analyses, UAV rendered maps, 3D models of the tombstones), training in epigraphy, geomorphology, in human and animal osteology and the varieties of sampling for further micro-archaeological analyses.

Remote: The non-contact contingency plan for this project will involve students supporting our work to digitize a large and unique repository of burial archives. Students would help to transcribe this historical dataset – containing evidence of cause of death, age, place of death etc., - into a searchable database. This would allow us to correlate ecological conditions and demography with transmission profiles over ~100 years, which could then also form the basis for standalone student projects. 

In addition, students will support our team to produce 3-D models of the cemetery locations themselves, which are a rich cultural heritage. This will be based on existing digital imagery and drone aerial footage, which will then be used for virtual reality expositions (we have a VR expert as part of our team). Students may also work on a number of smaller sub-projects, including digitization of excavation documents, modeling of artifacts and human remains from within the graves themselves, and large-scale GIS mapping of our sites.


  • Archaeological record-keeping
  • Disease modeling
  • Archaeological excavation
  • Cultural exchange

Requirements for participation:

  • Students accepted to our field schools are required to participate in pre-departure meetings with the faculty leader of their program in the quarter prior to departure. Each field school has different pre-departure requirements that will be communicated by the faculty leader. 
  • Upon their return to Stanford, the Archaeology Center requires that all field school students participate in SURPS (Symposia for Undergraduate Research and Public Service). Students from each field school are expected to work together to complete an application, prepare a poster, and present at the SURPS event the Friday of reunion-homecoming weekend.
  • Each of our field schools is part of an ongoing research project led by a Stanford faculty member. While in the field, undergraduates are expected to contribute to the team effort of the archaeological project at the faculty member's direction. Field work can take the form of a number of different activities, from clearing undergrowth in preparation for excavation to laboratory analysis of archaeological samples. Each day's activities can look different, and may change depending on the evolving direction of the research. Students participating in a field school should be prepared to be flexible and responsive to the instructions of the faculty member or other senior project staff.

Application information: 

  • This field school opportunity is open to all undergraduates except graduating seniors.
  • Undergraduates from all majors are encouraged to apply.
  • No prior knowledge of archaeology is required, although we prefer to support students who will pursue an archaeology-centered career. All necessary training will be provided while in the field.
  • Applicants will need an updated passport by the time of acceptance
  • Acceptance to the Bosnia and Herzegovina field school comes with funding for eligible expenses subject to the budget of the project. Housing, daily meals, and materials used on site will be fully covered by the project. The Archaeology Center will issue a stipend to students to purchase flights based on real costs of flights to and from their field site. Students will be informed of the stipend limit prior to booking. Per university policy, the Archaeology Center does not pay for personal travel outside the dates or locations of field schools. 
  • If the Bosnia and Herzegovina archaeology field school is run remotely, accepted students will receive stipends from VPUE. Stipend amounts will be determined by VPUE and communicated to students when they are accepted to the field school.
  • Students who plan to participate in an archaeology field school cannot receive a major grant or a Chappell-Lougee scholarship within the same academic year as their field school.
  • Note for Summer 2023: To be eligible, undergraduate students must have completed two full-time enrolled quarters this academic year by the time their full-time grant funded project begins (summer quarter), and they must use their Flex Term during the full-time project opportunity. 

Learn more about general field school opportunities with the Stanford Archaeology Center.

Applications for 2023 will open in January and will close on March 3, 2023. Read more about the opportunity and Apply Here!