Stanford University

Disease Confinement in the Adriatic: Bosnia and Herzegovina, Italy

Undergraduate Field School

This is the first year of an exciting new fieldwork opportunity, led by Archaeology Center faculty member Krish Seetah. The Bosnia and Herzegovina and Italy field school is a continuation of ongoing research into disease and its spread, and complements the research from previous field seasons in Mauritius. This field school will be held from June 17 - July 27, 2019.

The summer 2019 fieldwork season will be held within close reach of both medieval economic superpowers that controlled the Adriatic Sea. The fieldwork will be undertaken on two sites contributing complementary data: Ljuti Do, a cemetery with bioarchaeological evidence of disease, which is located on a transportation route for slaves from central Bosnia to the coast, and the island of Torcello, a settlement with remains of the medieval organizational and managing measures to prevent disease from entering the community in the lagoon of Venice, Italy. 

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). For both locations, 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.

Application information: 

  • This field school opportunity is open to all undergraduates except graduating seniors.

  • Undergraduates from all majors are encouraged to apply.

  • Acceptance to the Bosnia and Herzegovina/Italy field school comes with 100% funding for all eligible expenses (includes flights, room and board, and materials used on site). Funding is generously provided by VPUE. Due to a funding cap from VPUE, 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.
  • 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.

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.


Applications are closed for summer 2019. Please check back next fall for summer 2020 opportunities!