University of Rochester

Research in ATHS

Summer Program in Italy

The Ancient Roman Aqueduct of Arezzo

This course provides a unique opportunity to learn about and participate in a collaborative international research project aimed at tracing the route of the ancient Roman aqueduct of Arezzo, Italy. Little survives of the aqueduct above the ground surface today, and the goal of the study is to use geophysical, archaeological, and engineering research methodologies to establish the route of the aqueduct as well as to understand better the history and technical features of the aqueduct. This is an excellent opportunity to work closely in a one-on-one setting with professional scholars and to participate in original interdisciplinary research while also receiving course credit and seeing a beautiful and interesting part of the world.

The course includes a pre-departure component in which participants receive instruction in the engineering of ancient Roman aqueducts and in geophysical prospection. The class then spends three weeks in Arezzo, where students learn through hands-on work to carry out archaeological excavation and geophysical surveys with a magnetic gradiometer and ground-penetrating radar. In conjunction with the geophysical fieldwork, students learn data acquisition and processing basics, how to interpret results in a Geographic Information System (GIS) environment, and to evaluate the pros and cons of each method of geophysical prospection. Participants also learn about the history and archaeology of ancient Arezzo through lectures, readings, and guided museum and archaeological site visits. Participants live in the historic center of Arezzo, a small but vibrant city in Tuscany that has a rich cultural history stretching back to at least the sixth century BC. The program is focused on ancient Arezzo, but participants will also have the opportunity to explore modern Arezzo.

The project is sponsored by the University of Rochester and the Accademia Petrarca di Arezzo, in collaboration with the Soprintendenza per i beni archeologici della Toscana and the University of Southampton. Participants receive course credit from the University of Rochester’s Department of Earth and Environmental Science or Department of Religion and Classics. Course credit can also be counted toward Rochester’s interdisciplinary major in Archaeology, Technology, and Historical Structures. Enrollment priority will be given to students at the University of Rochester and other institutions in western New York who can attend pre-departure sessions in Rochester. If space is available and other arrangements can be made for inclusion in the pre-departure sessions (e.g. electronically), applications from prospective participants at other universities will also be considered.

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