Field School Activities
Students will gain experience in all aspects of the archaeological process. The most obvious of which is the actual excavation of material from the ground. Students will learn proper excavation techniques using tools such as pick axes, shovels, hand axes, and trowels. Students will directly participate in digging and learn how to identify various materials such as pottery, bone, and metal fragments.
Handling and Processing Artefacts
Following the work in the field, students will take part in the cleaning and sorting of the finds from the day. Interested students may also work directly with our conservator to learn conservation techniques relating to pottery and metal objects. Depending on the volume of material to be conserved, some students will also have the opportunity to divide their time between the conservation lab and the field.
Archaeological Drawing and Recording
Apart from the actual digging itself, students will also learn how to properly record the excavation through archaeological drawings. Students will learn how to record stratigraphic layers and archaeological features and take elevation readings during the excavation.
Due to the size of the settlement, students will have the opportunity to participate in a surface survey of the area and its surrounding landscape. During the 2019 season, a metal detection survey was conducted around the settlement’s walls. Due to promising results, we plan on continuing this survey in addition to the excavation work.
Archaeological Field Trips
On the weekends, we typically visit local archaeological sites and museum throughout the Alentejo. These trips can range from visiting Roman Villas or Medieval Castles to nearby historical cities such as Evora, Beja, and Merida. These trips can be a great way to learn about some of the local history of the area, or to just lounge about and be a tourist. On some afternoons, we will also visit local sites in Redondo itself and the surrounding area.
Life on the Project
Students will be housed together in the town of Redondo, near the site. Due to space considerations, most rooms will be shared by two or three students. Rooms will be separated by gender. Outside of individual rooms, the rest of the house is communal: kitchen, bathroom, living room etc. As a result, students will be responsible for cleaning and keeping the house tidy. Students will be responsible for doing their own laundry (we have a washing machine).
The project provides 3 meals a day on weekdays. Breakfast will be eaten at the dig house and students are expected to prepare this meal themselves (cereal, yoghurts, toast, etc.). We will eat lunch at a local restaurant in town. For dinner, we will have food delivered from a local restaurant and eat in the dig house. On weekends, students will be responsible for their own meals (there are a number of restaurants and grocery stores in town).
Students should expect to eat the local Alentejan cuisine. The project will do its best to accommodate dietary requirements, but students must inform us of any dietary requirements or allergies in their forms. We are able to accommodate vegetarian diets, but any other diets must be discussed with one of the directors before the start of the project.
Students are expected to provide their own transport to Portugal (the Lisbon Airport). Airfare is not included in the project’s tuition cost. Once within Portugal, transportation will be provided by the field school. Upon arrival at the Lisbon airport on May 18th (or May 25th), students will be greeted by Rui, Alex, and Jemima and will be taken to Redondo as a group. At the end of end of the 3 or 4 week session, we will also transport students from Redondo to the Lisbon airport. We are also able to drop you off elsewhere in Lisbon if required.
Living in Redondo
Redondo is a small and friendly town located in the central Alentejo. Students will have plenty of time to explore and experience the local culture. Although small, Redondo has a few museums and even a castle! Most cafes and the local cultural centre also provide free wifi, so feel free to bring your personal devices. Students can also purchase relatively cheap data plans from the local general store.
Health and Safety
Every effort is taken to ensure the safety of all participants in the excavation. Archaeological fieldwork is a strenuous process which requires a great deal of manual labour. Students should ensure that they are healthy enough to take part in physical labour. As a Mediterranean climate, Portugal experiences a relatively mild winter. However, the mornings and nights will be quite cold. Students should prepare accordingly and make certain that they pack enough warm clothing.
Please note that all clothing will potentially become dirty, so don’t excavate in any clothing which you really care about. All students are expected to bring ample water with them to site, regularly apply sunscreen, and to wear closed toe shoes to site. If you have any concerns, feel free to contact the directors beforehand. Also, if you ever do not feel well on site, please let a director know as soon as possible.
Students should make sure to inform us of any medical conditions during application. Students should also ensure that they bring any necessary medications (and enough to last the duration of their stay) with them to Portugal. Redondo has multiple pharmacies and a hospital in the case of an emergency. Participants are required to provide their own health and/or travel insurance. Please check that your insurance will cover your stay in Portugal.