Join An Archaeological Dig in Rome This Summer

This summer, spend six weeks preserving Roman history alongside professional archaeologists at an Italian excavation site. The American Institute for Roman Culture, the sole sponsor of the Villa delle Vignacce excavation site in the suburbs of Rome, offers a summer program enabling virtually anyone to participate in an archaeological dig.

Villa delle Vignacce translates to “Villa of the Vineyards” and was built in the 2nd century AD. Its ancient purpose is still unknown, but archaeologists speculate that it may have been a public bathhouse or a villa. Rome’s Park of the Aqueducts, a network of ancient aqueducts and the location of Villa delle Vignacce, provided the main water supply to the ancient settlement’s fountains and bath complex. Villa delle Vignacce is undocumented and unspoiled, allowing participants a rare opportunity to discover, preserve, and connect bits of ancient history to find out the site’s role in second-century Roman society.

The six-week program begins with a week of education and training; the remaining five weeks are spent digging on-site for nine hours a day. The program welcomes people from all ages, countries, and educational backgrounds – high school grads, college students, adult professionals, and retirees. You don’t need to speak Italian or be an archaeology or classics major to participate.

The dig requires lots of physical activity – digging all day in the hot Italian sun means taking lots of water and shade breaks – but also offers the rewards of living in Rome and unearthing nearly 2,000-year-old artifacts. Email or visit to enroll and find out more about the program. –Elaine Murphy