mosaic tiles aerial view

Sicily - Archaeological Field School

CNRS 335 or CNRS 535 | 3 credits

About the course

This program is being led by UBC faculty Roger Wilson. 

The sixth season of the UBC Archaeological Excavation in Sicily is planned to take place at the site of Gerace (province of Enna) for four weeks, between May 6th and June 1st2019. The site is that of a Roman villa right in the heart of Sicily, situated in a fertile agricultural land surrounded by gentle hills. In 2017–18 the UBC team had the amazing experience of exposing a Roman decorative mosaic pavement which had not been walked on for 1500 years. It even had an inscription on it: “May the Philippiani estate prosper! May Asclepiades grow old with his family! [We had] joy from winning in the Capitoline games [in Rome]!” These are strong voices from the past, telling us the names of the people that lived at Gerace in the fourth century CE – Philippianus and his son Asclepiades. So come and be part of the 2019 team that will continue this exciting work, exploring more of the villa’s bath-house and other areas of the site! In addition, every weekend you will have the chance of visiting further wonderful places in this magical island.

For an application form, and to learn more about both the history of Gerace and the dig in 2019, visit the Department’s webpage,  under ‘Archaeological Field Schools’ on the Homepage of the Department of CNERS. 

 Please note that the application form needs to be returned to the director of the project directly ( and not via the on-line Go Global application system.

About the experience

This will be a chance for you to experience the thrill of discovery, of revealing new information about people in the past, of finding objects that they handled and that nobody else has handled for over 1,500 years. This project is about creating history with your own hands!

You will learn all about what archaeology in the field comprises, with the help of two extremely experienced full-time field archaeologists who are also brilliant teachers. Among many new skills that you will acquire, you will be taught 

  •      The importance of archaeological stratigraphy
  •      How to make accurate and detailed site records of every layer revealed
  •      How to survey and take readings from a level
  •      How to use a trowel properly when excavating
  •      The importance of washing finds in order to study them properly
  •      An understanding of what objects mean in their context 
  •      The importance of seeds and animal bones in archaeology 
  •      The importance of good photography as an archaeological record

A typical day might include:

  • Work on site for five hours in the morning and two in the afternoon
  • Pot-washing and pottery study in the afternoon (in rotation with digging on site)
  • Excursions to other towns and archaeological sites (each Sunday)

Notable environmental conditions

  • May is a temperate month in Sicily and there might be some rain; it will be cold first thing in the morning, but warm by lunchtime, and getting warmer gradually each day (but nothing like as hot as it is in high summer)
  • You will be encouraged to drink lots of water, which is provided free of charge
  • Digging is by its very nature quite hard work, but the reward is that on a Roman site you keep finding things!


Accommodation, within walking distance of the excavation site (approximately 8 minutes), will be in a bed and breakfast (agriturismo) called Il Mandorleto. Early breakfast and dinner will be provided there; a second breakfast will be available on site; and lunch will be a picnic, eaten under shaded cover in the garden of Il Mandorleto, after the conclusion of each morning’s work. Among other amenities, Il Mandorleto has a swimming pool. 

General timeline

From May 6th 2019 for four weeks 

The core of the program will take place at a single location in the countryside south of Enna, in Sicily, Italy. It will last four weeks. Excursions to other places on three Sundays are optional but are available at no extra charge. Prior to your time in the field, you will be required to attend pre-departure sessions in Vancouver. 



To be accepted for this Global Seminar, you have to meet both program-specific requirements as well as Go Global’s general eligibility. Please note the second paragraph below under ‘Program fees and cost’ for exceptions. There are 15 places available for UBC students. An informal interview will be held in early January 2019 and notification of whether or not you have been successful will be made in the third week of that month

Program-specific requirements

No prior archaeological experience is necessary, although preference will be given to those who have.

Program fees and costs

Approximately CAD 3,410 +  3 credit tuition and flight

The final fee depends on the number of students in the program. The Go Global fee is built into the Program Fee and is payable upon acceptance to the program.

All qualifying students will receive a $1,000 Go Global Award.

However, graduating students, former students, and those who do not want to take CNRS 335/535, while they are most welcome to apply to join the project, will not be eligible for the Go Global award (see details on the website link above). 

Program fee includes Program fee DOES NOT include
Accommodation Tuition*
Program-related travel Flight*
Program-related excursions Incidentals*
Meals *depending on program
Go Global fee ($415.00)

*UBC Tuition - Not included. Part of your costs

This amount will differ for domestic and international students. This amount will be assigned to you on the Student Service Centre (SSC) according to normal UBC tuition timelines. Read about tuition fees.

This amount is not determined or applied by Go Global.

All students participating in a Global Seminar will have tuition applied to their SSC account.

*Flights - Not Included. Part of your costs

Travel to your destination is a separate cost. You are responsible for arranging your own travel. You should not book your flight until you are notified to book. All Global Seminars only run if there is a minimum number of students enrolled.

*Incidentals - Not Included. Part of your costs

Some examples include personal mobile communication, personal transportation that is not related to the learning outcomes of the program, additional meals that are not already identified as part of the program fee, immunizations, Visas, etc.

Please contact a Global Seminar Advisor if you have questions about the program fee. Connecting early with an Enrolment Service Advisor will also be helpful in order to plan for your trip.

Global Seminars refund policy

Adjustment on deposits

Students are eligible for an adjustment of their deposit under the following circumstances:

Withdrawal after you accept your spot in the program

  • You are eligible to have your Global Seminar deposit adjusted from $750 to $93.25 (ie: you receive a $656.75 credit)

Withdrawal after deposit posted on SSC

  • You are eligible to have your Global Seminar deposit adjusted from $750 to $321.75 (ie: you receive a $428.25 credit)

Withdrawal after deposit due date

  • The deposit and all remaining program fees are completely non-refundable. Exceptions may be determined at the discretion of Go Global. 

Any funds allocated to students through the ARA program must be returned in their entirety.

Students who decide to withdraw their application must submit a request in writing by email to the Global Seminar Advisor at


If you are considering applying for a Go Global program and identify with having a disability or pre-existing health condition (mental or physical) which could impact your participation, or if you require academic accommodations, you can contact the following offices and meet with an Accessibility Advisor before the start of the program:

The Centre for Accessibility (Vancouver) 604 822-5844

Disability Resource Centre (Okanagan) 250 807-8053

Pre-departure policy

Safety Abroad

UBC is committed to preparing students for safe and successful international experiences. In order to achieve this, any student participating in a Go Global Program must complete the following:

  • All UBC Student Safety Abroad requirements
  • Go Global Program-specific pre-departure requirements (includes both online and in-person components)

Failure to successfully complete these and any other requirements may result in withdrawal from the Go Global Program.


Global Seminars Advisor

Student Advising

Drop in advising - Monday, Tuesday and Thursday from 1:00-3:00pm

Please email with your student number in the subject line.

Global Seminars Advisor

Telephone: 604 822 0942

Fax: 604 822 9885

UBC Life Building
6138 Student Union Blvd
Vancouver, BC V6T 1Z1


9:00 am - 4:15 pm
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9:00 am - 4:15 pm
9:00 am - 4:15 pm
9:00 am - 4:15 pm