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  • Locations: Naples, Italy; Pompeii, Italy; Rome, Italy
  • Program Terms: Winter Break
  • Budget Sheets: Winter Break
  • This program is currently not accepting applications.
Fact Sheet:
Minimum GPA (Undergraduate): 2.25 Minimum GPA (Graduate): 3.0
Language of Instruction: English Housing: Campus Housing, Hotel
Number of Credits Offered: 3 Eligible Population: 01 Freshman, 02 Sophomore, 03 Junior, 04 Senior, Graduate
Type of Program: Faculty-led Area of Study: Geography and Geoinformation Science, Honors, Anthropology, Geology, History, Integrative Studies
Open to non-Mason Students: Yes
Program Description:
Rome and Pompeii

The Rise of Roman Civilization in Rome and Pompeii

What is Rome really made of? What conditions favored her fortune? What interplay of territory (natural processes, climate, and resources) and culture contributed to the rise of Roman civilization? By taking this interdisciplinary course in urban geology/geoarchaeology, students will discover how Roman civilization took advantage of a series of favorable geological events that shaped the landscape and provided the raw material to grow and flourish.  The rocks formed by volcanoes (tuffs) and deposited by water (travertine) were transformed by the ingenuity of the Roman engineers and architects into buildings and infrastructures. Likewise, the waters resources of the nearby regions were harnessed in the most developed system of aqueducts capable to bring water to over one million people who lived in ancient Rome during the heights of the empire. What was not readily available was brought in from the provinces.

Program Details

Credits offered:

  • Anthropology (ANTH) 300: Civilizations
  • Geology (GEOL) 315: Topics in Geology II
  • Geography and Geoinformation Science (GGS) 398: Selected Topics in Global Change
  • History (HIST) 388: Topics in European History
  • Honors (HNRS) 240: Reading the Past
  • Anthropology (ANTH) 670: Regional Studies in Archaeology


This program is open to all undergraduate and graduate students including students who do not attend George Mason University.
Application Checklist



Students will be housed at the Trinity University campus managed by the Camaldolesi Nuns and located near the center of Ancient Rome on the Aventine Hill. The site overlooks  the Circus Maximus and the Palatine Hill, in walking distance from the Colosseum.  Housing amenities include wireless, courtyards and common spaces for class, study and relax and 24-hr security. Breakfast will be provided.


Students will share double or triple rooms at the Villa dei Misteri in Pompeii. Breakfast, dinner and wireless will be provided.

Program Cost (Winter 2018): $3270

  • Tuition (3 credits)
  • Housing
  • Daily breakfast
  • Transportation to field sites and from Naples to Rome
  • Field work excursions and equipment rental
  • Welcome and farewell dinners
  • 4 dinners in Naples
  • Pre-Departure Orientation
  • International Emergency Insurance
Not Included:
  • Round-trip airfare
  • Other transportation
  • Some meals
  • Personal spending

Program Itinerary (Winter 2017)*

Day Activity
Day 1 Arrive in Naples. Meeting with course director Optional visit to downtown Naples. Welcome dinner.
Day 2 Visit to the sites of Pompeii and Oplontis
Day 3 Vesuvius hike; Visit to Herculaneum
Day 4 The Phlegrean Fields volcanic area. Pozzuoli and the Piscina mirabilis. Arrive in Rome at night
Day 5  Free Day – National Holiday
Day 6 The volcanic Roman Province:  Nemi Emissary, the lake and the temples
Day 7 Land use planning 1: the beginning of Rome and its territory. The Palatine Hill and the Roman Forum. Private tour of Augustus and Livia’s house.
Day 8 Building for entertainment: the Colosseum, undergrounds and the upper third ring, the Ludus Magnus. The Imperial Fora through time.  Domus of Palazzo Valentini.
Day 9  Roman hydraulic engineering: the baths. Caracalla’s bath  and Diocletian Baths.
Visit to the National Roman Museum of Palazzo Massimo
Day 10        Local buidling materials : Quarries underneath the podium of Claudius’ temple.  Afternoon: the Catacombs. Visit to the Jewish Catacombs.
Day 11     Land use planning – The City and the River. Campus Martius (field of Mars). Pantheon. 28 century history of a single city block : crypta Balbi
Day 12 Free Day
Day 13 Ostia: the port city of ancient Rome
Day 14 Roman Aqueducts – On the footsteps of T. Ashby. Field trip inside the aqueducts  Anius Vetus and Marcio.  Optional visit to Horace’s Villa and the Fons Bandusia. End of course banquet
Day 15 Students depart for the U.S.

*Instructor reserves the right to modify the course schedule as needed.

Contact Information

Program Officer

Laura Scobey

Academic Director

Giuseppina Kysar Mattietti

Dates / Deadlines:

There are currently no active application cycles for this program.

This program is currently not accepting applications.