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.
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)
Transportation to field sites and from Naples to Rome
Field work excursions and equipment rental
Welcome and farewell dinners
4 dinners in Naples
International Emergency Insurance
Program Itinerary (Winter 2017)*
Arrive in Naples. Meeting with course director Optional visit to downtown Naples. Welcome dinner.
Visit to the sites of Pompeii and Oplontis
Vesuvius hike; Visit to Herculaneum
The Phlegrean Fields volcanic area. Pozzuoli and the Piscina mirabilis. Arrive in Rome at night
Free Day – National Holiday
The volcanic Roman Province: Nemi Emissary, the lake and the temples
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.
Building for entertainment: the Colosseum, undergrounds and the upper third ring, the Ludus Magnus. The Imperial Fora through time. Domus of Palazzo Valentini.
Roman hydraulic engineering: the baths. Caracalla’s bath and Diocletian Baths.
Visit to the National Roman Museum of Palazzo Massimo
Local buidling materials : Quarries underneath the podium of Claudius’ temple. Afternoon: the Catacombs. Visit to the Jewish Catacombs.
Land use planning – The City and the River. Campus Martius (field of Mars). Pantheon. 28 century history of a single city block : crypta Balbi
Ostia: the port city of ancient Rome
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
Students depart for the U.S.
*Instructor reserves the right to modify the course schedule as needed.
** Indicates rolling admission application process. Applicants will be immediately notified of acceptance into this program and be able to complete post-decision materials prior to the term's application deadline.