'One large memorable experience' at San Martino

alba fucens

 Jean Brownell at Alba Fucens, an ancient Italian town, during a field trip. Note ruins amid the shadows behind her.

Sept. 8, 2015 -- “What I gained from this experience is priceless,” says Jean Brownell ’17 of Chemical Engineering, who spent her summer with the San Martino Archaeological Field School in Torano di Borgorose, Italy.

 “I not only spent my time working in a field different from that of engineering, which is beneficial for any interdisciplinary project or job in the future, but I also spent my time in a different country and culture. Being immersed in an area with a different way of life and different language than the one you're used to is an incredible experience.”

The San Martino Archaeological Field School is sponsored by the Department of Religion and Classics in collaboration with the Soprintendenza per i Beni Archeologici del Lazio and the town of Borgorose, Italy. The summer program teaches students about archaeological field and laboratory methods, geophysical prospection in archaeology, and the archaeology of ancient Italy. Students gain first-hand experience excavating at the San Martino site. San Martino features evidence of use by humans from the prehistoric period up to the present day, with archaeological remains from virtually every time period in between, including a Roman villa. Recent finds indicate that part of the site may have been occupied as early as the Copper Age.

On a typical day students depart for the site at 8 a.m., spend about six hours working at the site, followed by two hours of lab work, class meetings or field trips.

Brownell, who was assisted by a Hajim International Experience Scholarship as well as the Dorothy and Anthony Lisio Scholarship for Archaeology, said she was able to complete six of the eight humanities credits that she needs for her degree.

Her most memorable experience?

“The entire trip was one large memorable experience,” Brownell said.  “The participants were all wonderful people, and they helped make the trip so unforgettable.  The food was outstanding. The physical dig work was incredible, as well as the finds made while on site.  The Italian culture, experienced in so many different ways, was so great.  I don't think I could narrow the trip down to one particular moment that stood out beyond the rest, as the whole experience was something that I will always cherish.”


Brownell on a hill overlooking Torano di Borgorose, Italy.