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 014: Explore Underwater Pompeii (Baia Underwater Park, Naples Bay – Italy) & Discover Amphora & Shipwrecks in the Underwater Port of Sanitja. (Menorca – Spain)

General Information

The Sanisera Field School offers annual programs in archaeology. This course is designed for students from around the world interested in studying abroad, gaining knowledge in Roman cities, classical archaeology and underwater archaeology.

This underwater archaeology course consists of three main parts:

During the first part of the course students will participate in an underwater archaeology survey. Immersions will focus on an underwater archaeological survey, exploring the Ancient Port of Sanitja and the coast of the Cape of Cavalleria. The aim of this project is to identify structures of the Roman city of Sanisera and underwater shipwrecks, as well as the associated cargo including amphora and anchors.

The second part of the course focuses on Mediterranean shipbuilding techniques, both theoretical and practical. Students will put into practice their conservation skills with a ship constructed in the 1920s.

The third part course consists of studying the submerged archaeological remains of Portus Iulius and the Roman villas of the Baia Underwater Park. In order to do this, participants will travel to Naples Bay, Italy.


Part 1. Discover Amphora & Shipwrecks in the Underwater Port of Sanitja (Menorca, Spain)


Over the past eight years, The Underwater School in Archaeology has researched the ancient port of Sanitja via an intensive survey program. We have discovered 18 Roman shipwrecks with cargo, including amphora, and more than 10 anchors from different time periods.

There will be a minimum of 12 immersions focusing on underwater archaeological survey exploring the Ancient Port of Sanitja and the coast of the Cape of Cavalleria. The aim of this project is to identify structures of the Roman city of Sanisera and underwater shipwrecks, as well as the associated cargo including amphora and anchors.

The port of Sanitja was not only occupied by Romans. There are also ruins of a Muslim mosque and an English defense tower which lead us to believe that we could find other vessels from these time periods. During the last years of survey, several anchors and three shipwrecks from the XVI-XIX centuries were discovered.

Course time dedicated: 65%.

Part 2. Mediterranean Shipbuilding (Menorca, Spain)

Students will learn the basics about traditional Mediterranean shipbuilding, as well as learning which tools, instruments and methods are the most suitable in order to restore old vessels. Participants will also attend lectures on Roman shipwrecks, Roman amphora and Mediterranean shipbuilding techniques.

 

Time dedicated to this part of the program: 5%.


Part 3. Study Submerged Archaeological Remains in Baia Underwater Park (Pompeii, Italy)


The Underwater Pompeii site is located in the bay of Naples and is managed by Baia Underwater Park. Underwater surveys show that Roman buildings are about 400 meters away from the present coastline, at a depth of approximately 9 meters. Underwater and aerial surveys have shown numerous submerged archaeological remains. Evidence of the submersion of the coast can be found in the ruins of the Temple of Venus, which today is about 3 meters below the quay of the port. Nearby, on the other side of the bay, two monumental complexes were also found: a villa belonging to the Pisoni family and a bath complex with a nymphaeum.

Another submerged archaeological site that participants will visit is Portus Iulius, a port which sank during Roman times. It was built in 37 B.C. by Agrippa and Octavian, and was abandoned in 12 B.C., merely 25 years after its extremely expensive construction. Later on, it was submerged due to several ground movements –Bradyseism- and volcanic activities including Vesuvius.

The coast's unique atmosphere even attracted emperors. For instance, Caligula celebrated his elevation to divinity by building a pontoon crossing the area, which he then rode over wearing the armor of Alexander. Emperor Claudius often visited Baia. Nero was so fond of this place that he ended up conceiving grandiose projects there, one of them being conveying all spa waters into a large basin intended to link Miseno with the Averno.

In 2006 the Baia Underwater Archaeological Park was created, the first of its kind in Italy. Because of this project we can visit these magnificent ancient ruins. The uniqueness of the archaeology in Naples Bay, both on land and underwater, has made this site famous worldwide.

This part of the course will focus on the recognition of structures, mosaics, sculptures, amphora and Roman pottery in the Baia Underwater Park. Here, participants will put into practice the underwater survey methods learned during the previous part of the course. In Baia participants will record and prepare the photography inventory of the archaeological remains and materials located there.

Course time dedicated: 25%.


Students will also attend lectures on Roman History, shipwrecks, Roman Amphorae, Ancients Ports and methods on archaeological survey.


Student with a  Roman amphora

Student with a Roman amphora

Student documenting a shipwreck in the port of Sanitja

Student documenting a shipwreck in the port of Sanitja

Baia Underwater Park

Baia Underwater Park

Submerged archaeological structures of Portus Iulius

Submerged archaeological structures of Portus Iulius

Portus Iulius: Submerged Roman port, at 3 to 5 meters of depth

Portus Iulius: Submerged Roman port, at 3 to 5 meters of depth

Mosaics of roman ilustrious villas

Mosaics of roman ilustrious villas

Student diving between roman statues in Epitaffio Gate

Student diving between roman statues in Epitaffio Gate

Columns and submerged remains of roman buildings

Columns and submerged remains of roman buildings

 



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Underwater School in Archaeology

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