January 4-18, 2013
The Program Fee includes tuition and program expenses. Click on Program Fee for details.
International airfare and personal expenses are not included in the Program Fee and are the responsibility of the participant.
October 5, 2012
This program is open to all undergraduate and graduate students with a cumulative GPA of 2.25, including students who do not attend George Mason University.
3 semester credits in ANTH 325, GEOL 315, GGS 398, or HIST 398
Graduate credit may be possible upon request. Contact the Program Officer and the Academic Director for information.
University residences with double and triple occupancy rooms with private bathrooms.
Optional excursions with the GMU Academic Director. Locations may include Naples, Pompeii, and Oplontis
CONTACT: Denise Elles-Mdahuar via email or by calling 703.993.2155 or toll free at 866.468.1243. The toll free number does not accept calls from the 703 or 571 area code.
Syllabus Available upon request.
Discover underground Rome during this exciting two- week study abroad program, and earn 3 semester credits in Geology, Geography, History, or Anthropology.
Everyone knows the famous Trevi Fountain in Rome (pictured below), but did you know that during this course you can also visit the underground structures and cisternes that brought water to the fountain.
This study abroad program is led by Dr. Giuseppina Kysar Mattietti the Academic Director in collaboration with the Center for Speleo-Archaeological research. I Sotterranei di Roma
Click the image below to view a presentation from Dr. Kysar Mattieti course with photos from the last two years. "Underneath Rome: Introduction to Geoarchaeology" (Note: It is only accessible when viewing through Internet Explorer.)
The goal for this program is to develop an appreciation of how the interplay of the territory and culture brings life to Rome. What is seen on the surface of the city is not even half of the rich historical and cultural heritage of Rome: underneath her very varied topography, the city unfolds her past. This interdisciplinary course uses geoarcheology as a gateway to the support of archeological, historical, and anthropological studies of the city and her development.
In the introductory course to geo-archeology, students will familiarize themselves with principles and methods of investigation drawn from geology, engineering, geography, and hydrology and will apply them to their understanding of how the city developed. The field activities of this course are built on three themes:
- The territory of Rome (geology and geography)
- The waters of Rome (regional hydrology, engineering)
- Buildings and infrastructures (construction materials and their sources, techniques)
These three deeply-interconnected themes each present challenges and opportunities that will be explored as students learn how the history of the city unfolds. The course activities are carried out on the surface, as well as in hypogean (underground) architectural environments. The course offers a unique and hands-on introduction to speleo-archeological research as students learn about exploration techniques and hands-on research methods by following our speleologists, archeologists, and geologists to underground sites where research projects are currently being carried out. Participants will be provided with technical equipment and must be able to undertake moderate physical activity for a full day. Program participants will have the opportunity to explore sites that tourists never gain access to!
Photos above: Left side: "You Could Be Here!" - the Colosseum as seen from the Ludus Magnum, the site of the Gladiatorial barracks built here before the Colosseum. Right side: the insula (condominium) is located underneath a building by the famous Trevi Fountain. The insula is adjacent to the key structures of the Aqua Virgo Aqueduct. Built in 19 BC, this aqueduct is still in operation today and provides water to the city and feeds fountains, such as the Trevi Fountain and the Barcaccia of Plaza di Spagna.
Nemi: This tunnel (pictured above), excavated in a volcanic cone during the seventh century BC, is an engineering structure designed for flood control. Nemi is the first speleo-archeological field practice planned for this course.
Dr. Giuseppina Kysar Mattietti is a professor of Earth Science in the College of Science. Dr. Kysar Mattietti was born and raised in Rome and is passionate about the history and development of her city. During her career, she has taught courses covering general geology, geology in land use planning, engineering geology, geoarchaeology, and other courses as well. Dr. Kysar Mattietti loves working with students in research related projects, and she has advised graduate students in projects involving geology and the use of the territory of the Consular Roads of Rome. She is currently collaborating with the Center for Speleoarchaeological Research "Sotterranei di Roma" on a study of the underground structures of the gardens of Hadrian’s Villa.
dATES: January 4-18, 2013
You should plan to leave the United States at least one day prior to the program start date to arrive in Rome for the first day of the program. You can schedule your return to the United States from Rome for the last day of the program or choose to travel independently.
Do not purchase airfare until you are advised by your Program Officer.
- Daily breakfast
- Transportation to field sites
- Field work excursions
- Equipment rental
- Farewell Roman dinner
- Pre-departure orientation
- Emergency medical insurance, including medical evacuation and repatriation
- Class materials
Double and triple occupancy rooms in dormitory-style accommodations with private bathrooms. Dormitories are conveniently located on Aventine Hill, which overlooks the Circus Maximus and the Palatine, located in the center of Rome. Housing amenities include:
- A fully-wired facility
- Beautiful courtyard and common spaces
- 24-hr security
Scholarships are available to George Mason students. George Mason students can click here to download the CGE Global Perspectives scholarship application. Mason students may also use financial aid to cover a program's cost. Discuss this with your financial aid counselor early in your study abroad planning process. If you are not a George Mason University student, check with your study abroad office or office of financial aid to learn more about how to cover the cost of your study abroad.
Note that all supplemental documents are required by the application deadline. Incomplete applications will not be considered. Contact the Program Officer for further application forms and instructions specific to your program.
*CGE reserves the right to make changes to a program in light of currency fluctuations, changing security and safety conditions, or any other unforeseen circumstances.