The four-week summer Archaeological Conservation Institute engages students in the discovery, appreciation and preservation of tangible cultural heritage and introduces the field of conservation.
It combines the study and discussion of principles and best practices of field conservation with hands-on experience restoring ancient artifacts, working with ancient technologies and materials, in the laboratories of the Centro di Conservazione Archeologica at Belmonte in Sabina, Italy with Roberto Nardi and his team.
Then the program moves to Sardinia where students take part in the University of Sassari excavations directed by Marco Rendeli and his team. The site is the remarkable early Iron Age village of Sant’ Imbenia on the coast near Alghero, in the shadow of its nuraghe, one of the thousands of mysterious Late Bronze Age features dotting the Sardinian countryside. Its pottery shows that its inhabitants traded with other cultures around the Mediterranean.
We take excursions from the Convento di San Nicola, the CCA’s home, to Ostia, Rieti, Assisi, Spoleto and visit archaeological sites and museums in Rome on weekends. After working on the excavation, we relax on the beautiful beaches of northwestern Sardinia and take in the sites of the historic city of Alghero. On weekends we visit the Roman site of Porto Torres, the nature preserve of Capo Caccia, the nuraghic villages at Palmavera and Torralba, the museum at Sassari, the Phoenician site of Tharros and the scenic modern towns of Bosa and Castel Sardo.
The four-week summer program accepts fifteen students. Past participants included students of archaeology, art, art history, chemistry, classics, education, English, history and museum studies at Randolph College, Grove City College, University of Minnesota, Exeter University, University of Lethbridge, University of Richmond, Sweet Briar College and the College of Wooster.
Recently, ACI participants worked with the conservators of the CCA cleaning and piecing together ceiling frescos, marble wall veneer and an opus sectile pavement from the Roman villa at Sant’ Imbenia (Sardinia). That project will finish when the installation of the materials is complete and the Museo Civico Archeologico di Alghero (Museo della Città) opens to the public. Auguri!