UQ Students now have the unique opportunity to enrol in ANCH2900, an International Museum Internship/Ancient Material Culture Field School with the R.D. Milns Antiquities Museum held in Rome and Tuscany, Italy, organised by the School of Historical and Philosophical Inquiry and the R.D. Milns Antiquities Museum.

Students will spend 4.5 days in Rome learning about major archaeological sites and Museums with Museum Director/Curator, Dr Janette McWilliam UQ, Dr Massimo Brando, rescue archaeologist and member of the Alberese Project Team. A private tour of the Vatican Archives and Excavations under St Peter’s Basilica with Dr Yorick Gomez Gane, University of Calabria, and Dr Pedro Zander, Director of the Vatican Excavations will also be organised.

Students will then travel to Southern Tuscany for 4 weeks to participate in the Alberese Winter Material Culture Field School where they will learn to identify, classify and record the finds from the excavation held over the summer; students will also have the opportunity to excavate at and work on finds from the Etrusco-Roman site of Vulci.  Field trips are organised on Fridays to local Museums and archaeological sites. The field school is conducted by Roman Archaeologists from the University of Sheffield (UK), University of Leicester (UK) and the Alberese Archaeological Project (Tuscany, Italy) in collaboration with the Soprintendenza per i Beni Archeologici della Toscana and John Cabot University (Rome), and the Vulci Archaeological Project. Staff include Dr Alessandro Sebastiani (Project Director), Dr Elena Chirico, Dr Matteo Colombini, Dr. Mario Cygielman and from the Vulci Project and La Sapienza University, Dr Federico Mari, Dr Carlo Regoli Martina Revello Lami; Coordinator for the University of Queensland, Dr Janette McWilliam. International experts from the UK as well as staff from the University of Siena, curators from local museums and archaeologists from Rome also share their expertise with students.


No prior experience is required. Students from Classics and Ancient History and other disciplines in the School of Historical and Philosophical Inquiry, Museum Studies, Archaeology and Art History are welcome, as are students from other areas of the University. Places will be allocated via expression of interest in writing and interviews. Please email Dr McWilliam as soon as possible for an expression of interest form as places are limited. For further details, or a form, please contact Dr Janette McWilliam: j.mcwilliam@uq.edu.au.

Students are required to travel with the group to and from Brisbane. We are currently costing the trip which will include airfares, transfers to and from Grosseto, accommodation in Rome and Grosseto, meals Mon-Fri. Students are eligible to apply for OS-Help loans, and may also be eligible for short term mobility grants.

Please note that the first deadline for OS Help loans is June 15.


In Rome students will visit sites including Galleria Borghese, Baths of Diocletian and Palazzo Massimo, Ara Pacis Museum, the Vatican and St Peter’s Basilica, Pantheon, Spanish Steps and Trevi Fountain, plus a full day tour by Massimo Brando, Rome’s leading rescue archaeologist, of the Colosseum, Forum and Palatine Area, and the Museum and excavation area at Crypta Balbi.

Course Aims

The International Internship Program and Alberese Archaeological Field School gives students the opportunity to learn about Museological practices in Antiquities Museums in Italy, and to participate in a Material Culture Field School where they will gain practical, hands-on experience in the study of archaeological artefacts after they are excavated but before they are acquired by museums.

Students will gain familiarity with:

  • the terminology and methodologies of museum and archaeological material culture studies;
  • finds recording and illustration;
  • excavation recording methods.

Students will also:

  • develop a critical appreciation of the approach and scope of artefact interpretation, and of the analysis of artefacts and materials;
  • attain understanding of the inherent interdisciplinary character of material culture studies through introduction to aspects of archaeology, history and environmental studies;
  • acquire an awareness of museological approaches to the display of archaeological objects and archaeological sites.

Course Content

Course Content

Students will visit archaeological sites and museums in Rome, receiving an introduction to ancient and modern Roman culture, and investigating museological practices that will be compared to those in regional museums visited over the next four weeks in Southern Tuscany.

In Grosseto, students will work on new, recently excavated finds from the river port linked to the Etruscan-Roman city of Rusellae. In Vulci, students will learn about the Etrusco-Roman site to the South of Rusellae, another important trading post north of Rome.

Seminars and practical learning projects lead by specialists will introduce students to the identification and study of ceramics, glass, marble, metal objects, bone, archeobotanical and numismatics material through:

1. Training in handling and recording of excavated artefacts and objects:

Subjects covered include primary cleaning, conservation and storage of finds; identification and recording of individual objects and material groups.

2. Training in cataloguing and studying artefacts and archaeological material:

Practical learning projects include identification and dating of objects through studies of forms and typologies, drawing of objects, analysis of the impact of artefact data for archaeological interpretation.

3. Introductory Training to excavation methodologies for a nuanced approach to material culture studies.

4. Visits to other archaeological sites and museums complement the course, giving a contextual appreciation of the artefacts and of museological approaches to archaeological displays.

Accommodation and Meals

In Rome, students will stay in shared rooms at the British Archaeological School. A light Italian breakfast, a light lunch, and dinner are included Wed-Fri. Also included are entrance fees to museums and archaeological sites.

In Grosseto, Students will be accommodated in shared rooms in lodgings used by the Project in the Medieval walled city of Grosseto, with easy access to amenities. While in Grosseto (Mon-Fri) food is included (light Italian breakfast and lunch, and a substantial dinner), as are weekly field trips, usually held on Fridays. Students have the option of staying in Grosseto on weekends and exploring the local area, or planning their own trips to places such as Siena, Florence, and Rome.

The Alberese Archaeological Project

Established in 2009, this research project is shaping a new understanding of international exchange networks in costal Southern Tuscany between the mid-Republican period and late Antiquity.

Current excavations focus on the newly identified Roman cabotage port linked to the Etrusco-Roman city of Rusellae. This extraordinarily well-preserved site has revealed an extensive workshop complex manufacturing bone, metal and glass objects throughout the Roman Imperial period, and a newly discovered Roman villa complex.

The Project also encompasses landscape and infrastructure studies around the via Aurelia vetus and excavations of a sanctuary dedicated to Diana. These provide important new evidence for the relationship between cities and rural settlements as well as for the ‘Romanization’ of Etruria.

For the first time in 2015, the project was expanded to include the Etrusco-Roman site of Vulci, where students were on-site for the discovery of a new Etruscan tomb.