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The first edition of our Vesuvian Study Tour proved to be a huge success for all participants, as seen by the examples of feedback that we have posted below. The programme featured visits to the major World Heritage sites and hidden corners of the Bay of Naples with an expert team. The lucky members of this trial initiative enjoyed excellent small-group teaching from Pompeii expert Dr Joanne Berry and benefitted from years of experience on the ground that Christian Biggi has developed, along with his network of local contacts. The overwhelmingly positive comments that we received leave us in no doubt that the second edition, which will run 7-11 September 2015, will also prove to be another high-quality experience and we would encourage all those interested in taking part to sign up now before the 31 July deadline.
"I really enjoyed the Vesuvian archaeology programme. It was a wonderful opportunity to visit so many sites I've studied, and they really lived up to my expectations. Having the smaller group was advantageous in some respects, as it meant we were able to visit some areas that would possibly not have not been accessible to a larger group, such as the Officina dei Papiri in Naples.
It is difficult to pick out highlights, as the whole trip was so enjoyable, however being able to access the Suburban baths in Herculaneum and also the visit to the Baia Archaeological area particularly stood out for me. Baia was especially enjoyable as we were able to explore it at our leisure, with very few other visitors around. This highlights one of the advantages of the Study tour - being able to visit some sites that would not be as accessible to a solo traveller. There really is no substitute for experiencing these sites in person, and getting the sense that you're walking in the footsteps of the ancient Romans.
Christian and Joanne's expertise and local knowledge was also invaluable and I really feel I got a sense of the culture of the area as well as the archaeology.
Overall, I would really recommend the Study tour to the Bay of Naples for anyone with an interest in the archaeology of the area, the week really flew by - a return trip will definitely be required!
My only suggestion would be that I would have enjoyed a bit more time to explore the site at Herculaneum.
Thank you so much for the opportunity, I really feel the trip has enhanced my knowledge of the sites of the Bay of Naples, and will really benefit me in my future studies."
"I thoroughly enjoyed last week’s Summer school in Herculaneum. Christian Biggi did a wonderful job of arranging the whole programme, including the transport and accommodation as well as the site visits, and also specific guides at some of the sites and evening lectures by specialists.
Jo Berry is a wonderful guide and teacher, who shares her wealth of knowledge with tireless enthusiasm. Jo tailored the site visits to our individual points of interest, and made sure that none of us missed the key features of the sites we visited.
I was impressed by the number of site visits that were packed into the week; the sites I had visited before – Herculaneum and Pompeii – were illuminated in a new light, and I was introduced to a number of sites that I didn’t even know existed, including rural villas, temples and a huge Roman water cistern, the Piscina Mirabilis. In between the sites we visited a variety of museums, ranging from local on-site collections to the magnificent National Archaeological Museum of Naples.
The programme also included a visit to the Officina dei Papiri Ercolanesi in Naples, where papyrologist Sarah Hendriks explained and demonstrated the project of unrolling and transcribing the Herculaneum papyri. This was a really unique opportunity which gave us a fascinating insight into this challenging project.
I would thoroughly recommend this School to anyone who has an interest in Roman life in the Vesuvian area and the history of the excavation and study of the sites."
"I am very appreciative both for the scholarship provided and the experience! It went above and beyond my expectations! Our instructors, especially Joanne Berry and Christian Biggi, knew so much about the sites they brought us to and were enthusiastic about showing them to us and teaching us. Our guest lecturers provided valuable information and perspectives that one would not normally have access to in a classroom led by a single professor. Our visit to the library containing the scrolls from the Villa of the Papyri provided exposure to a possible career option sprouting from studying Classics by seeing the work of Sarah Hendriks through her fellowship. Observing her work has given me a broader perspective on potential career options. Experiencing sites and seeing actual artifacts that I have been studying in classes throughout my undergraduate studies (in pictures and through descriptions) greatly helped to further my understanding of what I have been learning as an archaeology major. Our accommodations were phenomenal; the food was delicious and filling! The program ran smoothly and effectively. Along with learning so much about the archaeological sites and artifacts, we also were exposed to aspects of the current culture of the Vesuvian area, which gave an even greater picture of the process of conservation of the sites and gave further context to what we were studying. This has honestly been the most fulfilling opportunity of my life thus far. I am very grateful for this opportunity!
The only improvement I would suggest is making the program a few days longer so that more of the area and sites could be explored and seen!"