Project Description


Students are encouraged to explore eligibility and apply to the Spain-Cova Gran Scholarship as funds may be used to support tuition payment for this field school.

Cova Gran de Santa Linya (Lleida, Catalunya) is a rock shelter located at the seam between the first range of the southern Pyrenees and the Ebro Basin. The cave is rich with evidence of human occupation dating to at least as early as 50,000 years ago and continuing through the Late Prehistory. Investigation at the site will allow us to recognize both the evolution of hunting and gathering strategies in the region and recognize important differences between Neanderthals and Modern human adaptive strategies. The deep archaeological sequence at Cova Gran contains animal bones, hearths, and Middle and Upper Paleolithic artifacts. The presence of Early Upper Paleolithic layers in stratigraphic context enable careful examination of two competing models that explains Middle/Upper Paleolithic “transition”: the first suggest continuity and the second suggest population replacement. This program will combine lectures, field survey, excavation and laboratory training. The long human occupation sequence at Cova Gran will provide students with the rare opportunity to explore and document an extensive cultural sequence of the region, beginning ca. 50,000 years ago.

Download Syllabus

Course Details

  • Course Dates: June 24-July 28, 2018
  • Enrollment Status: OPEN
  • Total Cost: $4,590
  • Course Type: Field Archaeology
  • Payment Deadline:  April 20, 2018
  • Instructors: Dr. Jorge Martinez-Moreno, Prof. Rafael Mora, Dr. Alfonso Benito-Calvo
  • Online Orientation:  May 6, 2018, 1:00 PM PST
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The directors welcome emails and inquiries about the research elements of this project. More general information (tuition, health insurance, and payment schedule) can be found under the ‘Students’ tab above. Any further questions may be addressed to IFR staff. Additional details about research, course schedule, travel, accommodation, and safety can be found on the syllabus. Contacting the directors or the IFR office is encouraged and appreciated. It may help you determine if this field school is a good fit for you.

Dr. Jorge Martinez-Moreno
Dr. Jorge Martinez-Moreno
Dr. Martinez-Moreno is a Research Associate at the Universitat Autonoma de Barcelona (Spain).
Prof. Rafael Mora
Prof. Rafael Mora
Prof. Mora is a Professor of Archaeology at the Department of Prehistory, Universitat Autonoma de Barcelona (Spain).
Dr. Alfonso Benito-Calvo
Dr. Alfonso Benito-Calvo
Dr. Benito-Clavo is a Research Group Leader (Geomorphology and Palaeography Reconstructions) at the Spanish National Research Center for Human Evolution (CENIEH).


The Cova Gran field school was an amazing experience for me. I learned a great deal about excavation and artifact analysis, to an extent that is impossible to achieve in a classroom. Overall, the atmosphere of the program and the people involved were very welcoming, which definitely contributed to the teams’ daily morale and fostered a desire to work hard and pursue knowledge throughout the programs duration. It was great to be a part of such a proficient project, where teamwork plays a vital role and methodology is held at a high standard.
Lauren Lien, , University of California Los Angeles (2016)
My experience at the Cova Gran Archaeological Project was extremely rewarding academically and personally. I am so thankful to have worked with such a patient, attentive team. The program was very comprehensive with lessons about prehistory, lab analysis, experimental archaeology, theories associated with the site, excavation techniques, and so much more. I would recommend this experience for students interested in archaeology or anyone seeking an adventure! I hope this will help encourage people to participate in this enriching program.
Michele Gorrie, , University of California Los Angeles (2016)

Tuition Includes:

  • Costs of instruction
  • Cost of Academic Credits
  • Room & board
  • All local transportation
  • Health Insurance

Student Fees

A nonrefundable deposit of $500 is required to secure a seat in this program.  This program requires an application (no application fee is requested). Only accepted students should pay the deposit fee. Deposit fee is part of the program Tuition. The remaining tuition, minus the $500 deposit, must be paid prior to the tuition deadline (see above under “Course Details”).

Important Note: If you were accepted to this program but did not cancel your participation by the tuition payment deadline, you are legally responsible for the full tuition regardless of attendance in this program. Please read the IFR Cancellation Policy for further clarification.

  • A 2.5% Processing Fee is automatically assessed for all credit/debit card payments
  • A $100 Late Fee will be assessed if full tuition payment is not completed by the deadline.
  • Look at the field school syllabus above for room & board details.


Students will stay at the Alberg la Cova hostel ( at Sant Llorenc de Montgai. This village is approximately 30 km north of Lleida (Catalunya, Spain). The building has excellent facilities with communal space, laundry and wifi. Students will share communal bedrooms (6-8 people in each room). Alberg la Cova will provide sheets, which will be changed regularly. All team members must participate in setting tables for meals and do the washing up and clean common shared spaces after lunch and dinner (living room, bedroom).

Breakfast, lunch and dinner are provided by the program. On free days, students may choose to take their meals at local restaurants in the area. While the project may accommodate some dietary needs, you must communicate with project directors to ensure your needs can be met in the field. Celiac and vegetarian diets may be afforded but other types of diet may be more challenging to be managed.

Travel Info

Students will meet at the Bar-Cafeteria at Lleida-Pyrenees RENFE railway on Sunday June 24th at 6:00pm (18 hr). Trains to Lleida-Pyrenees depart from Sants RENFE train station at Barcelona frequently. Trains from the Barcelona airport to Sants station depart every 30 minutes. Trains schedule from Sants station to Lleida Pirineus can be found at

This program will conclude afternoon of Friday, July 28. Students should plan onward travel or flights back home for anytime on Saturday, July 29.


Spain form part of the Schengen Agreement. US citizens may enter Spain for up to 90 days for tourist or business purposes without a visa. Stiff fines may be imposed for overstaying the 90-day period. Your passport should be valid for at least three months beyond the period of your stay.

Student Safety

Student safety is paramount for the IFR. Unlike many universities who are self-insured, the IFR purchases a range of high end insurance policies from some of the largest insurers in the world. Students in all our international programs have a comprehensive health insurance policy. It covers sickness, and chronic and mental health conditions at 100% of the cost. We have a strong evacuation and extraction policy. We can remove students from any location anywhere in the world with one phone call – whether medical evacuation, political or natural disaster extraction and anything in between. We purchase intelligence services from a global private provider and monitor the world 24/7. We automatically enroll our students to the US State Department STEP program. All of our students receive safety orientations both before and on the first day of each program. Our faculty have all been working in the areas where we operate field schools for years. They are intimately familiar with local customs and traditions, know the landscape well and have deep relationships with local communities.

All our domestic programs are coordinated with local authorities which are informed of our operations. Students in domestic programs are covered by their own health insurance and evacuations are managed by local emergency services, as appropriate.

The IFR has strong, explicit and robust policy towards discrimination and harassment in the field (click here for a shortcut). If students feel they cannot discuss personal safety issues with the field school staff, the IFR operates an emergency hotline where students can contact IFR personnel directly.

Travel does involve risk, but we try to minimize this risk as much as possible. Call us at 877-839-4374 or email us at if you have questions about the safety of particular programs.