Project Description


This initiative is part of a long-term research project (directed by Duke University) in the Valdichiana and across the areas of Siena, Cortona, Arezzo and Chianciano; a region with the highest density of archaeological sites in Tuscany and in Central Italy. In 2021 Duke University, the Museum of Chianciano and the Superintendence of Arezzo, Cortona and Siena

The strategic location of Cortona and Valdichiana has been inhabited since prehistoric times, witnessing the rise and fall of various civilizations, including the Etruscans, Romans, and later medieval cultures.

The Etruscan and Roman periods left a lasting impact on the landscape, with evidence of several settlements, roads, and infrastructure. Paleoenvironmental analyses and the study of archaeological remains in the region contribute to our understanding of governance, urban planning, and economic activities that shaped this part of Italy during antiquity. The cultural layers of Cortona and Valdichiana provide a chronological record of human occupation and activities, allowing archaeologists to reconstruct the dynamic history of the region through landscape mapping and ground observations. The archaeological sites in Cortona and Valdichiana attract tourists and scholars, contributing to the local economy and fostering cultural exchange. Educational programs like summer courses provide opportunities for students and researchers to engage with the archaeological landscape firsthand, fostering a deeper appreciation for the region’s cultural heritage. This intensive summer course combines cutting-edge technologies such as remote sensing, 3D modeling, artificial intelligence (AI), photogrammetry, and digital technologies to unravel the mysteries of the ancient landscapes that surround this picturesque region.

Download Provisional 2024 Syllabus
Course Details
Course Dates June 10-July 6, 2024 (June 10-14 online)
Course Type Digital and Cyber Archaeology
Instructors Dr. Maurizio Forte
Credits* 6 semester (9 quarter)
Apply By April 1
Fees Due By Summer 1 (May 1)
Program Fees
Tuition $4,300
Transcript Fee* $300
Health & Evacuation Insurance $100
Room & Partial Board** $270
TOTAL: $4,970
Application Closed

Applications accepted on a rolling basis until program fills or final deadline above. 

**Note: housing costs are subsidized in 2024.


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.

Prof. Maurizio Forte
Prof. Maurizio Forte
Prof. Forte is the William and Sue Gross Professor at the Department of Classical Studies, Art, Art History & Visual Studies, Duke University. He is the founder of the DIG@Lab (for a digital knowledge of the past) at Duke.


This is a new IFR field school. No student testimonials are available at this time.

Payment & Student Fees

Application Fee: There is a $45 fee to submit an online application.

Deposit Payment: A nonrefundable $500 deposit is due within 3 weeks of program acceptance in order to secure your place. The remainder of your program fees are due by the deadline indicated under “Course Details”.

*Transcript Fee & Academic Credit Opt Out: If you wish to participate in an IFR field school without earning academic credits, you will not be charged a transcript fee.

For more information about payment, fees, and policies, please see details under our Payment & Finances and Withdrawal and Cancellation Policy pages.


Accommodations are provided by the city of Cortona in the location of Camucia (a few miles from the city center). They are fully equipped apartments with laundry facilities, a kitchen and all the accessories. There is room for about 20 people to be accommodated in different, separate rooms.

Meals: Lunch (lunch boxes) will be provided during all fieldwork activity days. It is important to communicate in advance dietary restrictions, allergies and other important information about food preferences. Students are responsible for their own dinner and breakfast during the week and meals on the weekend.(there are several supermarkets within walking distance from the apartments).

Travel Info

Natural disasters, political changes, weather conditions and various other factors may force the cancellation or alteration of a field school. IFR recommends students only purchase airline tickets that are fully refundable and consider travel insurance in case a program or travel plans must change for any reason.

General information for this program is below, but keep in mind we will discuss any updated travel information and regulations during the required program orientation, which could affect travel plans.

Students will fly into Leonardo da Vinci–Fiumicino Airport in Rome by the morning of June 16th and then take the train to Camucia-Cortona where they will be picked up by the field directors. We will assist students in acquiring the proper train tickets and how to navigate the train system during orientation. All other official program travel, such as daily travel to and from sites and to program events, will be provided by the program. Students may choose to make their own arrangements to travel by bus or train on the weekend to nearby cities such as Florence, Siena, or Orvieto. 

If you missed your connection or your flight is delayed, please call, text or email the field school director immediately. A local emergency mobile phone number will be provided to all enrolled students.

U.S. citizens may enter Italy for up to 90 days without a visa. All non-residents are required to complete a declaration of presence (dichiarazione di presenza) upon their arrival, usually completed at the first accommodation after entry into Italy.

Non-U.S. citizens should consult the information provided by the Italian immigration website and contact the project directors.

Anyone intending to stay in Italy for longer than 90 days must obtain a permit of stay (permesso di soggiorno). For more information visit the US State Department website.

Student Safety

The IFR primary concern is with education. Traveling and conducting field research involve risk. Students interested in participating in IFR programs must weigh whether the potential risk is worth the value of education provided. While risk is inherent in everything we do, we do not take risk lightly. The IFR engages in intensive review of each field school location prior to approval. Once a program is accepted, the IFR reviews each program annually to make sure it complies with all our standards and policies, including student safety.

Students attending IFR international programs are covered by a comprehensive Health Insurance policy that includes physical illness or injury, mental or chronic conditions. No deductible and 100% of costs are covered up to $250,000. In addition, we provide Political and Natural Disaster Evacuation policy, which allow us to remove students from field school location if local conditions change. Our field school directors are scholars that know field school locations and cultures well and are plugged in into local communities and state institution structures.

Students attending IFR domestic programs (within the US) must have their own health insurance and provide proof upon enrollment. IFR field school directors are familiar with local authorities and if in need of evacuation, local emergency services and/or law enforcement will be notified and activated.

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

Call (877-839-4374) or email ( if you have questions about the safety of any particular program.