Project Description

All IFR field school applicants should familiarize themselves with IFR COVID-19 Practices before beginning the enrollment process. Program logistics are subject to change as health and risk management experts provide new recommendations and best practices. Each field school syllabus includes specific information about COVID-19 as related to travel regulations and recommendations, accommodations, local protocols, face mask policy and managing COVID-19 cases or outbreaks.

You may want to refer to the following websites to stay informed of COVID-19 case numbers and regulations/policies for Spain:

US Embassy in Spain
CDC COVID-19 in Spain

Due to widely available vaccines in the United States and, in response to the strong recommendation of national medical experts, IFR has instituted a new policy requiring that all field school participants be vaccinated prior to their field school. Students enrolled in a IFR program are encouraged to schedule their vaccine appointment as soon as possible if they still intend to participate in their field school. Please contact IFR Staff if you have any questions or concerns.


Roca dels Bous Archaeological Project (RBAP) began in the 1980’s and has produced extensive data about the Neanderthal lifestyle and human occupations from Middle Paleolithic sites. RBAP aims to study Neanderthal occupations from a broad perspective, focusing on site formation processes, spatial distribution of artifacts and hearths, and diachronic and synchronic relationships between archaeological units. This field school combines both fieldwork and lab work with rigorous recovery techniques of the archaeological record. Roca dels Bous site is comprised of one of the most important Middle Paleolithic assemblages in North Eastern Iberia. This site provides the opportunity to excavate clear late Neanderthal contexts dated from 45,000 to 50,000 years BP. Different studies have been carried out in the last 10 years, including raw material identification and procurement, technological trends in flake production, geological setting and site formation processes, as well as the reconstruction of short term occupations inside palimpsest. Students will directly engage with archaeological problems in Roca dels Bous, excavating hearths, identifying raw materials and learning and processing complex stratigraphic challenges. Students will also take part in lab work, which includes cleaning, labelling, and cataloging daily recoveries from the site and using our DDBB, the projects’ ongoing database. RBAP is a simultaneously exciting and challenging experience for participants who are willing to maintain a positive learning atmosphere and are committed to diving into the detailed process of archaeological field research.

Download Syllabus

Course Details

  • Course Dates: July 31st August 28th, 2021

  • Enrollment Status: Closed

  • Total Cost: $4,542

  • Course Type: Paleolithic Field Archaeology

  • Payment Deadline: April 30, 2021

  • Instructors: Dr. Rafael Mora Torcal, Javier Sánchez Martínez

  • Orientation: June 26 at 9am PDT / 12 pm EDT / 4 pm UTC / 6 pm CEST
  • Academic Credit: 8 semester credit units (equivalent to 12 quarter credit units)


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. Rafael Mora Torcal
Dr. Rafael Mora Torcal
Dr. Mora Torcal is one of the main researchers working in Palaeolithic Archaeology in Iberia. He obtained his PhD in the Universitat Autònoma de Barcelona (1988) and a post-doctor position in the History Institute of CSIC (Madrid). His current research is focused on cultural change through the study of lithic technology from different periods, including Oldowan, Acheulean and European Middle and Upper Palaeolithic.
Javier Sánchez Martínez
Javier Sánchez Martínez
Javier Sánchez Martínez is a PhD candidate from Universitat Autònoma de Barcelona. His current research is focused on the chronocultural sequence of Cova Gran de Santa Linya (NE Iberia) that includes Early Upper Paleolithic, Gravettian, Magdalenian and Late Upper Paleolithic assemblages.


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

Tuition Includes:

  • Costs of Instruction
  • Room & board
  • All Local Transportation
  • Cost of Academic Credit Units
  • Health and Evacuation Insurance

Student Fees

This program requires an online application — there is a $25 fee to submit an application. Once admitted, a payment of the nonrefundable deposit fee is required to secure a place in the program(s). The Tuition balance (total program cost minus the deposit fee) must be paid prior to the Tuition deadline as listed above under “Course Details.” A $100 late fee will be added to all accounts not paid in full by the Tuition deadline.

Deposit: A nonrefundable $500 deposit fee is required to secure a seat in the program. This deposit is part of the total Tuition and NOT in addition to it.

Withdrawal & Cancellation Policy: If you paid the deposit fee but did not cancel your participation by the Tuition payment deadline, you are legally responsible for the full Tuition regardless of attendance at any IFR program. Please carefully read our Withdrawal & Cancellation Policy for further information. In the event that IFR must cancel a field school, all accepted students will be notified as soon as possible and will receive a refund of all tuition paid including the deposit fee. IFR offers students the opportunity to transfer to another field school, permitting that there are spots available and the program director approves the student to participate in their field school. Upon approval of the program director, IFR staff will make the arrangements to transfer the student’s application and payments.

Credit Card Processing Fee: A 3.5% processing fee is automatically incurred for all credit/debit card/online payments.

Academic Credit Opt Out: Students who wish to participate in an IFR field school without earning academic credit units may do so and receive the following discounts: $300 off a full program (4 or more weeks in length) or $200 off a short program (2-3 weeks in length).

Trip Cancellation Insurance: Please consider purchasing a travel interruption insurance policy that will cover your travel cost and the cost of the IFR program once you make a commitment to attend a field school.

The added risk of COVID-19  should be a “covered event” in your policy.
Please note that the cost of coverage varies, based on your age, the program duration and geographical location.
You may get help and advice from your insurance broker and we offer the links below to help you educate yourself on these insurance products.
Travel Insured International offers coverage Trip Cancellation or Interruption for Any Reason (review coverage based on your state).
– Compare quotes from different companies offering Trip Cancelation insurance plans.


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 Wi-Fi.

Students will share communal bedrooms that are in accordance with the Covid sanitary regulations indicated by Generalitat de Catalunya. Alberg la Cova has reduced their total bed count from 55 to 31 to help ensure the effectiveness of sanitary measures by reducing occupied spaces. The use of masks will be mandatory in the hostel as a preventive measure. Communal bedrooms and social places (toilets, showers and living room) will be regularly cleaned and sterilized. As Alberg la Cova hostel has several rooms (7), students will spread in groups of 2 or 3 people in each room. In the event of Covid-related symptoms presenting in any member of the staff or the participants, we will follow the regulations established by the competent authorities. Additionally, we will reserve separate rooms in the hostel designated specifically to host participants “in preventive quarantine”. Alberg la Cova will provide bed sheets, which will be changed regularly. Additionally, the laundry service will be available to students at any time. The laundry will be scheduled according to the needs of participants.

Travel Info

UPDATE: Due to ongoing uncertainties regarding the travel regulations related to COVID-19, IFR will assess the local conditions closer to the travel date (5-6 weeks prior to the program beginning) and will make Go/No Go decisions then. We urge you to participate in the mandatory orientation meeting when we will discuss the latest travel information and regulations. We also suggest you consider postponing the purchase of your airline ticket until after the program orientation.

Students will meet at the Bar-Cafeteria at Lleida-Pyrineus RENFE train station on Saturday July 31st 2021 at 7:00pm (19 h). Trains to Lleida-Pyrineus depart from Sants RENFE train station at Barcelona frequently. Trains from the Barcelona airport to Sants station depart every 30 minutes. Train schedules from Sants station to Lleida Pirineus can be found here. Take into account face masks are compulsory in any public means of transport in the country.

Once students and staff join in Alberg la Cova, the means of transport will be reduced. From the hostel to the field site we go on foot (15 min) and the use of cars is restricted to transport gear and equipment. Due to the COVID-19 situation, facilities that we use to develop the lab work in the village will be closed. It means that the lab work will be re-situated in Espai Origens. Espai Origens is a local and regional center for the study of archaeological, historical, geological and natural heritage, and it will be reserved to us during the RBAP. This center is situated 3 km from Alberg la Cova, which means short car trips will be needed.

This program will conclude afternoon of Friday, August 27th 2021.  Students should plan onward travel or flights back home for any time after this date.

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


Spain forms 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.

Citizens of other countries are asked to check the embassy website page at their home country for specific visa requirements.

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 us at 877-839-4374 or email us at if you have questions about the safety of any particular program.