The Venus Pompeiana Project: Archaeological Field School at the Sanctuary of Venus in Pompeii (May 18-June 22, 2019)

Information session on Tuesday November 20th at 3 pm in the Crake Reading Room (Hart Hall 4th Floor)

Project Overview


The Venus Pompeiana Project is a collaboration among the Archaeological Park of Pompeii, Mount Allison University and the University of Missouri. The aim of this research program is to investigate the Sanctuary of Venus in Pompeii and its architectural and cultural history, with special focus on the pre-Roman phase of the site and the impact that the Roman conquest of Pompeii had on its architectural forms and cultic system.

Situated in one of the least known areas of Pompeii, the southwest sector of Regio VIII, the visible structures of this sanctuary feature a podium temple located in the middle of a porticoed courtyard, which develops on two terraces. From past investigations, we know that the sanctuary was in a phase of reconstruction after being damaged by the AD 62 earthquake, a restoration that was never completed, as the dramatic eruption of AD 79 interrupted the building activities undertaken in the area.

The site was first excavated in the 19th and early 20th centuries, following which its earliest remains have been traditionally assigned to the early Roman phase (post-80 BC), while a more recent interpretation dates the establishment of the monumental sanctuary to the second half of the second century BC. The results of the archaeological excavations conducted in 2004-2007 and some tests carried out by Mount Allison University and the University of Missouri in the Summer of 2017 have revealed the existence of architectural structures and votive deposits below the earliest monumental sanctuary dating from the third and second centuries BC, a period known as the Samnite phase of Pompeii. Following these discoveries, scholars hypothesized the existence of a Samnite cult place dedicated to the Oscan goddess Mefitis, a sanctuary that would have been later rebuilt in the monumental appearance we can admire today when visiting the site. The cult of Mefitis would thus have been turned into a cult of Venus when Pompeii became a Roman colony in 80 BC. This evidence would be of paramount importance as a contribution to our understanding of “Samnite Pompeii” and its cult places and the impact that the Roman conquest had on the Samnite city and its religious life and established cults.

Developing from this hypothesis, in Summer 2017 the Venus Pompeiana Project started a new broad campaign of archaeological excavations the Sanctuary of Venus, with the main goal of illuminating layout and function of the structures that predate the monumental sanctuary, and aspects of continuity or rupture with the later sanctuary of Venus and its cultic forms. The ultimate goal of this project, in fact, is to increase understanding of the overall urban setting of Pompeii and its genesis, with a special focus on the contribution of the Samnite people to the urban development of the ancient city and the impact that the Roman conquest had on the architectural forms of its main monuments.

Project Directors
Ilaria Battiloro (Mount Allison University)
Marcello Mogetta (University of Missouri)


MIBACTLogo104      Pompeii logo

Academic Credits

Students will earn six credits through this program.

Students will be registered in the following courses:



Goals for Student Participants

This program is designed to offer students a holistic view of methodologies and techniques of modern archaeological research, as well as the main theoretical issues related to this discipline, through an extended period of experiential learning. Students will participate in every aspect of excavations from basic digging techniques, to finds processing, artifact analysis, environmental sampling, plan and section drawing, and archaeological photography.

Another, but no less important, aim of this course is to familiarize students with the role of archaeological sources (“material culture”) in reconstructing social and cultural history of ancient populations.

Project Size
1-15 participants


Program Logistics


The Archaeological Field School in Pompeii takes place over five weeks from May 18 to June 22, 2019.

Eligibility Requirements

There are no prerequisites for the field school, and students from any discipline will be considered for the program. Nonetheless, coursework in a relevant area is desirable, and selection will be based on the merit of the student's application and the relevance of their coursework and academic training to the archaeological field school.

Students must have a valid passport with at least six (6) months remaining after the end of the Field School in Pompeii.

Application Requirements

A completed application form.
Application deadline: January 11, 2019.

Archaeological Field School Application Form

If you are a non-MTA student and have been conditionally accepted to the program, you are required to do the following:

  • complete a visiting student application for Mount Allison University, click here;
  • fill out a Letter of Permission through your home university and then submit a copy of your transfer credit evaluation form to provide proof of transfer credits toward your degree.



The cost for the program includes course tuition (see the Mount Allison University Registrar Office for details), a participation fee, and a $125 Study Abroad and Exchange fee. The participation fee is $2,800 (CDN), which includes accommodation in hotel, breakfast (7 days per week), lunch (5 days per week), dinner (5 days per week), insurance (, and program and equipment costs for the field school. This fee is exclusive of airfare and tuition for the credit courses.

Confirmation Policy

Students accepted for the program are required to confirm their acceptance by the end of February 15, 2019. Students confirm by paying a $500 non-refundable confirmation deposit. The remainder of the program fees must be paid by March 31, 2019.

Funding Opportunites

-Crake Traveling Scholarship - up to $6000 for one eligible Classics student.
-Mount Allison International Centre grants and bursaries page.
-Mount Allison General Bursary.
-Mount Allison Student Union Academic Enrichment Fund.
-Jane C. Waldbaum Archaeological Field School Scholarship.
-Minority Scholarship in Classics and Classical Archaeology.
-Alison Baker Travel Scholarship.

Interested students should contact Dr. Ilaria Battiloro ( for further information.