Skip to Content
Wake Forest University

Study Abroad

Home | Find a program | Meet our staff | Deadlines | Login 

Programs : Brochure
This page is the brochure for your selected program. You can view the provided information for this program on this page and click on the available buttons for additional options.
WFU/Portugal (Summer)
Rio Maior, Portugal
Program Terms: Summer
This program is currently not accepting applications.
Dates / Deadlines:
There are currently no active application cycles for this program.
Fact Sheet:
 GPA Requirement:
 Class Status:
2 semesters completed
 Language of Instruction:
 Prior Language Study Required:
 Academic Areas Offered:
Program Description:
European Prehistory and Archaeological Field School



The Wake Forest University European Prehistory and Archaeological Field School is based in Rio Maior, a small town situated one hour north of Lisbon.  Located along the ecological transition between Atlantic and Mediterranean zones, this region has incredibly diverse biological, geological, and cultural resources in addition to a rich and well-preserved record of the prehistoric human past.


Summer I
, May 28 - June 25, 2013

Academic Program

The intensive field-based course provides hands-on training in a wide range of archaeological field skills including excavation techniques, site/profile mapping, regional site prospection, survey orienteering, basic stratigraphy, sedimentology/environmental reconstruction, artifact recording/stabilization, and introductory laboratory analysis. These diverse techniques are taught within an innovative pedagogical framework combining actual field research with travel to other archaeological sites and museums sequenced by major chronological stages representing 40,000 years of cultural evolution in European prehistory.


Five unique archaeological sites comprise the field setting for the Portugal program research activities. Collapsed caves near Vale de Laranja are the oldest sites under investigation by Wake Forest University; these caves were home to Neanderthals more than 35,000 years ago as evidenced by their stone tools. Students also excavate an Upper Paleolithic campsite near the village of Alcobertas that dates to just after the last ice age about 18,000 years ago. Often the highlight of the summer experience, Wake Forest program participants assist in mapping and roomblock excavations at the spectacular Late Bronze Age hillfort of Sao Martinho.  During the final week of the course, students expose and restore mosaic floors from a newly-discovered Roman villa near the historic center of Rio Maior, and conduct a pioneering study of Islamic and medieval period storage silos.

Students enroll in Anthropology 381 and 382 ("Field Research in Archaeology") for 6 hours of academic credit through the Wake Forest University Summer School.  Both courses are taught in English by Dr. Paul Thacker of WFU's Department of Anthropology.  Scheduled guest lectures and field demonstrations by Carlos Pereira and other Portuguese prehistorians along with fieldwork in teams of Portuguese and American students complement the intercultural experience. 



Excursions and Cultural Activities

Students explore the different regions of Portugal while studying variation in prehistoric human adaptations across past landscapes. All transportation, meals, and admission costs are included in the program fee. In 2006, the more than 30 archaeological site excursions included Stone Age rock art sites in the Coa Valley, the painted cave of El Castillo in northern Spain, Megalithic stone monuments and tombs near Evora, the ruins of the Roman city at Conimbriga, and the unusual medieval sites near Alcobertas.  Additionally, professional archaeologists hosted special lectures at the Portuguese National Archaeological Museum, the Roman Theatre and Se of Lisbon, the BCP site in Baixa, the University of Coimbra, and the Archaeological Museum of Cantabrian Prehistory in Santander, Spain. Cultural excursions usually include trips to Alcobaca, Batalha, Castelo Rodrigo, Coimbra, Caldas da Rainha, Evora, Fatima, Lagos, Lisbon, Monseraz, Obidos, Porto, Sao Pedro do Corval, Sintra, Tomar, Vila Nova de Gaia, plus overnight visits to the Spanish cites of Salamanca and Santander. 

Students are housed in double occupancy rooms at a small hotel and conference center within walking distance of cafes, restaurants, shops, supermarkets, and the archaeological research center.  Student rooms have modern amenities, including air-conditioning, cable television, private bathrooms, and study desks.  Continental breakfast is served daily in the hotel, which includes fruits, cheeses, cereals, pastries, and breads.  Because of the remote field location of our excavations, lunches usually consist of sandwiches, chips, fruit, cheese, snack foods, and yogurt.  Nightly dinners are scheduled at local restaurants with a wide selection of traditional Portuguese cuisine.

The total cost of summer study abroad can be broken down into four categories: 
*Program Fee -
Usually covers room, in-country travel, excursions, some meals and other costs associated with the program.
*Tuition – Students on WFU summer programs pay WFU summer school tuition per credit hour. The 2013 summer rate is $880/per credit hour.

*Airfare (estimated) – Varies per location. Students are responsible for their own airfare unless otherwise noted.
*Personal Expenses (estimated) – These will vary depending on the students' spending habits, cost of living in the destination country, and the number of meals included in the program fee. This may also include visa fees, vaccinations, academic supplies/books and other miscellaneous daily expenses.

Program Fee - $3,675
Tuition (6 hrs) - $5,280
Airfare (estimated) - $1,200

Personal Expenses (estimated) ~ $300
Estimated total cost - $10,455


The program fee covers all lodging, all meals, extensive in-country transportation in air-conditioned vans, all archaeological and cultural excursions, archaeological field equipment, permits, and admission fees.

Selection Criteria 
*Good academic standing

*Majors from all disciplines are welcome to apply 
*There are no course prerequisites for enrollment

Please contact the Center for International Studies for information about their summers scholarship.

Contact Information
Dr. Paul Thacker, Faculty Director and Anthropology Professor
Phone: (336) 758 5497


This program is currently not accepting applications.
Wake Forest

Search Directories Help Site Map Home