UVA-Led Projects

UVA-Led Projects



Photo credit: Geoff Mason

Proyecto Arqueológico Samaipata

The Proyecto Arqueológico Samaipata, is part of a larger project in Bolivia, aimed to understand wider forms of interaction between the Andes and Amazonian basin. This project is centered in the Inka center of Samaipata, located in the eastern Inka frontier once occupied by Arawak-related and Guarani populations. With one of the largest carvedushnu outcrops and public architecture, the site is inscribed by the UNESCO in the World Heritage List. In coordination with the Centro de Investigaciones Arqueológicas de Samaipata, we are currently documenting the regional settlement history through pedestrian surveys, mapping, excavations and analysis of cultural assemblages. This will include the use of ethnohistory and remote sensing technology such as Lidar. All of this information will be useful to reveal the settlement dynamics, the ways in which diverse communities interacted in this frontier region, and the effects that the Inka empire had in the local dynamics.

​Contact: Sonia Alconini

Poggio Civitate

The Poggio Civitate Archaeological Project is one of the longest-running archaeological field schools in Italy.  Based in Tuscany, near the city of Siena, we instruct field school students in excavation techniques, archaeological conservation, cataloging, photography, and digital data collection and processing.  The site of Poggio Civitate is an Etruscan settlement inhabited from the 8th through the 6th century BCE and preserves some of the earliest examples of monumental domestic, sacred, and industrial architecture in all of peninsular Italy.  The center of the site, known as the Piano del Tesoro, became the nucleus of a larger, dispersed community, and was inhabited primarily by the community’s leading aristocratic family.  During three consecutive occupational phases, this family constructed some of the largest and most opulently decorated buildings in the Mediterranean that aimed to communicate the family’s wealth, status, and authority.  Therefore, the site of Poggio Civitate is crucially important for the study of social stratification and urbanization in pre-Roman Italy.

Contact: Kate Kreindler

Photo credit: Poggio Civitate Archaeological Project
Photo credit: Tyler Jo Smith

Caesarea Coastal Archaeological Project (CCAP)

The Caesarea Coastal Archaeological Project (CCAP) and field school was launched in 2022 by a consortium of universities, including UNC Greensboro, FSU, University of Haifa, and UVA. The site, which is located on the northern coast of Israel, was founded as a Hellenistic anchorage settlement and developed into an elaborate Roman city with a manmade harbor under Herod the Great. The project is exploring the post-Roman occupation phases of the city as well as continuing research on the coast.


Contact: Tyler Jo Smith


Later Zanzibar Archaeology Project (LZAP)

​LZAP, or the Later Zanzibar Archaeology Project, is a collaboration between Adria LaViolette, Neil Norman (William & Mary), and Abdallah Ali (Zanzibar Antiquities), to examine the early European colonial period in the Zanzibar countryside. It focuses on two walled Portuguese ‘farmsteads’ in northwest Zanzibar, built to manage attempts at commercial agriculture, as well as the immediately surrounding countryside of Swahili settlements. They are studying the kinds of interactions between Swahili and Portuguese people taking place in the 15th-16th centuries that are discernible from the archaeological record. Although ultimately the Portuguese failed at colonizing this region in these centuries, their efforts signaled the beginning of Arab and European colonization of eastern Africa and other Indian Ocean regions. This work builds on Prof. LaViolette’s ongoing research into Swahili life, 7th-15th centuries CE, and opens up new questions about the less well-examined, last 500 years of Swahili archaeology. Archaeological research featuring the last few centuries is of great interest to local communities and visitors on Zanzibar, and thus this project includes heritage management conservation and education in cooperation with local heritage and archaeological authorities.

Contact: Adria LaViolette

Photo credit: UNESCO
Photo credit: Kotroni Archaeological Survey Project

Kotroni Archaeological Survey Project (KASP)

Beginning in summer 2019, the Kotroni Archaeological Survey Project (KASP), led by Dr Anastasia Dakouri-Hild was launched as a collaboration between the Ephorate of Antiquities of East Attica and the Irish Institute for Hellenic Studies at Athens with the friendly agreement of the Athens University excavations. Details about the site and the project are available here.

Contact: Anastasia Dakouri-Hild

Inhabiting Byzantine Athens

Inhabiting Byzantine Athens is a digital project in collaboration with The Institute for Advanced Technology in the Humanities (IATH), employing computational methods to identify and systematically extract information from the Athenian Agora Excavations’ archives pertaining exclusively to the Byzantine and Frankish periods. Such methods will allow the project to interrelate different types of information (artifacts, maps, notes) and integrate different media (text, images, 3D reconstructions, video etc.) that will in turn support a detailed study, visualization and interpretation of the excavation results. The project also deals with new solutions in dealing with legacy data that can be replicated and used by other archaeological projects that face similar challenges in making their archival collections more usable and accessible.

Contact: Fotini Kondyli

Photo credit: American School of Classical Studies at Athens, Agora Excavations
Photo credit: Monticello


The Department of Archaeology is dedicated to studying and preserving Monticello's archaeological record, and to deciphering its meaning through comparative research. Historical topics of special focus in the Department's fieldwork include landscape history and slavery, both at Monticello and in the Chesapeake region. The Department is home to the Digital Archaeological Archive of Comparative Slavery, an Internet-based initiative designed to foster collaborative research and data sharing among archaeologists. The Department also houses extensive artifact collections from past and ongoing archaeological fieldwork at Monticello.

Contact: Monticello Archaeology

Flowerdew Hundred

Featuring archaeological artifacts excavated at Flowerdew Hundred, a historic site on the James River, this exhibit presents material evidence of Virginia's early inhabitants: Native American pottery sherds; arms and armor used to defend the new colony; refined, imported wares from Europe; and American-made goods, including items manufactured by African Americans.

Contact: Meg Kennedy

Image credit: University of Virginia Library Archive
Photo credit: 3DGV

3D Greek Vases

The 3D Greek Vase Scanning and Printing Project (3DGV) brings together faculty, staff, and students at the University of Virginia to create scale replicas of the Greek vases in the collection of the Fralin Museum of Art using rapid prototyping technologies. Beginning in January 2015 as the brainchild of Professor Tyler Jo Smith and undergraduate engineering student Gregory Lewis, the project has since grown into a collaborative effort between the archaeology program, the UVa Library System, the UVa Engineering School, and the Fralin Museum, and has been featured in numerous articles, talks, and conferences, both at UVa and across the country.

Contact: Tyler Jo Smith

Insurgent Artifacts

Insurgent Artifacts studies the exploitation of archaeological materials in areas of armed conflict, with a particular interest in the Syrian civil war. Artifacts were systematically damaged by the Islamic State as part of its propaganda campaign against secular learning and pre-Islamic civilizations. They were also damaged via systematic looting of archaeological sites, a practice undertaken by several insurgent groups in the region. This project seeks to break new theoretical ground by asking whether artifact exploitation correlates with direct violence against civilian populations. Students with interest in archaeology, sociology, anthropology, and political science are particularly welcome to inquire about research opportunities.

Contact: Fiona Greenland

Image credit: Chaco Culture NHP Museum Collection, University of New Mexico

Chaco Research Archive

The Chaco Research Archive is an online resource providing access to a wealth of information documenting the history of archaeological research in Chaco Canyon, New Mexico. The archive includes material from dozens of sites excavated in the Chaco Culture National Historical Park and beyond.

Contact: Chaco Research Archive, Stephen Plog

Pompeii Forum Project

The Pompeii Forum Project is a collaborative research venture that is archaeologically based, heavily dependent upon advanced technology, and so conceived as to address broad issues in urban history and urban design. Evidence gathered to date challenges commonly held and widely published notions about the evolution of the forum, especially during the final years of the city's life. The goals are to provide the first systematic documentation of the architecture and decoration of the forum, to interpret evidence as it pertains to Pompeii's urban history, and to make wider contributions to both the history of urbanism and contemporary problems of urban design.

Contact: John Dobbins

Image credit: Pompeii Forum Project
Image credit: Cultural Heritage Online


The main focus of the American Excavations at Morgantina is to publish the many decades of data produced from the 1950s to 1980s. We are collaborating with our Sicilian colleagues on several fronts: new displays in the museum; visitors’ itineraries and signage (in Italian and English) on the site; and the preservation and restoration of the many structures and objects from the site.

Inhabited as early as the Bronze Age, Morgantina had an important Iron Age settlement of longhouses centered on an acropolis known as the Cittadella. In the second quarter of the sixth century B.C., buildings that are Greek in construction technique and decoration appear, and the cemeteries seen a major influx of imported Greek ceramics.

Contact: Tyler Jo Smith