Research Travel Awards

Thanks to the generosity of various endowments, the Department of Classical Studies offers research funding to a limited number of Graduate and Undergraduate students. After completing their travel projects, the students are asked to share their experiences. Below are profiles from our past award winners.

Thanks to the generous travel funding provided by the department, in the final weeks of summer 2023, I had the amazing opportunity to participate in an archaeological field school in the Alentejo region of Portugal at a Bronze Age site known as Castelo, under the direction of Bianca Viseu (McMasters University), Rui Mataloto (University of Lisbon), and Gonçalo Bispo (University of Lisbon). Castelo is a large mountain site, only a small portion of which has been uncovered so far. This season, the goal at the site was to… read more about Jess Cruz-Taylor: Archaeological Field School, Redondo, Portugal »

Thanks to the research travel funding from the Classical Studies Department this summer, I was able to conduct research that seamlessly combined my two academic interests of neuroscience and visual studies through the Vulci 3000 Project. As a Neuroscience and Visual Media Studies double major, I had no previous experience in archeology or classical studies, but was able to meaningfully contribute to the initiative through conducting several psychological experiments. Over the course of 2 weeks, my labmates and I were able… read more about Srinjoyi Lahiri: Neurocities and Ruinscapes - Vulci 3000 Project  »

The program in which I participated through a grant given by the Classics Department at Duke was called Summer School in Homer. This was a one-week course on all things Homer located in Chios, Greece which is rumored to be the birthplace of Homer (if he did in fact even exist). The course was designed around interpreting Homeric Greek mainly from the Odyssey, and making connections to various themes and works of art from all time periods. We had many lectures covering topics like reception of Homer in ancient philosophers… read more about Aadesh Anchaliya: Homeric Greek in Chios, Greece »

This summer I participated in the Dickinsoniense Conventiculum, which was an immersive spoken Latin experience. The program itself was held at Dickinson College—a small liberal arts college in Carlisle, PA. The Conventiculum was five days long and a true test of the skills I had learned so far at Duke. The program opened with a dinner, which was the last time I spoke English with the participants for the rest of the week. Most of the participants were teachers in high schools near D.C., with me being the only undergraduate… read more about Christian Ellis: Latin Conventiculum-Immersive Spoken Latin »

For summer 2023 I had the opportunity to participate in an excavation at Pompeii, the Pompeii I.14 Project supported by Tulane University and directed by Dr. Allison Emmerson. I joined the project as a ceramics specialist and had a wonderful experience as a member of the project. My work focused on sorting and documenting the many potsherds found on site. It was very rewarding to be able to build on my previous experience working with ceramics as well as gain new knowledge and become deeply familiar with the site’s pottery… read more about Tara Wells: The Pompeii I.14 Project  »

With the aid of the Research Travel Award, I was able to travel to Italy this summer to participate in data collection for Dr. Maurizio Forte’s Neurocities and Ruinscapes Bass Connections team, as part of the Vulci 3000 Project. Our work was primarily based in the archeological site at the Etruscan and Roman city of Vulci, though we did additional experiments in Rome. The main goal of the summer work was to collect eye-tracking data using the Pupil Invisible glasses, which will later be used to create a virtual… read more about Sidney Jordan: Neurocities and Ruinscapes Bass Connections Project »

This summer I participated in the Living Latin in Rome organized by Paideia Institute. LLIR is an intensive program conducted almost exclusively in Latin. This year’s theme was Horace’s poetry. In seminar-style daily meetings we read and discussed Horace and the relevant cultural and historical material in Latin. In the afternoon we explored the archaeological sites and museum. These tours—and oftentimes lectures—were also in Latin and included additional readings and activities in Latin. The readings featured a diverse… read more about Mariami Shanshashvili: Horace and Living Latin in Rome »

Hello! I am Caitlin Childers and I’m originally from Gaffney, South Carolina. I’m a first-year Master's student, focusing on Digital Art History. I am spending two weeks as project manager on a Bass Connections project called Neurocities and Ruinscapes. We are at an archaeological site called Vulci in Rome, working on data collection. It’s an Etruscan site, and I’ll be working with my professor, Dr. Maurizio Forte, and two undergrads and learning more about the site itself. My interest in the project is informed by my goal… read more about Caitlin Childers: Neurocities and Ruinscape: Eye Tracking Experiments »

I am grateful for the department’s travel funding, which enabled me to travel to Cyprus for an archaeological excavation, and to go to Turkey to observe important archaeological sites in-person. In Cyprus, I helped investigate Kalavasos Vounaritashi, an Iron-Age site in the middle-south of the Island. This rural site is the first of its kind to be investigated in Cyprus. Our five-person team, led and directed by Dr. Catherine Kearns (Chicago) aimed to uncover another section of the site in order to better understand its use… read more about Andrew Welser: Vasilikos Valley Project »

This summer I participated in the Argilos Excavation, a dig run by the university of Montreal and the Ephoreia of Prehistoric and Classical Antiquities of Serres in Greece. As a field archeologist on this dig, I spent the majority of my time working in my trench with a team of three other undergraduate students and supervisor. On the days that we spent on-site, we spent our time digging in the trench with pickaxes and trowels while also keeping detailed notes of our activities and findings in a log book. We also took daily… read more about Tyler Donovan: Argilos Excavation »

This summer 2022 I was granted a Classical Studies Research Travel Award in support of my participation in a Summer Seminar at the American School of Classical Studies at Athens. Thanks to the generous funding and support of the Teasley Family Student Endowment Fund I was able to take part in an incredible opportunity that made for an educational and enriching summer. The Summer Seminar I attended was focused on the Northern Aegean: Macedon and Thrace, so we spent most of our three weeks together traveling around the… read more about Tara Wells: ASCSA Summer Seminar: The Northern Aegean: Macedon and Thrace »

Thanks to the research travel funding from the Classical Studies Department this summer, I was able to explore both the discipline of archaeology and the history and art of Italy through the Vulci 3000 Project. As an Economics and Art History major, I was virtually completely new to archaeology, but the Trench Supervisors, especially Dani Vander Horst, worked closely with me to teach me the excavation and documentation methods I needed to succeed this summer. I was able to gain an incredible amount of knowledge and new… read more about Skylar Brogan: Vulci 3000 Project »

This summer, I participated in the Exeter Humanities Institute at my alma mater, Phillips Exeter Academy. The weeklong program was dedicated to training educators in Exeter’s famous Harkness Method. The Harkness Method is founded on student led, discussion based learning in all subjects. I worked with humanities educators in all fields, from elementary to college level, to learn how to teach with Harkness. During this week, I was able to experience the Harkness Method from the perspective of both student and teacher. While… read more about Melissa Baroff: Exeter Humanities Institute »

Over the course of the summer, the department’s generous funding allowed me to return for another season to the Vulci 3000 project so that I could attain experience as a Trench Supervisor. This experience was enlightening in many aspects and allowed me to gain a better appreciation for the higher-level decision making processes that occur in archaeological fieldwork and the minute-by-minute interpretative decisions that must be made by supervisors and directors. The Vulci 3000 project is an important source of data within… read more about Danielle Vander Horst: Fieldwork Supervisor Experience »

Thanks to the summer funding provided by this department research travel award, I was able to attend and complete the British School at Rome’s postgraduate course in Roman epigraphy, held in person in Rome, Italy. The course was conducted from July 11th to July 20th, under the direction of Dr. Abigail Graham. The course provided an excellent introduction to the field of Roman epigraphy by taking us students on a series of educational trips throughout Rome, including a day trip to Ostia Antica. Other destinations included… read more about Benjamin Moon-Black: British School at Rome's Postgraduate course in Roman Epigraphy »

I was able to take advantage of several opportunities this summer thanks to the generous funding offered by the department. My summer started off with the Duke in Rome summer study abroad program for which I served as the Teaching Assistant alongside Prof. Gonzalez. It was a truly incredible experience! We brought a fantastic group of Duke undergraduates on the educational adventure of a lifetime, teaching Roman history through the very fabric of the city itself. We also made numerous excursions to visit the most important… read more about Antonio LoPiano: Roman and Etruscan Archaeology »

I am grateful for the departmental funding that enabled me to participate in the Vulci 3000 Archaeological project, led by Dr. Maurizio Forte, for the first time. As a budding Etruscologist, I was excited to continue my studies of Etruscan civilization at such an important site. The tombs of Vulci’s wealthiest citizens yielded some of antiquity’s most heralded painted vases and other artifacts in centuries past, yet the Vulci 3000 project is the first scientific stratigraphical excavation of the city itself. In this season’… read more about Andrew Welser: Vulci 3000 Archaeological Project »

This summer, I worked with Professor Maurizio Forte in the region of Viterbo, Italy on the Vulci 3000 project. Entering this season, I hoped to further explore my passions for Classics, Computer Science, and digital strides in archaeological fieldwork. For me, archaeology is the natural way to extend my studies outside the classroom. While during the year I spend my time learning about the grammar and culture of ancient civilizations, I hope to spend my summers with my knees bent digging in their footsteps, their roads,… read more about Alex Pieroni: Vulci 3000 Excavation Project »

Thanks to generous funding from the department this summer, I was able to continue my participation in the Vulci 3000 Archaeological Project as a Trench Supervisor, under the supervision of Prof. Maurizio Forte. It always a thrill to be a part of such an important project and it wouldn’t be possible without the support of the department and our generous donors. Gaining excavation experience is always critical at this stage of my career and the excavations at Vulci are constantly turning up exciting new discoveries. These… read more about Antonio LoPiano: Vulci 3000 Archaeological Project »

I am indebted to the department’s generous funding which allowed me to join the Vulci 3000 Archaeological Project this summer with Professor Maurizio Forte. Never having been to Vulci before, this was an invaluable experience in adding to my professional skills in the field. Every project and site are run differently based on the research questions and methodologies in use, so having the chance to join the Vulci team and learn more about the research project itself as well as the unique combination of digital tools at the… read more about Dani Vander Horst: Vulci 3000 Archaeological Project »

Research Travel Award Winner (Graduate): Summer 2019 This summer I spent six weeks in Cologne, Germany participating in the German for Classics Students summer program. The course, held at the University of Cologne, is designed for graduate students of Classics who wish to acquire a more active knowledge of German for their studies. I decided to apply for the program because I hope to read the works of the many prominent German philosophers and scholars who have written on Plato, the intended subject of my dissertation.… read more about Leo Trotz-Liboff: German for Classical Students Summer Program, Cologne Germany »

Research Travel Award Winner (Undergraduate): Summer 2019 For a month over the summer following the first year at Duke I was given the incredible opportunity to travel to the Vulci, an Archaeological Park located about an hour and a half north of Rome, Italy. There I worked with Dr. Maurizio Forte and his team as they excavated an ancient Etruscan and Roman urban city center. The project, Vulci 3000 focuses on combining methods of traditional archaeology with innovative technology like Photogrammetry, GIS and remote… read more about Anna Gotskind: Documentarian and Writer for Vulci 3000 Archaeological Excavations, Vulci, Italy »

Research Travel Award Winner (Graduate): Summer 2019 This July, I attended the Conventiculum Dickinsoniense, a yearly meeting for Latin enthusiasts eager to enhance their spoken Latin abilities. Together with several dozen other participants, including fellow graduate student Tori Lee, I spent a week playing games, attending seminars, creating dialogues, and watching plays all in Latin. On the first day of the Conventiculum everyone signs an oath agreeing that they will speak entirely and only in Latin with fellow… read more about Clinton Kinkade: Spoken Latin, Dickinson College, Carlisle, PA »

Research Travel Award Winner (Undergraduate): Summer 2019 Thanks to the Duke Classics Department, this summer I was able to complete some research necessary for my senior honors thesis at the Vatican Film Library at Saint Louis University.  My senior honors thesis is centered on a copy of an English translation of Suetonius’ De vita caesarum in the Rubenstein Rare Book & Manuscript Library here at Duke.  This translation is a limited edition (only 300 copies printed) from 1930 and features a dozen… read more about Gretchen Wright: Suetonius’ De vita caesarum at the Vatican Film Library, St. Louis University »

Research Travel Award Winner (Graduate): Summer 2019 This July, I spent a week at the Conventiculum Dickinsoniense in Carlisle, PA learning to speak Latin. Fellow graduate student Clinton Kinkade and I stayed with the rest of the participants at Dickinson College, where we attended seminars, played games, and had conversations—all in Latin. On the morning of the first day, all the participants took a pledge to speak only in Latin with one another throughout the duration of the program, even at meals and after hours. Though… read more about Tori Lee: Conventiculum Dickinsoniense learning to speak Latin, Carlisle, PA »

Research Travel Award Winners (Undergraduate): Summer 2019 For two weeks in August Katherine and Cordelia attended the Paideia Institute's Living Greek in Greece Program in Selianitika, Greece. The Paideia Institute invites students during this program to study classical languages through speaking, as though they were modern languages. Twice a day we met with our class, guided by a resident Paideia instructor, and we talked in Ancient Greek about the text we were reading, about life in Greece, and about our everyday lives… read more about Katherine Owensby & Cordelia Hogan: Paideia Institute's Living Greek in Greece Program, Selianitika Greece »

Research Travel Award Winner (Graduate): Summer 2019 The department’s generous research funding this summer allowed me to continue to participate in the Vulci 3000 Archaeological Project as a Trench Supervisor, under the supervision of Prof. Maurizio Forte. Every season the excavation uncovers important and tantalizing new details about the urban center of this Etruscan and Roman city. While the tombs around Vulci are famous for their rich and evocative grave assemblages of ceramics, jewelry, and artwork, the urban fabric… read more about Antonio LoPiano: Vulci 3000 Archaeological Project, Vulci Italy »

Research Travel Award Winner (Undergraduate): Summer 2019 For ten days this summer I was in Athens with Professor Sheila Dillon and her research team in the Athenian Agora. Professor Dillon’s research focuses on portrait statuary in the Agora, and she also leads the Digital Athens project in the Wired! Lab. I was a member of this project during my last two years at Duke, working with a GIS (geographic information system) software product, ArcGIS, to visualize the changes in Ancient Athens by digitizing and georeferencing… read more about Evangeline Marecki: Digital Athens, Athens Greece »

Research Travel Award Winner (Graduate): Summer 2019 For insights into the Roman military, what better places to visit than the legionary fortress Carnuntum (Austria) and the Roman forts along Hadrian’s Wall (Britain)? This summer, equipped with funding from the Research Travel Award, I was able to visit these two superlative Roman military sites and several others in Austria and Britain. Inspecting inscriptions at the archaeological depot of Carnuntum My first goal was to inspect… read more about Adrian Linden-High: Slavery in the Roman Army, Austria & Britain »

Research Travel Award Winner (Graduate): Summer 2018 Thanks to the generous research funding provided by the department this summer I was able to participate in the Vulci 3000 archaeological project lead by Professor Maurizio Forte where I was able to expand my field experience and contribute to profoundly important research into Etruscan and Roman civilization. The project focuses on investigating the urban fabric of the Etruscan and then later Roman city of Vulci in modern day Lazio, Italy. Vulci was initially settled 3,… read more about Antonio LoPiano: Vulci 3000 Archaeological Project, Vulci, Italy »