Howard Comfort, FAAR’29, Summer School in Roman Pottery Studies

Two Summer School participants stand next to and examine dozens of fragments of ancient Roman pottery

Two Summer School participants stand next to and examine dozens of fragments of ancient Roman pottery


Potsherds constitute the most frequent group of finds on archaeological sites in the Mediterranean. Thus pottery studies form an essential part of any archaeological research project. Pottery usually offers the most important evidence for dating sites and provides a major source for studies ranging from trade relations and food consumption to questions of identity.

The Summer School in Roman Pottery Studies is a four-week program designed to present the basics of Roman pottery studies, which can be gained only through direct contact with ceramic assemblages. As Rome had the most diversified pottery supply among sites in the ancient world, the AAR is well placed, through its own collections and other material deposited there, to teach a subject rarely offered in American universities. Since the school’s establishment in 2006 to honor the memory of Howard Comfort (a Fellow of the American Academy in Rome and an eminent scholar of Roman pottery), it has thus come to fill a need, gaining a reputation as the premier venue for introducing aspiring scholars to the field, and its alumni are increasingly in demand on projects in Italy and elsewhere.

The course consists of two parts: the taught seminar, where students will learn the fundamentals of Roman pottery including single ceramic classes with their characteristics, function, date and provenience. This section will also include a variety of field trips and visits to major collections. In the second part the participants will apply their knowledge to an assemblage of ceramic Veii. This element is designed to give the participants practical experience by working on their own or in small groups under the supervision of the director.

Participants may also wish to participate in the AAR/Gabii Joint Summer Program in the Digital Documentation of Archaeological Collections.


June 19–July 14, 2017.

Application Deadline

February 1, 2017.


Archer Martin, Research Associate at the University of Cologne and former Andrew W. Mellon Professor-in-Charge of AAR’s School of Classical Studies.


Five to ten people.


The program is intended for graduate students in archaeology, but qualified advanced undergraduate students and working archaeologists will also be considered. The program is open to candidates of all nationalities with a sufficient command of English.


Tuition: $2,800 covers tuition, excursions, and materials supplied by the Summer School for use during the program.

Housing: Two housing options are available. At the American Academy, you can stay in a:

  • Shared twin room (without bathroom) – €900 for four weeks

  • Single room (without bathroom) – €1540 for four weeks

  • Single room (with bathroom) – €2300 for four weeks

Room availability cannot be guaranteed and applicants should indicate their need for housing in their application. Housing at the Academy is recommended as it makes participation easier and adds to the communal experience. A shared apartment may be available for approximately €583 for four weeks.

Meals can be purchased at the Academy (€15 for lunch, €27 for dinner). Meals may also be prepared in AAR’s communal kitchens.

How to Apply

A complete application consists of a cover letter explaining why the program is of interest, a curriculum vitae, and two letters of recommendation. Applications and all supporting materials, including recommendations, should be sent by email. The letters of recommendation must come from the individual references. All materials should be sent to archer.martin [at] (archer[dot]martin[at]alice[dot]it).

The deadline for tuition payments is May 1, 2017.

Accepted participants should send a check in dollars for the tuition only, made out to the American Academy in Rome, with an indication in memo line of “Roman Pottery Summer School” to: American Academy in Rome, 7 East 60th Street, New York, NY 10022 USA.

For those wishing to pay tuition in Euros, you can:

  • Send a check in euros made out to the American Academy in Rome to the Rome address 
(Via Angelo Masina, 5 - 00153 Roma) to the attention of Francesco Cagnizzi
  • Make a bank transfer to the American Academy in Rome (please email for instructions)
  • Provide us with your credit card details by phoning +39 06 5846426

Once we have received all housing requests, accepted participants who have been granted housing at the Academy will be contacted by the institution to pay a housing deposit online via credit card.

Further information about the course can be obtained directly from the course director, Archer Martin, at archer.martin [at] (archer[dot]martin[at]alice[dot]it).