Online-Internships: Digital Field Survey Archaeology

Arrival Internship Students Fasti Survey 2020

Flavia and Claudio’s arrival at KNIR. They are welcomed by Dr. Anita Casarotto (KNIR Fellow).

This KNIR digital internship was carried out in the summer and autumn 2020 and has encouraged experimentation with new methods of communication, collaboration, education and research. As a matter of fact, we had to find the best feasible strategy to work efficiently in very challenging times during the covid-19 pandemic. The internship activities were conducted mostly online, with a short and pleasant stay at the Royal Netherlands Institute in Rome (KNIR). After a long period of remote working, it was so nice to finally meet in person our colleagues and supervisors! During the stay at the KNIR, we had the opportunity to present our results and to discuss with the academic community the importance of legacy field-survey data to study past landscape dynamics. By visiting the local libraries in Rome and Naples, and using online open-access resources and GIS tools, we were able to collect and digitize the legacy datasets of more than 30 field survey projects conducted in Molise and Puglia (central-southern Italy). The outcome of our work is now available online in the Fasti Online Survey platform! The information we collected is reusable by students and scholars: this internship has contributed in unlocking some important data for future archaeological research, and we are glad to have helped. Working with the Fasti team has allowed us to increase our skills in various fields, including data management and digitisation, communication and teamwork. This online internship was a truly great learning experience and a successful solution for conducting research (and education) in an innovative way, which proved to work even in challenging pandemic times.


Flavia Palazzini (Sapienza University of Rome), Claudio De Simone (University of Naples Federico II)


Digital Field Survey Archaeology: Online Internships with the FASTI Online Survey platform at the Royal Netherlands Institute in Rome (KNIR)
Internship host: Royal Netherlands Institute in Rome (KNIR)

The Royal Netherlands Institute in Rome (KNIR) offers a unique academic environment in which students and researchers from Dutch universities and international partners can pursue their research goals and indulge their curiosity in an international interdisciplinary setting. Located in the center of Rome near the Villa Borghese, the Institute offers an ample 24/7 library with workspaces, as well as accommodation for students and researchers. Its three key disciplines are archaeology/ancient history, art history, and history. The Institute also facilitates research in other disciplines that can benefit from the Roman monuments, institutes, museums and libraries, and the city of Rome and Italian society at large.

KNIR offers students unique academic opportunities to develop their research training and early career. These opportunities start at BA level with the interdisciplinary Summer/Winter School Roma Caput Mundi. From MA level up, KNIR offers in-depth courses and seminars with key scholars in the field. Students and researchers may also apply for individual fellowships. These research stays at the institute enable students and researchers to explore the wealth of academic resources in Rome, to write a (R)MA or PhD thesis, or develop a new research proposal. At KNIR, graduated students can also develop their application for PhD positions, supported by the KNIR community and scientific staff. Also, KNIR offers internships both at the Institute itself and at partner institutions.

Description of the internship:

In this archaeological KNIR internship, students learn to integrate large field survey datasets on a digital platform. Archaeological field surveys are a major source of information about past societies. Especially for the Mediterranean area, large survey datasets from projects between the 1970s and now are available. The early projects often, however, used different field methods, which makes it difficult to compare and combine the different datasets. To understand larger scale developments in ancient society, we need to integrate these data in one platform. FASTI Online Survey (FOS) is this platform.

FOS is a web-based platform for the online publication of survey projects and data that was recently developed by scholars from the Royal Netherlands Institute in Rome (KNIR), the International Association for Classical Archaeology (AIAC) and L-P Archaeology (UK). FOS consists of a webGIS and open-access archive for the storage, integration, publication and permanent availability of Mediterranean survey data. This data crowdsourcing platform allows researchers who conducted field-walking surveys in the Mediterranean to publish open-access the (legacy) survey data and metadata of their projects, and share them for reuse with other researchers and heritage professionals.

Your work:
Under the supervision of Dr. Anita Casarotto (KNIR Fellow/UL) and Dr. Tesse Stek (KNIR, UL), students will collect, digitise and upload in FOS the legacy survey data from survey projects conducted in two regions of central-southern Italy. They will furthermore assist international researchers with the data-entry into FOS, and take care of data archiving. Moreover, students will also engage with networking through social media (e.g. Facebook, Twitter), help producing videos (e.g. in YouTube or documentary broadcast), and develop the website in order to promote FOS and increase its outreach, and thus incentivise data crowdsourcing among researchers.

In principle, students can do their stage entirely online and it is thus ‘Covid-19 proof’. At the end of the project, however, there is the possibility of a research stay at the institute in Rome, to discuss their work with the KNIR researchers and present it to the KNIR community.

Training goals, skills and expertise gained by students:

  • We offer students the possibility to expand their expertise in collection, digitisation and management of archaeological field data, specifically of legacy survey data.
  • Students will increase their knowledge in archaeological data crowdsourcing, reuse and analysis as well as in open data archiving, preservation policy and stewardship with digital archaeological research infrastructures.
  • Students will engage in collaborative archaeology and in what constitutes good practice around publication, authorship, citation and reuse of previously-collected data.
  • There are good possibilities to develop your experience further for your (R)MA thesis or PhD.


  • (Research)Master students in Classical and Mediterranean archaeology and/or Digital archaeology with preferably a specialization in one or more of these fields: field survey/landscape archaeology, Italian archaeology, open data, digital data acquisition, computational methods. Students must be enrolled in one of the KNIR partner Universities in the Netherlands (UvA, VU, UL, UU, RUN, RUG) or in Italian universities; students from other universities can sometimes be admitted, contact KNIR about this before applying.
  • Good ability in using GIS software;
  • Advanced digital ability in creating and sharing online content through social media (e.g. YouTube videos; posting to Facebook, Twitter, Instagram); web design experience is an advantage;
  • Good communication skills, especially with online communities;
  • Fluent in English and knowledge of Italian language (ideally advanced reading and writing proficiency);
  • Survey experience in the Mediterranean is an advantage (esp. in Italy, such as in Molise, Basilicata and Apulia).

Period: between 1 June – 1 December 2020 for a minimum of 2 weeks (precise dates will be established by mutual agreement).

Credits: Between 3 and 9 EC, according to the standard hour rate (minimum 3 ECTS = 84 hours).


KNIR offers: at the end of the project, the possibility of a research stay at the institute in Rome, to discuss the results and present the student’s work with the KNIR researchers. This research stay includes free accommodation at the KNIR, as well as a compensation for expenses such as travel costs.

Application and admission:
The selection of participants (max. 2) is based on:
1) motivation
2) experience
3) the positioning of the internship in the student’s curriculum

Explain both in a brief letter of motivation (max. 1 A4).

Apply before
22 May 2020

More info
Phone: (+39)063269621