O pe n i n g D o o r s t o Stu d ent American Institute for Roman Culture
Ed uc at i o n i n R o me
Who We Are
The American Institute for Roman Culture is a 501c3 non profit organization
that was founded in 2002 to promote and defend Rome's cultural heritage
through teaching, archaeological excavation, and conservation.
AIRC is provocative academics. Since 2003, more than 500 students have
attended our semester and bespoke summer programs and excavation
seasons. Along with our education programs, we conduct conservation
projects with World Monuments Fund and Italian Superintendencies. We
dialogue and are partnered with some of the most advanced academic research
institutions to further the implementation of new technologies in the fields of
archaeology and conservation, such as the Getty Conservation Institute, the
Milken Institute and Cotsen Institute initiatives. AIRC exists in Rome as the
only American organization dedicated to an open, accessible dialogue between
Italy and the United States in order to preserve its past.
Executive Director and co-founder Darius Arya has created a unique academic
programming that has led to innovative first-hand, on-site learning experiences
for bespoke programs in art history, classical studies, visual arts and general
studies. As researcher and scholar, Dr. Arya is completing several studies on
multidisciplinary topics, such as ancient Roman religion, topography of ancient
Rome and ancient Roman technology. He has appeared as expert host in
documentaries for the History, National Geographic and Discovery channels.
Dr. Arya holds a B.A. degree in Classics from the University of Pennsylvania,
and a M.A. in Latin and Ph.D. in Classical Archaeology from the University of
Texas at Austin, and is the recipient of a Fulbright scholarship, American
Academy in Rome “Lewis B. Cullman” Rome Prize, and a “University
Fellowship” from the University of Texas at Austin.
Why Choose the AIRC? The answer is simple. The AIRC is located in the very
c e n t e r o f o n e o f h i s t o r y ’s m o s t i m p o r t a n t c i t i e s . And
Rome is not just our setting, it is the key ingredient in
our program as our goal is the on-going interaction
b e t w e e n o u r s t u d e n t s , t h e c i t y a n d t h e c o m m u n i t y.
Rome is our classroom with the majority of coursework
and lessons learned in the field, while our office, lesson
rooms and student housing are located in the city
center within walking distance from major monuments,
museums and galleries. We introduce students and
scholars alike to the unseen side of Rome through
special access projects and the people who oversee
R o m e ’s c u l t u r a l h e r i t a g e .
Most i m p o r t a n t l y, AIRC academic coordination is
tailored to our students and affiliate institutions. Our
teaching staff and guest lecturers are comprised of
renowned academics and working professionals. And
our network expands through the international academic
c o m m u n i t y, a s w e l l t h e n o o k s a n d c r a n n i e s o f I t a l y.
The AIRC-Holy Cross semester program is a
highly engaging experience into the ancient
world and in the related ﬁelds of history,
urban planning, architecture, engineering, art
history, Italian language and religious studies.
By exploring the layers of Rome's history
from its inception to beyond imperial times,
students gain a well-rounded appreciation of
Rome's past and its enduring relevance.
Much of the program is out of the traditional
classroom experience and focused on study
of normally inaccessible sites, ﬁeld trip
excursions around the city, nearby Italian
regions like Campania and abroad such the
Roman North African province (modern-day
Tunisia), and archaeological excavation.
Forma Urbis and Archaeology
Forma Urbis is the semester program keystone and a double-credit course that
introduces the student to all aspects of the ancient city: the natural, geological
landscape and the Romans' continual efforts to preserve and reshape it. We explore
the 14 regions within the city walls and their transformation, from the archaic period
until the end of antiquity. We then examine the activities from the Middle Ages
through the Fascist era, and include special focus on the past 20 years of
As we study the monuments and the people who created them, we include topical
studies of archaeology, history, art history, religion and aspects of daily life. Beyond
the city, we explore the environs of Rome, sites such as Ostia and Tivoli, and region
of Campania (Pompeii, Naples, Cumae, etc.), and abroad to Tunisia, as an example
of an imperial province whose own rich history (Punic, Roman, Vandal, Byzantine,
Islam), provides a parallel study of Rome's rise and fall. The culmination of the
course is a week-long excavation practicum, learning methodology in the classroom,
followed by ﬁrst-hand excavation experience in an excavation site.
Throughout the semester, students conduct personal explorations throughout the
city, and make a series of presentations for the class, as well as write original papers.
Students may opt for one of four specialized tracks, to further pursue areas of
personal and/or major interest: art history, classical studies, history and religious
Art History and Religious Studies
The AIRC offers courses in Art History and Religious Studies, taking advantage of the
historical and cultural resources of Rome and Italy. Field trips to museums, galleries and
historic sites in and around Rome are complemented with class-related ﬁeld studies in
other cities in Italy as well as outside, such as Tunisia.
The Institute offers a strong range of courses in art history and religious studies, subject
to minimum enrollment. Courses can include Ancient Roman Art and Sculpture,
Renaissance Rome, Baroque Rome, Early Christianity, and Art and Iconography of
Ancient Roman Religions. These courses are designed for Art History and Religious
Studies majors as well as ﬁrst time scholars from all academic backgrounds.
Cla s s ic al La n g u a g e s
Imagine studying the Claudian
inscription of the ﬁrst century AD
cippus (Roman city boundaries marker)
in person. AIRC offers classical
languages Greek and Latin for its
semester program where study is both
in classroom and on site at dedicatory
monuments and epigraphic museums
for ﬁrst-hand review and discussion of
Classical language students are not
required to have any prior knowledge of
any ancient languages. Those that do
have knowledge of Latin and/ or Greek
and are required to take an ancient
language, have the possibility of taking
intermediate and advanced Latin and
Fundamental to the semester program in Rome is coursework in Italian studies: language, past and
contemporary culture, and history, so that students are not merely studying in Rome, they are fully
experiencing Rome and Italy in every possible facet. The Italian studies courses emphasize verbal
communication which then encourages students to learn Italian naturally, to combine theory with practice,
and to increase their knowledge quickly and with conﬁdence.
The Italian studies courses are taught by native Italian speakers and experienced language instructors who
have been specially trained in teaching Italian to foreign students. Along with classroom lessons, student will
learn and develop language skills through real- life situations such as conversation workshops and market
and site visits. Courses are taught in Italian and all students are required to take an Italian class.
Our ofﬁces and classrooms are housed in a beautiful
Renaissance palazzo in the city center. This now state-of-
the-art building has been outﬁtted to accommodate
students’ needs with student lab with PCs and MACs,
library and wireless hotspots.
Student housing is located in the Rome’s historic center.
Each apartment is equipped ADSL (wiﬁ) and fully furnished.
Since 2003, the American Institute has organized excavations in awe-inspiring locations
such as the Roman Forum (2003, 2004), Ostia Antica (2006-2010), Villa delle Vignacce/
Parco delle Acquedotti, Rome (2006-2010), and Ocriticum, Abruzzo (2008). The AIRC has
continued to forge strong relationships with superintendencies across the country, as well as
with US organizations like American Express Foundation.
Of note is the Villa delle Vignacce excavation which, over its past four seasons, has received
international recognition for its amazing ﬁnds as well as it its unparalleled ﬁeld school. Our
ﬁeld school program offers students a unique combination of on-site ﬁeld work and
specialized academic instruction by expert archaeologists and AIRC professors.
Participants live in the city center, and visit major Roman museums and open-air sites to
augment and complement ﬁeld studies and provide participants with a broader context of
what life was like in ancient Rome.
The American Institute for Roman Culture maintains full responsibility for its digs, including
funding of the project. Thanks to the 2006 success of the Villa delle Vignacce excavation,
the AIRC was awarded a $150,000 grant from American Express Foundation for the 2007
and 2008 seasons. The AIRC continues to seek support from private and public donors.
Cult ur al H e ri t a g e
Santa Maria Antiqua, WMF Villa dell Vignacce excavaton detail, Asclepius head, Vignacce 2008
Preserving the past for future generations is the heart of the Institute's mission. Study and documentation frame the current situation and status of a site or object, and are the starting for point for treatment and
preservation. We have been involved the World Monuments Fund conservation project at Santa Maria Antiqua, a Pompeii-like site for its quality of early medieval frescoes. The Institute has also been involved in the
conservation of its archaeological projects and in collaboration with Politecnico di Milano for a laser scan of excavated remains. We are embarking on larger, multi-disciplinary projects in Rome and Ostia Antica, and
future projects in Tunisia and Sicily.
The AIRC has designed a number of program options that can be easily customized to meet diverse program
needs. Custom programs can either be built on existing AIRC programs, thus allowing use of Institute
infrastructure, or can be built from scratch allowing ultimate ﬂexibility for partner institutions.
Working with administrators to calculate the cost per student, we can assist program directors in ﬁnding the
most cost-effective combination of services to meet their college’s or university’s speciﬁc program needs.
Through the joint efforts of Program Directors and AIRC programming staff, the Institute can adjust the length
or dates of programs, develop custom courses, limit or expand planned extracurricular and course related
activities, and arrange for faculty hires where need be until together we create a rich and exciting program
that is also within students' budgets.
With your help, the AIRC would like to tailor a program to your university’s speciﬁc requirements, giving you
more ﬂexibility and versatility to provide your students with a truly rewarding international education
AIRC designs bespoke J-term, pre-
session, Spring Break, summer- and
semester- long programs.
Univer s i t i e s R e p re s e n t ed
Students from around the globe have studied with the AIRC in our semester, customized and summer excavation programs. We are proud to have the following
Semester Program Afﬁliate Institutions Arizona State University
College of the Holy Cross (partner) Brandeis University
College of the Holy Cross
Brown University Summer Excavations
Davidson College Davidson College Carthage College Villa delle Vignacce, Roman
Trinity University Gustavus Aldophus College Clemson University Forum, Ostia Antica
University of Southern California College of the Holy Cross
University of Texas, Austin University of Southern California College of William & Mary
University of Texas, Austin
Harvard University University of California, Santa Cruz
Kennesaw State University University of Cincinnati
Customized Programs Kenyon University University of Colorado
Academy of Art University Lafayette University University Of Mary Washington
Brown University MA from Montclair State University of Michigan
Carthage College Macquarie University University of New England
College of the Holy Cross Ohio Wesleyan UNC, Chapel Hill
NEH Seminar 2005* Oxford University University of New Mexico
Northeastern University** Portland State University University of New South Wales
Reginald Foster’s Latin Academy Saint Olaf College University of Nottingham
School of Visual Arts San Francisco State University University of Oregon
St. Joseph’s University** School of Oriental and African Studies University of Rhode Island
University of California, Sacramento Seaton Hall University University of San Diego
University of Southern California** Skidmore College University of Southern California
UTexas (Austin) Plan II Honors Program Stanford University University of Wisconsin
Yale University Temple University Uppsala University
University of California, Berkeley Washington University St. Louis
*speaker at June 2010 seminar, **new in 2010 University of California, Los Angeles Yale University
Wha t P e o p l e A re S a y i ng
To Whom It May Concern:
Student, College of the Holy The College of the Holy Cross has partnered with
Cross, Spring Semester 08 the American Institute for Roman Culture (AIRC)
since the Spring of 2007. So far, Holy Cross has
“I could see a lot of planning and working behind the scenes was
partnered in three highly successful semester
done to facilitate our visits to certain restricted areas (ex: Santa Maria
programs and three equally successful summer
Antiqua, various portions of Pompey’s Theater) and I am grateful for
that work. I really enjoyed the ﬂexibility and adaptability of programs run by the AIRC. Both the semester
AIRC; it gave me a bit of the Italian ﬂavor on the and the spring programs contain a Roman
academic side of things.” topography/archaeology/history component and
an Italian-language component.
Holy Cross has been extremely pleased with the
challenging and hands-on rigor of the academic
side of the programs and also with the AIRC's
Student,University of Texas – efﬁcient and responsive administration. The
Austin, Plan II 2008 College will be sending students to the AIRC
again this spring and summer, and we are
“Just from listening to the other students and from my own expecting to partner long-term with the AIRC.
opinions, this experience was unique and something that I will
Feel free to contact me if you have any questions.
remember forever. It could not have been as successful
without the organization and planning of the
Professor Brittain Smith
Director of Study Abroad
College of the Holy Cross
Contact the following individuals who serve as references for the Institute's work:
Karl Galinsky, Professor of Classics, UT Austin firstname.lastname@example.org
Bernard Frischer, professor of classics, UVA email@example.com
Susan Alcock, Professor of Classical Archaeology, Brown University Susan_Alcock@brown.edu
Darius A. Arya, Ph.D, Executive Director
Lynda Albertson, Director of Programming
USA (512) 772-1844 Italy (39) 06 95555 8659