Fieldwork in the Medieval Mediterranean

Summer 2014
Malta and Sicily (Rome and Venice Optional)
May 19-June 7, 2014

Program Highlights


  • Experience the warmth and hospitality of the people
  • Study in Valletta, a perfectly-preserved baroque walled city, and a UNESCO World Heritage Site
  • Explore the narrow streets of Mdina, "The Silent City"
  • Investigate deserted medieval settlements in the Maltese countryside
  • Examine first-hand the contributions of ecology and the environment to sustain population



  • Visit the medieval sity of Palermo
  • See the Byzantine architecture of the medieval palace of Monreal


  • See the capital of the ancient Roman Empire, and visit its archeological sites


  • Experience the commercial hub of the medieval Mediterranean world

Program Description

The history of the Mediterranean Sea and its surrounding regions is shaped by its climate and geography. This history course will go out of the classroom to explore the settlement patterns, the ecology, and the archeological sites that bear witness to human life in and around the Italian peninsula during the middle ages. The course will begin with classes at the University of Malta's original Baroque Building located in Valletta, a UNESCO World-Heritage city. The students will visit deserted medieval settlements and trace the fortunes of Malta's population after the decline of the Roman Empire. Malta is a small island located in the Mediterranean Sea within easy reach of Sicily and Rome.  It has been ruled by Romans, Muslims, Normans, Spaniards, and, most famously, The Knights of Malta; it is now a member of the European Union with English as one of its official languages. From Malta the students will travel to Sicily, to experience its unique mixture of Islamic and Norman architecture. In Sicily students will learn the importance of agricultureal resources in a pre-modern society, and how conflicts emerged over the control of such resources. Students will have the option of continuing to Rome, the former capital of the Roman Empire, to visit its archeological sites and museums, and to Venice, a unique medieval city. Participation in HIST 331, The Medieval Mediterranean (offered this Spring Semester), is useful but not required for taking this course.


Course Description

All students who participate on this short-term study abroad program will be required to complete 2 credits worth of study.  These will be arranged individually with the program director to fit their 4-year plan and specific academic needs.

Program Cost

The estimated Program Fee for two weeks is $2500 plus the cost of 2 CSB/SJU credits at the reduced summer tuition rate (approximately $525 per credit). Students planning to stay a third week will pay an additional $750 (estimated).

This price includes:

  • Round-trip international airfare from Minneapolis to Malta; transportation between Malta and Sicily
  • Accommodation during the program
  • Local transportation
  • Course related excursions including: admission to museums, cultural attractions, and other events outlined in the itinerary
  • Program administrative costs and fees
  • 1 meal per day

The Program Fee does not include:

  • Two meals per day (estimated at $6 - $10 per meal)
  • Personal spending money
  • Activities, housing or transportation not associated with or included in the program
  • 2 CSB/SJU credits at the reduced summer tuition rate (approximately $525 per credit)



Theresa Vann, Assistant Professor of History, has eighteen years of experience visiting and teaching at the University of Malta. She has directed 2 previous study-abroad programs in Malta and in the Mediterranean.