South-West Archaeology Digs (SWAD) is an archaeology field school running between May and September every year.

SWAD excavation and post-excavation works comprise a wide variety of sites in Portugal. Currently, our major projects are related with the excavation of the multiperiod site of Castelo Velho de Safara (in Moura); and the post-excavation in the Roman Ruins of Tróia (in Grândola).

The field and lab school is designed to provide students with hands-on experience in excavation, recording excavation work through context sheets, section drawing, plans and photographs; and assisting in the recovery, processing, recording and archiving of finds and environmental samples. By the end of your stay, you will be able to work independently on site and in the lab, and will have developed considerable teamwork skills alongside the ability to prioritize and structure tasks within a set period of time.


Project Director - Zooarchaeologist

Mariana Nabais is undertaking a PhD in Archaeology in the Institute of Archaeology at University College London (UK), where she worked as a teaching assistant in Zooarchaeology (2015) and in Field Methods (2014-2016). Mariana holds a MSc in Environmental Archaeology (2010) also through UCL, and has been part of several excavation projects in Portugal, Spain, and Peru, ranging from Prehistory to Medieval periods. Mariana was the assistant director at Downley’s Tudor hunting lodge excavation (UK) between 2014 and 2016. Her research focuses primarily on reconstructing populations’ diets and environments through faunal analyses, including mammals, birds, reptiles, molluscs and crustaceans.

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Project Director - Artefact Specialist

Rui Monge Soares is a member of the UNIARQ, Lisbon University's Institute of Archaeology. He completed his MSc in Archaeology (2012) on the subject of the Iron Age in Southwestern Iberian Peninsula at FLUL (Lisbon University). Since then, he has directed several excavations of Iron Age sites in the South of Portugal and he is currently undertaking a PhD in Archaeology at FLUL. His research focus is the Iron Age, specifically the ceramics between the V and IV centuries b.C. in Southwestern Iberian Peninsula.


Tróia Site Director

Inês Vaz Pinto is the director of the Roman Ruins of Tróia since 2006. She studied History and Archaeology at Universidade Livre, in Lisbon (Portugal), where she graduated. She got a scholarship from the University of Arizona, in Tucson, where she studied Classical Archaeology and got her MA. She then began teaching at Universidade Lusíada, in Lisbon, where she did her PhD in Archaeology and was a professor for almost two decades.

Tróia Collections Manager

Patrícia Brum is in charge of the management of Tróia’s archaeological collections. She became an archaeologist in 2007, having taken part in excavations in Portugal, France and Italy. She continued her research in Museum Studies, developing her MA thesis on the museum planning of the Roman collection of Tróia (Portugal), site where she has been working since 2008.

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Image and Design expert

João Vidigal is a master of fine arts and a maker of all sorts: from his arts to archaeological equipment, from electronics to drone video and photography, from guitars and boats to web design. He has worked in all sorts of creative scenes both in Portugal and the UK. A true asset to the SWAD team as a jack of all trades.


Davide Susini holds a MSc (2015) in Archaeology from the University of Trento (Italy), and he is currently undertaking a PhD in Geoarchaeology at the University of Siena (Italy). His research focuses on site formation processes, geomorphology and soil micromorphology. Davide is currently a research member of an ERC project (nEU-Med), aiming to investigate the geomorphological evolution of the Medieval landscape extending from the Colline Metallifere to the Tyrrhenian Sea (South-West of Tuscany). He was also part of the geoarchaeology team (2011-2016) researching on issues related with the Middle-to-Upper Palaeolithic transition in Southeastern Iberia.

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Samuel Neves is the CEO from ARROW4D - Consultores de Engenharia e Geofísica company and Phd Student from University of Vigo. He completed his MSc in Civil Engineering (2012) on structures and geotechnics subject. Since then, he worked on several research projects in geophysics applied to archaeology, seismic risk at geology assess. He currently is the CEO of a geophysics and 3D reality capture company and a Phd student on geophysics applied to cultural heritage.

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Raven da Silva studied ancient civilizations at the University of Toronto, and holds an MSc in the Conservation and Restoration of Cultural Heritage from the University of Amsterdam. She has taken part in archaeological projects in Greece, Italy, and Northern Macedonia. Raven is passionate about public outreach in archaeology and art conservation, and is the founder of Dig it With Raven- a YouTube channel and online resource which aims to make learning about cultural heritage exciting and accessible to all.



Nikolah Gilligan has worked in commercial archaeology since 1999 and has excavated sites in Ireland, Wales, Australia and Greece. Nikolah gained her Irish Site Director’s Licence in 2007 and has directed many excavations on large-scale infrastructural projects. Nikolah completed her MSc. in The Institute of Archaeology, UCL, in 2010, and has carried out archaeobotanical analyses of Irish assemblages, as well as material from Thailand and Vietnam as part of the NERC-funded Early Rice Project in The Institute of Archaeology. Nikolah is currently undertaking a PhD in University College Dublin.


GIS and Archaeological Survey Specialist

Robert Kaleta has been working on commercial and research projects since 2011. He specialises in topographic surveying and teaches the Archaeological Surveying course at the Institute of Archaeology, UCL where he completed his MSc in GIS and Spatial Analysis (2013). Robert has also been working on the West Dean field school as a surveyor since 2011 and as assistant director in 2014 and 2017. He is interested in integrating fieldwork with GIS and landscape analysis using statistical approaches.

Public Engager

Teresa Ramos da Costa holds a BA and an MA in Archaeology and worked as a project manager in contract archaeology from 2001 to 2011. In 2005, Teresa became an associated researcher for the Centre of Overseas History, has been part of relevant scientific publications as well as part of an international team running archaeological projects in Morocco and in the Sultanate of Oman (World Heritage site), under the Direction of Gregory Possehl. Teresa integrated the Portuguese National Archaeology Museum Learning Department (Lisbon) and, since 2015, has been part of the Learning Department of Castelo de São Jorge (Lisbon), one of the most visited national monuments in Portugal.