Amie Goblirsch ’16 to Take Part in Archaeological Project in Portugal

Posted on April 14th, 2015 by

Amie Goblirsch '16  in Gaeta, Italy during her semester study abroad experience in the spring of 2014.

Amie Goblirsch ’16 in Gaeta, Italy during her semester study abroad experience in the spring of 2014.

Every college student looks forward to the summer for one reason or another, whether its reuniting with family and friends, going on vacation, or completing an internship. For Gustavus Adolphus College junior Amie Goblirsch, this summer will be about taking part in a once-in-a-lifetime archaeological dig overseas, thanks to a unique gift from a Gustavus alumna.

Goblirsch will travel to Redondo, Portugal this summer to participate in the Santa Susana Archaeological Project. The project, which is approaching its third season, is attempting to excavate an ancient Roman villa. The opportunity for a Gustavus classics major to participate in the project came to be thanks to a generous offer from Gustavus alumna and classics major Emily Kehm Smith ’06 and her husband Austin. Goblirsch, who is the current president of Eta Sigma Phi, the Gustavus chapter of a national classics honor society, was selected by the department.

“I am extremely excited to have this opportunity. When I first heard the news I literally could not sit still for the rest of the day,” Goblirsch said. “I feel very fortunate to be given the opportunity to participate in this excavation. This isn’t something every undergraduate has a chance to do and because of the cost usually associated with these digs, it is something I never thought I would be able to do.”

The site of the excavation holds a villa complex important to the understanding of the processes of colonization and settlement in this particular corner of what was the Roman Empire. Preliminary work at the site suggests a rich artifact assemblage dating from the 1st century C.E. through the 5th century C.E. Goblirsch and other field school students will receive instruction in surveying techniques, the handling and processing of artifacts, and the recording of exposed areas and features. She will also have an opportunity to work with a fellow Gustie in Betsy Bevis ’00, who is a graduate student at Johns Hopkins University and one of the project’s supervisors.

“Currently I am hoping to attend graduate school for archaeology after Gustavus, which is one of the reasons why I am so excited to have this opportunity,” Goblirsch said. “Not only will it give me valuable field experience, but it will also give me a feel for what a career in archaeology might be like.”

Goblirsch says that she decided to study classics at Gustavus because it had everything she wanted to study—language, history, poetry, and music—combined into one major. She has also been impressed with the quality of the faculty in the department.

“Classics challenges you every day and teaches you to think critically and analyze the world around you. I just think it is an extremely interesting period of history that is still very relevant to the world around us today,” she said. “The faculty in the classics department is one of the biggest reasons that my academic experience at Gustavus has been as great as it has been. On top of being active scholars, they are excellent professors and always go above and beyond for their students. The expertise and insight they bring to every class is invigorating and really motivates students to want to engage with the material. I am thankful to all of them for all the guidance each of them has given me along the way.”

In addition to her academic work in the classroom, Goblirsch plays the trumpet in the Gustavus Symphony Orchestra, the Gustavus Wind Orchestra, the Adolphus Jazz Ensemble, and the Frost Jazz Combo. She also plays on the women’s rugby team and is one of five Gustavus students participating in a collaborative research project under the guidance of Professor Eric Dugdale called the Homer Multitext Project, which seeks to present the textual transmission of the Iliad and Odyssey in a historical framework.

More information about the Santa Susana Archaeological Project is available online at


Media Contact: Director of Media Relations and Internal Communication JJ Akin


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