Aditu Mortuary Archaeology Field School 2017

The Aditu Mortuary Archaeology Field School is a research project investigating human burials at the medieval Sanctuary of San Miguel in Excelsis, at the top of the Aralar mountain in Navarre.

This research is part of a regional study that started with the associated monastic complex of Zamartze in the municipality of Uharte-Arakil (Navarre, Spain). The main element in that site is a 12th century Romanesque church assumed to have been built on top of an earlier Roman mansio. Restoration works to the complex in 2005 revealed medieval graves and Roman structures.

The primary goal of the project is to gain knowledge of the population of this part of Navarre during the medieval period. Graves are thought to date between the 9th and the 14th centuries. In the last years, over 150 individual burials have been uncovered from Zamartze and 15 individuals were recovered during the first season of excavations at San Miguel in 2016. The project aims to use the individuals recovered from these cemeteries to perform a thorough study of the diet, health, and bioprofile (age, sex, stature) that could be extrapolated to the region, as little is known in the area about its medieval population. Additional details of funerary practices may also be gained from the position of the skeletons, burial orientation, and grave goods. Stone tombs, earth-cut, and rock-cut graves surrounding the Sanctuary on top of the mountain will be excavated.

The field school is aimed at students or graduates of archaeology and physical or forensic anthropology who wish to gain hands-on experience in the excavation of human remains.  There will be daily lectures and lab classes on skeletal anatomy, excavation techniques and Basque archaeology, although the major components of the school are field and labwork, with students spending an average of 7-8 hours per day on site divided almost equally between the excavation of human remains and their processing and analysis in the field lab. Throughout the course, students will become proficient in carrying out all aspects of osteological analysis, including the determination of age, sex, stature and identification of pathologies.

The focus of the fieldwork will be on burial excavation techniques and documentation methods. Students will participate in all stages involved in the exhumation of human remains in archaeological contexts.

Session Dates: July 3-27; August 1-25.

Accommodation: Board and accommodation will be provided at the Sanctuary. All necessary facilities are provided (electricity, washing machine, equipped kitchen, TV, although no private internet access but access through friendly neighbours).

Cost: The cost per session (25 days): €1750 per three week session

The field school fee includes accommodation, breakfast, lunch, and dinner on full work days, tuition, lectures and accident insurance. Air fare and medical insurance are not included.

Application deadline: May 31st, 2017.

Apply: For further information and to apply to the field school, please contact

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