Aditu Osteology Summer School 2018

The Aditu Osteology Summer School (2018) formed part of a research project investigating human burials at the medieval Sanctuary of San Miguel in Excelsis, at the top of Aralar mountain in Navarre (Spain). The project focused on the on-site analysis of the remains recovered from the medieval cemeteries of San Miguel de Aralar and Zamartze. Limited excavation took place at the site to expose previously undiscovered architectural structures, while the Summer School concentrated on post-excavation work in the field laboratories directly on the human remains recovered from the site.

This research forms part of a regional study that started with the associated monastic complex of Santa María de Zamartze in the municipality of Uharte-Arakil and extended into the nearby Sanctuary of San Miguel In Excelsis (both in Navarre, Spain). The main element in Santa María de Zamartze is a 12th century AD Romanesque church built on top of an earlier Roman mansio. Restoration works to the complex in 2005 revealed medieval graves and Roman structures. San Miguel de Aralar includes a church from the 9th century AD and a series of structures from even earlier periods.

The primary goal of the project was to gain knowledge of the population of this part of Navarre during the medieval period. Results from C14 analysis show that graves date to between the 10th and the 14th centuries. In the last years, over 180 individual burials have been uncovered from Santa María de Zamartze and San Miguel de Aralar. The project uses the individuals recovered from these cemeteries to perform a thorough study of the diet, health, and bioprofile (age, sex, stature) that can 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.



dsc00308dental calculus from one of the individuals from Zamartze


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