Topic ID #24622 - posted 11/10/2012 5:31 AM

Mortuary Archaeology Fieldschool in Spain

Aditu Archaeology


Universidad de Navarra and Aditu Arkeologia Zerbitzuak

July 6-13, 2013
August 6-30, 2013
September 6-30, 2013
October 6-30, 2013

The Zamartze Mortuary Archaeology Field School is a research project investigating human burials at the medieval monastic complex of Zamartze in the municipality of Uharte-Arakil (Navarre, Spain). The main element in the 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 date to between the 9th and the 14th century, and over 60 individual burials have been uncovered in the last years. The project aims at using the individuals recovered from this cemetery to perform a thorough study of the diet, pathology and bioprofile (age, sex, stature) of this Medieval site's population that could be extrapolated to the region, as little is known in the area about its Medieval population. During past years, individuals displaying evidence of osteoarthritis, Schmorl´s nodes, scurvy and cribra orbitalia have been uncovered. Additional details of funerary practices are expected to be gained from the position of the skeletons, burial orientation and grave goods. Stone tombs, later intrusive burials and early medieval earth-cut graves surrounding the church will be excavated.

The field school is aimed at students or graduates of archaeology and physical or forensic anthropology who wish to gain experience in the excavation of human remains. There will be lectures and short classes on skeletal anatomy, excavation techniques and the region's archaeology, although the major component of the school is fieldwork, with students spending an average of 6-8 hours per day on site. 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 and will become proficient in all aspects of osteological analysis (determination of age, sex, stature and identification of pathological conditions).

On weekends participants will visit nearby archaeological sites and cities, including Pamplona and Vitoria-Gasteiz, and will have opportunities in their free time to visit places such as San Sebastian, Olite, Bilbao and the Roman city of Andelos.

The course will be in English, although Spanish and Basque are also spoken on the site.

Room and Board Arrangements

Board and accommodation will be provided in the nearby village of Uharte-Arakil, a short ten minute walk from the site. Room and board is included in the project price.

University Credit

Students have the option of signing up to the programme to obtain university credits. Upon completion of a full session, students are eligible to obtain between 5 and 6 ECTS credits from the University of Navarre (Spain). The cost of tuition is €500.

For more information on the project, please visit: or email:


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