Menorca, Spain

Digging anthropology in the Sanisera Necropolis

when 1 May 2020 - 27 October 2020
language English
duration 26 weeks
credits 10 EC
fee USD 1600

The Sanisera Archaeology Institute for International Field Schools offers an annual archaeology dig on the island of Menorca, off the coast of Spain. Since then it has organized courses for students who come from all over the world to study abroad and who are interested in anthropology.

Death in Rome has been studied in Sanisera since we started digging the first necropolis in 2008. So far we have excavated 90 tombs belonging to a Roman cemetery which could have been related to a basilica in the Roman city if Sanisera, which dates from the 4th and 6th centuries AD. The Osteology corpus in this necropolis includes more than 232 individuals.

Course leader

Fernando Contreras Rodrigo

Target group

If you are interested in studying anthropology or are already doing so in your school and would like to gain experience as a fieldwork volunteer excavating cemeteries and graves, this may be the best choice for you. This program accommodates participants with or without previous experience.

In the necropolis of Sanisera, without much physical exertion, and due to the stratigraphic conditions, you easily find and excavate tombs and their contents. You will excavate tombs and learn anthropological techniques used to recover human remains and grave goods. In the biological anthropology laboratory, you will learn how to treat and classify bones and grave goods recovered from the necropolis.    

This course is designed primarily for students interested in excavating human remains with fieldwork focusing on a Roman cemetery. Time dedicated to laboratory work is less than excavation time, but students will learn the basics of anatomy.

Course aim

The fieldwork focuses on funerary structures, specifically inhumation graves. Students will also participate in lectures on skeletal anatomy and pathologies, classes, exercises and excursions related to the course material.
What you will learn

In the Fieldwork

How to dig and which archaeological techniques are used.
Use and handling of the tools that are used during the excavation process.
Basic principles of stratigraphy.
Basic procedures for collecting C14 samples.
In the Laboratory

Cleaning, inventory and cataloging of recovered human bones during the excavation process.
Basics of the methods used in human osteological analysis, including skeletal anatomy, palaeodemography and palaeopathology.
Learning how to identify age, sex and height of buried individuals.
Relative dating based on the classification of archaeological artifacts discovered in stratigraphic sequence.

Introduction to Physical Anthropology and Bioarchaeology
Skeletal Anatomy –Terminology-: generalities, dental structure, skull and other bones.
History, archaeology, economy and culture of the Roman civilization.
Introduction to the History of the Sanisera Site.
The background of Roman funerary rituals.
Minorcan archaeology before the Roman conquest of the Balearic Islands.

Fee info

USD 1600: Course fee includes

Course tuition
Accommodation in the Student Residency in Ciutadella. Two to six per room.* Walking distance to the historic center, port and beaches
Breakfast, lunch and dinner.
Accident insurance at the site.
Daily transportation to/from the archaeological fieldwork.
Certificate of participation