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Funerary Archaeology in the Mediterranean: Prehistoric Funerary Rituals and Classical Roman Necropolis

Location: Es Mercadal, Menorca, Balearic Islands, Spain

April 20, 2012 to November 22, 2012

Session dates: 
1) April 20 - May 9; 2) May 12-31;, 3) June 3-22; 4) June 25 - July 14; 5) July 17 - August 5; 6) August 8-27; 7) August 30 - September 18; 8) September 20 - October 9; 9) October 12-31; and 10) November 3 - November 22, 2012

Application Deadline: 
Monday, October 1, 2012

Flyer: the_cave_and_necropolis_dig_2012.pdf

Program Type

Field school


the Sa Nitja Association and Ecomuseum of the Cape of Cavalleria

Project Director:

Fernando Contreras

Project Description

The Cape of Cavalleria Ecomuseum in Menorca, Spain, has scheduled for 2012, the excavation of two burial sites: The Roman Necropolis and the Prehistoric Cave. The students will be introduced to Mediterranean Physical Anthropology by excavating in these two sites: the prehistoric cave during the first half of the course, and the Roman Necropolis during the second half. The Roman Necropolis Dig involves the excavation of a cluster of roman tombs belonging to a cemetery located on the outskirts of the roman city of Sanisera, which was occupied from 123 B.C. to 550 A.D.
The Prehistoric Cave Dig is focused on the excavation of funerary deposits made by the first inhabitants of Menorca. The dig takes place in a cave known as “Cueva de la Costa Norte”, very close to the Cape of Cavalleria Ecomuseum. It is a collective burial site which dates between 2000 and 1350 B.C. It involves the collection of burnt bone samples, pottery vessels, bronze and bone pendants and beads, among other artifacts.
The course runs 7 hours per day, with time dedicated to both excavation and laboratory work. The course is divided into two halves: the Roman Necropolis Dig and the Prehistoric Cave Dig. The excavation of the Necropolis focuses on funerary structures, specifically inhumations, while the Prehistoric Cave focuses on the spatial distribution of the remains and the objects and grave goods related to funerary rituals. Participants will learn and apply excavation techniques used in physical anthropology when excavating. In the laboratory participants will be instructed by an anthropologist and other specialists in the classification, study, and conservation of human remains and other related materials found. Participants will also be given lectures on methodology, Roman archaeology, physical anthropology and classification of archaeological materials. Participants will visit other archaeological sites on the island through organized excursions. Courses are given in both English and Spanish. For every seven course days there are two days off.

Period(s) of Occupation: Prehistoric and Roman

Project size: 
1-24 participants

Minimum Length of Stay for Volunteers: 20 days

Minimum age: 
18 (contact with questions about age)

Experience required: 

Room and Board Arrangements

Participants will stay in the Ecomuseum's student residence in Ciutadella (air-conditioned), within walking distance of the historic center, port, and beaches. Ciutadella is an enchanting Mediterranean town, lively with cafés and outdoor terraces hidden among narrow cobble stone streets. Transportation to and from the excavation site and planned excursions are included. Cost includes full room and board, transportation, accidental medical insurance, planned excursions, application fee and administrative cost. Airfare not included.

Between $1,300 and $2,600

Academic Credit

Number of credits offered: none


Contact Information
Lana Johnson
Es Mercadal
(34) 699 69 55 80