Zamartze Mortuary Archaeology Field School

Location: Uharte-Arakil, Navarra, Spain

Saturday, July 6, 2013 to Thursday, October 31, 2013

Session dates: 
July 6-30; August 6-30; September 6-30; October 6-30, 2013.

Application Deadline: 
Tuesday, April 30, 2013

Program Type

Field school


Aditu Servicios Arqueologicos and Universidad de Navarra

Project Director:

Francisco Valle Montero/Emma Bonthorne

Project Description

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 both inside the church and around the apse, as well as various 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. Additional details of funerary practices may also 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, although individuals with unrelated backgrounds but a strong interest will be considered if spaces are available. 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.
Weekends are dedicated to excursions to nearby archaeological sites and cities, including Pamplona, Vitoria-Gasteiz and the church of San Miguel de Aralar. Students will also have the opportunity to visit other places in their free time, such as San Sebastian, Olite and the Roman city of Andelos.
English is the official language of the course, although Spanish and Basque are also spoken on site.

Period(s) of Occupation: Medieval

Project size: 
1-24 participants

Minimum Length of Stay for Volunteers: One full session

Minimum age: 

Experience required: 
Preferred but not required.

Room and Board Arrangements

Students will be housed in an apartment in the village of Uharte-Arakil, a short 5 minute walk from the site. The apartment is equipped with a kitchen, dining room, living room and bathrooms. Accommodation and all meals on workdays are included in the programme price. Lunch and dinner will take place at the monastery. Please see website for more details and photos.



€1,600 per session/€2100 with university credits

Academic Credit

Name of institution offering credit: 
Universidad de Navarra (University of Navarre)
Number of credits offered 5-6 credits


Contact Information
Emma Bonthorne
Maddalen 26
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