2024 Spain Battle Of Teruel Human Remains Exhumation

Location: Teruel, Spain

Season: June 2, 2024 to June 29, 2024

Application Deadline: March 1, 2024

Deadline Type: Exact Date


Discount for AIA members: No

Program Type:
Field School

RPA Certified:

Universidad Europea Valencia (Spain) & Center for Field Sciences (US)

Project Director:
Dr. Llorenç Alapont Martin, Prof. Physical and Forensic Anthropology, Universidad Europea Valencia

Project Description:

The Spanish Civil War (1936-1939) was a global political event and experimental grounds to test modern weaponry and war tactics. One of the most consequential battles of the war was the Battle of Teruel, fought between December 1937 and February 1938. The vicious battle took place during one of the worst winters in Spain and considered to be the ‘Stalingrad’ of the Spanish Civil War. More than 40,000 soldiers from both sides died there. At least 406 of these soldiers were buried in a large mass grave at the site of San Blas, a small cemetery on the outskirts of Teruel. The soldiers were buried side by side, regardless of the side they fought for, with their weapons, uniforms, boots, and personal objects. This mass burial is the focus of this program.

Initial investigations at San Blas were carried out in 2022 and the remains of 18 individuals were recovered. One individual wore a uniform with brass buttons with symbols of the U.S. Army and other American artifacts. This suggest that American members of the Abraham Lincoln Battalion were buried at San Blas, and that more U.S. citizens may be recovered there.

This program is design to train students in the process of human remain exhumation from mass graves. The goal is to identify and bring closure to families and decedents of these dead. In addition, this program train students how to plan, execute, record, document and identify individuals from mass burials. While our hope is that such skills will not be needed, reality is different, and professionals trained in excavation of mass burials are still needed across the world.

This program will extract an emotional toll on its participants. Families of the deceased will be present and there is still a deep political division in Spain about its civil war. This program requires resilience, perseverance, strong ethics and attention to details. Consider how challenging this program is before applying.

Period(s) of Occupation: Historical period

Tuition: $4,675 Tuition covers full cost of instruction, room & board and transportation. 8 Semester Credit Units (equivalent to 12 Quarter Credit Units) are awarded through our School of Record – Culver Stockton College.

Project Size: 1-24 participants

Minimum Length of Stay for Volunteers: Full session

Minimum Age: 18 years old

Experience Required: None. This is hands-on, experiential learning and students will study on-site how to conduct archaeological research. Field work involves physical work and exposure to the elements and thus requires a measure of understanding that this will not be the typical university learning environment. You will have to work outdoors and will get sweaty and tired. Students are required to come equipped with sufficient excitement and adequate understanding that field work requires real, hard work, in the sun and wind. The work requires patience, discipline, and attention to detail.

Room and Board Arrangements:
All staff and student will be staying at Hostal El Bugar in Teruel. The rooms are simple, comfortable and welcoming with free WiFi, TVs, minifridges, and ceiling fans. Rooms are single sex and shared between 2-4 people. The project provides breakfast, lunch and dinner throughout the week, with the exception of the lunch and dinner on the trip day (normally Saturday) and free day (normally Sunday). Please let us know of any dietary restrictions (vegetarian/vegan) so that we may inform the restaurant in advance.

Academic Credit:
8 Semester Credit Units (equivalent to 12 Quarter Credit Units) are awarded through our School of Record – Culver Stockton College.

Contact Information:

CFS Admissions

11209 National Blvd #137

Los Angeles




Phone: (562) 584-0761

support Us

The AIA is North America's largest and oldest nonprofit organization dedicated to archaeology. The Institute advances awareness, education, fieldwork, preservation, publication, and research of archaeological sites and cultural heritage throughout the world. Your contribution makes a difference.

Post a Fieldwork Opportunity