Fieldwork in the Necropolis of Sanisera and GIS applied in Archaeology (Menorca, Balearic Islands, Spain)

Location: Es Mercadal, Spain

May 21, 2016 to October 5, 2016

Session dates: 
1) May 21 – June 07; 2) June 10 – June 27; 3) June 30 – July 17; 4) July 20 – August 06; 5) August 09 – August 26; 6) August 29 – September 15; 7) September 18 – October 05

Application Deadline: 
Saturday, May 21, 2016

Deadline Type: 
Contact for details

Flyer: 0092016.pdf

Program Type

Field school



The Sanisera Archaeology Institute for International Field Schools offers over 20 international courses focusing on archaeology, anthropology, GIS, underwater archaeology, conservation, art, museums and archaeological film. Student's fieldwork centers on the survey and excavation of classical sites. - See more at:

Project Director:

Julie Thomas and Dolores Soriano

Project Description

Sanisera Archaeology Institute for International Field Schools

General Information

The Sanisera Archaeology Institute for International Field Schools offers an annual archaeology dig on the island of Menorca, off the coast of Spain. This course is for students who come from all over the world to study abroad and who are interested in archaeology, anthropology and mapping tools applied to archaeology, as well as for participants who want to learn about topography, photogrammetry and archaeological recording system with a GIS (Geographic Information System).

This program is divided in two main parts: Biological Anthropology in the tombs of Sanisera and Mapping tools focused on GIS.

Part 1. Biological archaeology in the Necropolis of Sanisera

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 270 individuals.

The fieldwork focuses on funerary structures, specifically inhumation graves. Participants will learn and apply excavation techniques used in biological anthropology when excavating tombs. Students will also participate in lectures on skeletal anatomy and pathologies, classes, exercises and excursions related to the course material. In the laboratory participants will be instructed by an anthropologist and other archaeologists in the classification, study, and conservation of human remains and other related materials found.

Time dedicated to this part of the program: 50%.

Part 2. Creating an archaeological GIS platform

In the second part students will practice their computer drawing skills, so that they can create an archaeological GIS platform from the applied recording system of Sanisera. In this way, students will also learn how to use the ARCGIS software.

Time dedicated to this part of the program: 50%.

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.
  • Learning, handling and practices with ArcGIS software.
  • Design, preparation and management of archaeological information in a GIS platform using ArcGIS.


  • 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.

Directed at

If you are interested in anthropology, how to excavate tombs, classification of anthropological material such as human remains and grave goods as well as how to process this information using GIS software, then this is the course you are looking for. This course accommodates participants with or without previous experience.

This is a general course that focuses on an archaeological excavation of a Roman necropolis and the software used to record information from the archaeological excavation. After a week of excavating tombs and learning human anatomy in the laboratory, participants will then use ARCGIS software to enter in the data recovered during fieldwork hours.

This course takes place on a Mediterranean island, among a pristine and unique landscape, surrounded by the sea.

Previous knowledge or experience in archaeology is not required.

Student Testimonials

Video 1:

Video 2:

Field School life & language

The fieldwork runs 7 hours per day. The day will be divided between learning mapping techniques, lab work, exercises, lectures, videos and excursions. For every seven course days there are two days off. The course is taught in English and Spanish.


At the end of the Program students will receive a certificate of participation stating the hours and activities of the course. Participants that perform exceedingly well in the course may receive a letter of recommendation from our organization up on request.

Sesssions & Cost




Session #1

2016 | May 21 – June 07

$ 1350

Session #2

2016 | June 10 – June 27

$ 1350

Session #3

2016 | June 30 – July 17

$ 1350

Session #4

2016 | July 20 – August 06

$ 1350

Session #5

2016 | August 09 – August 26

$ 1350

Session #6

2016 | August 29 – September 15

$ 1350

Session #7

2016 | September 18 – October 05 

$ 1350


Spaces available

The course is limited to 5 participants per session. Reservations are only effective when payment of the registration fee is received. If for any reason the course is cancelled, payment is returned according to the field school refund policy.

Period(s) of Occupation: Classical Archaeology

Fieldwork focuses on the excavation of funerary structures, specifically inhumation graves. In the laboratory students will learn to classify artifacts found, mainly human skeletal remain. Participants will also learn mapping tools applied to archaeology as well as topography, photogrammetry and archaeological recording systems with GIS (Geographic Information System).

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

Course fee includes

  • Course tuition.
  • Mapping Software: ARCGIS.
  • 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.
  • Morning snack at the Sanisera site.
  • Accident insurance at the site.
  • Daily transportation to/from the archaeological fieldwork.
  • Excursions.
  • Certificate of participation.

Airfare not included from the student home to/from Menorca (Spain).

$1350 per session

Academic Credit

Name of institution offering credit: 
Please, contact Felipe Esteban, our course coordinator, in order to get more information about this possibility
Number of credits offered: none


Contact Information
Felipe Esteban
Es Mercadal
+1 347 8710963