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Physical Anthropology Boot Camp in Pernosano

Location: Pernosano, Italy

July 21, 2014 to August 1, 2014

Session dates: 
Pernosano Bones 1: July 21- August 1, 2014. Pernosano Bones 2: August 24-September 6 2014.

Application Deadline: 
Saturday, May 10, 2014
Tuesday, June 10, 2014

Deadline Type: 

Program Type

Field school

RPA certified



Apolline Project

Project Director:

Girolamo Ferdinando De Simone

Project Description

The Church of Santa Maria Assunta in Pernosano
The first extant historical account of the church is derived from a document dating to 1195, which mentions its construction in the 10th century. By 1591 the church had largely fallen into disrepair, and in the early 17th century after several bouts of plague, the modern church was built above it with the earlier church converted into a series of crypts used well into the 19th century. Destruction and looting befell the town of Pago del Vallo di Lauro for much of the 19th century, first caused by the influx of French troops and later by that of the Bourbon army.

The human remains disinterred from the church (during excavations from 1998 to 2012) are housed in a large storage room annexed to the modern church above. The collection of skeletal material consists of a minimum of about 60 individuals and preservation appears to vary from good to excellent.

Two-week course in human osteology
For those interested in learning how to interpret a historic skeletal assemblage, the Apolline Project is offering two, 2-week intensive boot camps in human osteology this summer. Students will be instructed and immersed in the practical application of techniques used to correctly analyse human remains and will play an integral role in helping to better understand the previously unstudied collection of Pernosano. In general, days will begin with a formal lecture (1.5-2.5 hours) pertaining to one specific area in physical anthropology. Students will then apply what they have learned in practical, hands on exercises following the formal lesson. Lessons will provide a comprehensive overview to human osteology, and will give a regional context by introducing local case studies. Lessons will be combined with trips to nearby sites and guest speakers are planning to lecture on their specific fields of interest within physical anthropology.

Skills that students will acquire upon completion of this course include: bone identification, side identification, fragment identification, determination of sex, determination of age at death, identification of both specific and non-specific pathologies, cleaning and proper curation of a collection, interpretation of basic isotopic data to determine dietary patterns, differentiation between human and faunal skeletal material, familiarity with dating techniques applicable to human remains, identification of juvenile skeletal remains, calculation of robusticity, and determination of stature using various regression formulae.

Lesson Schedule

Day 1*
Lesson: Introduction to human osteology
Practical: Bone identification and landmarks of the cranium

Day 2*
Lesson A: Regional applications for the study of human remains
Lesson B: Determination of age and sex
Practical: Determining age and sex

Day 3*
Lesson A: Estimation of Race and Stature
Lesson B: Dating Techniques
Practical: Taking long bone measurements to estimate stature

Day 4*
Lesson: Identifying Human vs. Non-Human
Practical: TBD

Day 5*
Lesson A: Paleodietary analysis: Carbon and Nitrogen isotopes; microwear analysis, residue analysis.
Lesson B: Ancient Migration and Mobility: Strontium and Oxygen isotopes
Practical: Identifying cranial fragments

Day 6*
Lesson: Regional Applications and critiques
Practical: Identifying post-cranial fragments

Day 7
Lesson: Pathologies, trauma and non-metric variation
Practical: Pathology and trauma analysis

Day 8
Lesson: Determining Age by Social Context
Practical: TBD

Day 9
Lesson: Ethics and Legislation
Practical: TBD

Day 10
Student Presentations of biological profiles of selected skeletons

* Denotes quiz that day, following practical

Further details can be found on our website at and the application form at

Period(s) of Occupation: 10th Century

Project size: 
1-24 participants

Minimum age: 

Experience required: 

Room and Board Arrangements

Hostel-like accomodations. An internet key-drive will be provided.

The contribution to participate is €500 for 2 weeks.

Academic Credit

Number of credits offered: none


Contact Information
Girolamo Ferdinando De Simone
via Regina Margherita 46
Sant'Anastasia, NA 80048
+39 3395671190