Advanced Osteological Analysis in the Roman Necropolis of Sanisera (Menorca – Balearic Islands – Spain)

Location: Ciutadella, Menorca, Balearic Island, Spain

May 21, 2016 to August 6, 2016

Session dates: 
1) May 21 – June 07; 2) June 10 – June 27; 3) June 30 – July 17; 4) July 20 – August 06

Application Deadline: 
Wednesday, November 30, 2016

Deadline Type: 
Contact for details

Flyer: 0182016.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

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. Since then it has organized courses for students who come from all over the world to study abroad and who are interested in anthropology and osteology.

The fieldwork focuses on the in-depth analysis of human skeletal remains excavated from the Roman necropolis at Sanisera. The aim is to use advanced osteological techniques to understand the lifestyle of the people who lived at this site.

This course provides a unique opportunity to contribute to research on the individuals buried at the Roman necropolis at Sanisera. So far, more than 250 individuals from more than 50 tombs have been excavated, presenting a large amount of material from which we can understand the lifestyles of people in late antiquity. Participants will learn the techniques of analyzing and recording information from human skeletal remains in an archaeological context. In this lab based course, both lecture and experiential learning will be used to enable students to gain confidence in the identification and analysis of various skeletal conditions.

We will cover skills in basic demographics such as the techniques to determine age and sex of a skeleton, but will also progress to more advanced methodologies in osteological analysis. Students will learn skills such as: correctly measuring and recording skeletal elements according to set international standards , distinguishing between pathological and non pathological bone and assessing patterns in pathological lesions, identifying marks on the skeleton that indicate how muscles were used during the person’s life (including determining left or right handedness), and assessing nutritional status from bones and teeth. Additionally, participants will learn how to bring these different sources of information together to re-create the biological life history of the individuals buried at this site.

What you will learn

In the Fieldwork

  • Funerary practices at the Sanisera site
  • Taphonomic factors affecting survival of skeletal material

In the Laboratory

  • Complete osteological analysis of an individual funerary unit
  • Assessment of disarticulated remains and computation of minimum number of individuals
  • Application of standard techniques of bone measurement, age estimation, sex estimation, classification of dental pathology and tooth wear
  • Identification of fragmentary bones
  • Utilization of anatomical terminology to describe and discuss skeletal elements
  • Recording osteological information on complex forms
  • Recognition of non-metric traits and pathological bone


  • Development and application of osteological methods
  • Assessment of cremated remains
  • Chemical analyses of human bone – isotopes and DNA
  • Identifying trauma in archaeological bone
  • Challenges in paleodemography and paleoepidemiology
  • Estimating ancestry of human skeletal remains.

Directed at
As the name implies, this course is designed for participants that have previously studied biological anthropology. This Sanisera Field School course does not include excavation, but centers exclusively on the study and teaching of osteology using the remains excavated from the Roman necropolis.

Participants will learn to draw conclusions and reconstruct aspects of the population’s demographics such as pathologies, illnesses, etc. Because this course is specifically centered on biological anthropological concepts, this course is limited to four participants in order to best assimilate and apply anthropological concepts.

We recommend that if you are interested in participating in this course that you previously participate in at least one of the following course: 08 (visit

Field School life & language
The fieldwork runs 7 hours a day with time dedicated to the study of human osteology by the analysis of the skeletal remains. For every seven course days there are two days off. Participants will visit other archaeological sites on the island through organized excursions. The course is taught in English.

At the end of the Field 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 upon request.

Sessions & Cost 




Session #1

2016 | May 21 – June 07

$ 2250

Session #2

2016 | June 10 – June 27

$ 2250

Session #3

2016 | June 30 – July 17

$ 2250

Session #4

2016 | July 20 – August 06

$ 2250









Spaces avalaible
The course is limited to 4 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: Roman (Classical Archaeology)

This course focuses on the in-depth analysis of human skeletal remains excavated from the Roman necropolis of Sanisera. In this course we will use advanced osteological techniques to gain a better understanding of the lifestyle of population of Sanisera.

Project size: 
1-24 participants

Minimum Length of Stay for Volunteers: 18 days

Minimum age: 

Experience required: 
We recommend that if you are interested in participating in this course that you previously participate in at least one of the following courses: 08 and 10 - See more at:

Room and Board Arrangements

Course fee includes

  • Course tuition
  • 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.
  • Accident insurance at the site.
  • Daily transportation to/from the archaeological museum.
  • Excursions.
  • Certificate of participation

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

$2,250 (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
Apdo 68
Es Mercadal
Menorca - Spain
+1 347 8710963