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Mega Osteology from Neolithic Tombs, Portugal: 11th annual program (2014)

Location: Lisbon, Portugal

July 7, 2014 to July 25, 2014

Session dates: 
July 7th - 25th

Application Deadline: 
Sunday, June 15, 2014

Deadline Type: 
Contact for details

Flyer: PDF icon postermegaosteology_2014.pdf

Program Type

Field school

RPA certified



PortAnta, Association for Iberian Archaeology

Project Director:

Rui Boaventura (Portanta)

Project Description

The Mega Osteology Program from the Neolithic Tombs will use the osteological remains from several burials from the region of the Estremadura in Portugal. These collections are currently stored at the Museu Nacional de Arqueologia (National Museum for Archaeology) located at Lisbon, by the Monastery of Jerónimos. This internship will focus namely on the skeletal remains from the Late Neolithic rock cut tombs of Carenque and Baútas. The information obtained from these studies will be used to expand and enhance the knowledge of Neolithic and Late Neolithic societies.

Each session will have a field trip to local tombs. There will be a Physical Anthropology instructor (Teresa Ferreira). Prof. Ana Maria Silva (University of Coimbra) will be the scientific adviser of the program.

This is the 11th annual program for this project which has already studied several other collections from this region and neighboring areas. Past participants have reported back that this program was both challenging and rewarding and that the training that they received during the course of their stay allowed them to continue on in their research on a more independent manner and on an advanced level.

Students will be given more latitude and independent workloads in this internship program and are expected to be already familiar with the basic principles and methodologies of osteology and/or dental anthropology. Students will begin by cleaning, cataloging and inventorying the various collections which are comprised of hundreds of bones and teeth

Participants will get the chance to work with collections with multiple individuals and will learn how to determine the minimum number of individuals, sex, age and pathologies in mass burial conditions. This internship will also deal with dental anthropology and morphology, the description and classification of teeth as well as the various pathologies that are evident in teeth

Graduate students and undergraduates serious about pursuing a career in Bioarchaeology, physical anthropology and archaeology are encouraged to apply. All applications will be considered. Program will run for a 3 week session.

The program is conducted inside the Museum, with the exception of the field trip. Consider the use of comfortable shoes.

Students will be provided with a list of suggested readings to be reviewed and printed before the program begins.

Period(s) of Occupation: Neolithic

Hands on human bones

Project size: 
1-24 participants

Minimum Length of Stay for Volunteers: 3 weeks

Minimum age: 

Experience required: 
Basic knowledge of human osteology

Room and Board Arrangements

Lodging is at participant’s responsibility. Organizers can help and facilitate on lodging search. Earlier reservation is advisable. Closest hostel 5 minute away see but there dozens of affordable hostels in Lisbon.Transportation to and from Portugal is at the participant's expense although transportation to and from the Lisbon airport can be handled by the program. A field trip to some of the tombs in the region of Lisbon is also at the program's expense although students are responsible for meals and personal expenses.

€800 per 3 weeks

Academic Credit

Name of institution offering credit: 
Portanta, Associação de Arqueologia Ibérica
Number of credits offered: none


Contact Information
Rui Boaventura
Praça Augusto Cabrita, 1, 4ºD
Recommended Bibliography: 

Silva, A.M.; Boaventura, R.; Ferreira, M.T.; Marques, R. (2012), "Skeletal evidence of interpersonal violence from Portuguese Late Neolithic collective burials: an overview." In Schulting, R.; Fibiger, L. (eds.) - Sticks, Stones, and Broken Bones: Neolithic Violence in a European Perspective. Oxford University Press, p. 317-340

Boaventura, R. (2011), "Bodies in motion: implications of gender in long distance exchange between the Lisbon and Alentejo regions of Portugal in the Late Neolithic." In Lillios, K. (ed.) – Comparative Archaeologies: The American Southwest (AD 900-1600) and the Iberian Peninsula (3000-1500 BC). Oxbow Books, p. 209-220

Boaventura, R. (2011), "Chronology of Megalithism in South-Central Portugal." In Leonardo García Sanjuán, Chris Scarre and David Weatley (eds.) – Exploring Time and Matter in Prehistoric Monuments: Absolute Chronology and Rare Rocks in European Megaliths. Proceedings of the 2nd EMSG Meeting (Seville, November, 2008). Seville, p. 159-190