Location: Odorheiu Secuiesc, Romania
Transylvania, Romania, has been in a perpetual state of religious and political upheaval for centuries as outsiders have tried to force their identities on the people of the area. As the 15th century ends, the battle for Europe begins! The southeastern European frontier collapses in front of the Ottoman Turks. The heroes (and their legend) that held back the East have died: Vlad Dracula the Impaler, prince of Wallachia, was assasinated in 1476; Holy Stephan the Great, prince of Moldavia; died in 1504; Skanderberg (Iskender Bey), lord of Albania, was killed in 1468. The fall of Constantinople in 1453 and the united European defeat at the great Battle of Mohacs in 1526 opened the way for the Ottoman expansion into Europe.
Despite being cut off from the rest of Europe, the people of Transylvania have a culture, which is deeply rooted into their historic landscape. The on-going excavation of a medieval church from the village of Patakfalva (Valeni) in Transylvania, Romania and the cemetery associated with it, have resulted in the excavation of over 200 individuals to date. Through time, the church moved from servicing the three- village area to the immediate area of Patakfalva. The unexpected discovery of a pre-Christian cemetery underneath the church has extended the use of the funerary landscape back to late Migration Period.
The aim of this project is to evaluate to what extent and how these major political events impacted physically local populations. For that purpose, we will analyze the adult human remains from our highly complex medieval cemetery of Valeni. This summer’s workshop is designed to conduct an exhaustive osteological survey of the adult population from the above target site as well as to select bones to be brought back for stable isotope analysis. Students will receive intensive 2h lecture daily on theory and method in osteology prior to working on the bones, followed by hands on laboratory sessions. They will be taught how to determine age, sex, stature, identify pathologies, and take standard measurements and 3D scans. Participants will be introduced to various osteological conservation problems aiming at properly evaluate bone quality for various analyses. This survey of bioarchaeological theory and method, coupled with hands on data gathering, is aimed at providing the students the analytical tools needed for the interpretation of the data they collect.
Although a basic knowledge of human anatomy and morphology is useful, this laboratory workshop session is intended for both inexperienced and advanced students. The workshop comprises daily intensive lectures on human anatomy (including determination of sex, age, stature and ancestry), biomechanics and pathology, bone quizzes, group discussions, laboratory work, bone restoration and analysis, leading to individual and group research projects and presentations in a conference setting. Daily mandatory readings will accompany the specifics each lab day. This osteology research workshop is highly recommended for the participants interested in our more advanced projects, respectively the Juvenile Osteology Research Workshop.
Students and participants are strongly encouraged to expand their skills and experience in the field, by applying for a 4 week (July 1, 2016) session of the Medieval Cemetery Funerary Excavation immediately following the Adult Osteology Research Workshop.
Period(s) of Occupation: Middle Ages
Minimum Length of Stay for Volunteers: 4 weeks
Room and Board Arrangements
Students and volunteers will be housed in Odorheiu Secuiesc, a small and beautiful city, rich in history and culture. It is cosmopolitan town, situated in central Transylvania, on the historical divide between the Szekely Country to the East into the Carpathians Mountains and the more Romanian and Saxon Transylvania to the South and West into the lowlands. Participants will be housed in double or triple occupancy rooms within 45min walking distance from downtown Odorheiu Secuiesc (or a 10min cab ride) and about 15min from several super markets/mall.
Breakfast and dinner will be served Mon-Fri in the hotel restaurant. Participants will sample a variety of amazing home cooked Romanian and Szekler traditional meals. Students and volunteers are responsible for their own lunches. Beware that Romanian cuisine is generally meat oriented, but we can accommodate vegetarian dietary requirements. There are plenty of small stores, supermarkets, farmer markets, where you can purchase fresh cheese, various meat products, garden vegetables, bread, drinks, and anything else you might need.
Odorheiu Secuiesc provides all the ammenities of a small European city, which includes hospitals, an international bus station, train station, and all the stores you might need.
Academic CreditNumber of credits offered: none
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