Bioarchaeology Fieldschool’24: Digging anthropology in the Sanisera Necropolis (Menorca – Balearic Islands – Spain), from 1800 $ session from April 12 to October 27 (SANISERA ARCHAEOLOGY INSTITUTE)

Location: Carretera, 7, 07760 Caleta Santandria, Illes Balears, Spain

Season: April 12, 2024 to October 27, 2024

Session Dates: Session #1 April 12 – April 27 $ 1800; Session #2 May 01 – May 16 $ 1800; Session #3 May 19 – June 03 $ 2000; Session #4 June 06 – June 21 $ 2000; Session #5 June 26 – July 11 $ 2150; Session #6 July 14 – July 29 $ 2150; Session #7 August 01 – August 16 $ 2150; Session #8 August 19 – September 03 $ 2000; Session #9 September 06 – September 21 $ 1800; Session #10 September 24 – October 09 $ 1800; Session #11 October 12 – October 27 $ 1800 *If you sign up for two sessions in a row (32 days) that take place in Menorca (Balearic Island, Spain), the days between sessions (3 or 4 days) you will have the accommodation for free.

Application Deadline: December 12, 2024

Deadline Type: Contact for Details


Program Type:
Field School, Volunteer

RPA Certified:

Sanisera Archaeology Institute for International Field Schools

Project Director:
Alicia Alonso García (Madrid. Spain - 1994) She graduated in Biology and completed a master's degree in Physical Anthropology from the Universidad Autónoma de Madrid. She focuses her research on the study of past populations from direct and indirect human remains, frequently using image techniques. She belongs to a research group Laboratorio de Poblaciones del Pasado (LAPP) at the Universidad Autónoma de Madrid, specialized in the study of archaeobiological remains and through which she has acquired experience in human osteology. It is also part of the al Madam-al Khudairah Project. Life in the Oasis, death in the Hills, which includes her doctoral thesis focused on the analysis of human footprints through 3D models and new technologies.

Project Description:

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.

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 232 individuals. 

The fieldwork focuses on funerary structures, specifically inhumation graves. Students will also participate in lectures on skeletal anatomy and pathologies, classes and exercises related to the course material.

Directed at

If you are interested in studying anthropology or are already doing so in your school and would like to gain experience as a fieldwork volunteer excavating cemeteries and graves, this may be the best choice for you. This program accommodates participants with or without previous experience.

In the necropolis of Sanisera, without much physical exertion, and due to the stratigraphic conditions, you easily find and excavate tombs and their contents. You will excavate tombs and learn anthropological techniques used to recover human remains and grave goods. In the biological anthropology laboratory, you will learn how to treat and classify bones and grave goods recovered from the necropolis.

This course is designed primarily for students interested in excavating human remains with fieldwork focusing on a Roman cemetery. Time dedicated to laboratory work is less than excavation time, but students will learn the basics of anatomy.

After completing this program, the experience gained will enable you to decide if biological anthropology is the area of study best for you and if you would like to continue on with anthropology in your professional future.

This is the most economical intensive biological anthropology course the Sanisera Field School offers. The excavation takes place on the northern coast of the island, surrounded by the sea and pristine Mediterranean landscapes.

Previous knowledge or experience in archaeology.

What you will learn

1. 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.
  • Detecting graves to excavate in the Necropolis.
  • Exhume the skeletal remains and record any finds.
  • Scale drawings and elevations of tombs/individuals within the tombs.
  • Record funerary structures and anthropological remains in context sheets.
  • Basic principies of stratigraphy.
  • Basic procedures for collecting C14 samples.

2. In the Laboratory

  • Prepare anthropological material 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.
  • Interpret what went on during the burial process of these individuals.

3. Theory

  • 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. 

Field School life & language

The fieldwork runs 7 hours a day with time dedicated to both excavations, the study of human osteology by the analysis of the skeletal remains and laboratory work on roman pottery.

For every seven course days there are two days off.

Participants will learn and apply excavation techniques used in biological anthropology during fieldwork. In the laboratory, participants will follow guidelines set by an anthropologist and other specialists for the classification, study, and conservation of skeletal remains and other related material found.

Participants will also be given lectures on methodology, roman archaeology, human osteology and classification of archaeological materials.

The course is taught in English and Spanish.

Cost & Sessions

From 1800 $ session. ***If you sign up for two sessions in a row (32 days) that take place in Menorca, the days between sessions (3 or 4 days) you will have the accommodation for free.

Sessions Dates Cost
Session #1 2023 | April 12 – April 27 $ 1800
Session #2 2023 | May 01 – May 16 $ 1950
Session #3 2023 | May 19 – June 03 $ 2200
Session #4 2023 | June 06 – June 21 $ 2200
Session #5 2023 | June 26 – July 11 $ 2450
Session #6 2023 | July 14 – July 29 $ 2450
Session #7 2023 | August 01 – August 16 $ 2450
Session #8 2023 | August 19 – September 03 $ 2200
Session #9 2023 | September 06 – September 21 $ 1950
Session #10 2023 | September 24 – October 09 $ 1950
Session #11 2023 | October 12 – October 27 $ 1950

Elementary information:

Period(s) of Occupation: The excavation at the necropolis of Sanisera provides all the archaeological documentation necessary for the student to acquire enough training and experience in all aspects surrounding an excavation of the Roman civilization from the II century B.C. to the VI A.D.

Certificates - 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.

Project Size: 1-24 participants

Minimum Length of Stay for Volunteers: 16 days

Minimum Age: 18 and young students between 16 and 18 years old can apply with special permission from their parents.

Experience Required: Previous knowledge or experience in archaeology.

Room and Board Arrangements:
Course fee • Course tuition. • Daily transportation to/from the archaeological fieldwork. • Accident insurance at the site. • Certificate of participation. • Visits to museums and archaeological heritage of the island. It is also possible to visit places of charm and beaches. • Accommodation in the Student Residency in Ciutadella. • .The rooms in the residence have air conditioning. • In case of needing to process Schengen Visa the mandatory letter of invitation will be written so you can travel Airfare not included from the student home to/from Menorca (Spain). Meals are not included, although we will recommend some cafés and restaurants that do not exceed the average of 23 € /day in meals. * If you sign up for two sessions in a row (32 days) that take place in Menorca, the days between sessions (3 or 4 days) you will have the accommodation for free.

Academic Credit:

Contact Information:

Fernando Contreras Rodrigo

Apdo. 68

Es Mercadal

Menorca, Balearic Island



Phone: +34 608894650

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