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Adult Osteology Research Laboratory Workshop
Medieval Crisis Populations
June 9 - July 6, 2024
Transylvania, Romania

          The aim of this project is to evaluate how the major political events of the 16th and 17th centuries have physically impacted local Transylvanian populations. For that purpose, we have been studying human remains excavated from several medieval cemeteries from eastern Transylvania.  During the summer of 2024, we will concentrate our efforts on analyzing the exceptionally well preserved skeletal remains we have excavated from the collapsed medieval „Lost Church” located in the community of Valeni/Patakfalva. 

          The osteology workshop will train students to conduct osteological analyses and frame bioarchaeological research questions. Participants will  receive  daily lectures on topics related to human skeletal biology and spend the first two weeks intensively reviewing human osteology, evaluating of sex and age estimation, osteometrics, and skeletal and dental pathologies.

           This summer’s workshop is designed to conduct an exhaustive osteological survey of the adult population from our active Lost Church Medieval Cemetery Excavation. 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.


Upon completion of this workshop:

  1. Participants will have in-depth knowledge of all bones in the human body, including landmarks, muscles attachments and articulations.

  2. Participants will understand fundamental concepts related to the human dentition.

  3. Participants will understand how to obtain basic demographic data from archaeological skeletal populations.

  4. Participants will understand how systematic data collection and peer review facilitates bioarchaeological research.


          Our participants are taught to conduct proper intensive research under laboratory conditions. This process entails the intensive acquisition of the skills and knowledge required to fulfill the expectations of a genuine research project. As students become more familiar with the questions that the osteological collection allows to address, they will choose a research topic they will address in small groups, leading to formal podium presentations at the Eleventh International Student Colloquium on Osteology and Bioarchaeology, in Odorheiu Secuiesc.

          This osteology research workshop is highly recommended for the participants interested in our more advanced projects, respectively the Juvenile Osteology Research Workshop. Students who wish to expand their skills and experience in the field can register for an additional 4 week  session of the Medieval Cemetery Funerary Excavation immediately following the Adult Osteology Session.



Location: Odorheiu Secuiesc, Hatghita County, Transylvania, Romania


Dates: June 9 - July 6, 2024


Housing: housed in a beautifully renovated hotel, 2-3 participants per room, with private bathrooms


Meals: breakfast and dinner is served Mon-Fri at the hotel; traditional Romanian and Szekler cuisine; we can accommodate vegetarian diets. However, we are NOT able to offer a vegan or gluten-free option.

Program Fees: US$ 2695 (4 weeks mandatory) - fees do not include tuition

Fee includes: registration and lab fees, lectures, access to study collections,  laboratory gear, housing and meals as described above.

Academic Credit (optional): 3 or 6 undergraduate (graduate - if applicable) credits can be earned through University of South Florida - additional USF tuition fees apply. See USF Program Brochure for more information. USF procedures and deadlines apply. Contact Dr. Jonathan Bethard at USF for more details.

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