Juvenile Osteology Research Workshop
(Bioarchaeology of Children)
Medieval Crisis Populations - Victims of Change
July 4 - July 31, 2021
Transylvania, Romania

          Our Juvenile Osteology Research Workshop is a more advanced continuation of the Adult Osteology Workshop. The aim of this workshop is to provide participants with an intensive review of juvenile osteology and an overview of the ways in which this kind of unique information is interpreted by bioarchaeologists.  During the workshop, participants will have the chance to study the growth and development of the human skeleton across various juvenile age cohorts, ranging from pre-natal to pre-adult. Most importantly, participants will have the opportunity to gain hands on experience with the analysis of exceptionally well  preserved juvenile skeletal remains.

          The aim of this project is to evaluate to what extent and how the major political events of the 16th and 17th centuries have impacted physically local populations, especially the children. During the 2013 season of our Osteology Workshops we uncovered a very interesting  and unique phenomenon: during the 17th century, the inside of some of the churches in the region of Odorheiu Secuiesc, in the heart of Transylvania (Romania), was dedicated to infant burials. Our initial study of the church in Teleac/Telekfakva showed one adult, 69 juveniles out of which 48 were of preterm or fetal age.

         During the next stage of the project, started in 2014, we started to address how the health of the children in the various cohorts, ranging from preterm to preadult, varies in this period of crisis. The very good preservation of the medieval osteological material and the high quality of the recovery during excavation provides a unique opportunity for a very intensive hands-on experience while working with juvenile osteological remains. This laboratory workshop session is intended for students with some previous osteological experience. Knowledge, both theoretical and practical, of the human anatomy and morphology is highly recommended.

           In addition to hands-on laboratory instruction, participants will also contribute to numerous seminar discussions and hear lectures on topics related to the bioarchaeology of children. The workshop comprises daily intensive lectures on infant anatomy and pathology, group discussions, laboratory work, bone restoration and analysis, leading to individual and group research projects and presentations as part of the Eighth International Osteology and Bioarchaeology Student Colloquium in Odorheiu Secuiesc. Topical areas to be included involve the following subject areas: an overview of the bioarchaeology of children, growth and development, weaning and dietary stress, juvenile trauma and pathology, and reconstruction and interpretation of infant mortality.  Moreover, seminars and lectures will introduce how novel technological applications (i.e., histology, CT imaging) have been utilized by bioarchaeologists who study juvenile remains.

          Students that wish to expand their skills and experience in the field can register for a 4 week (June 6 - July 3, 2021) session of the Medieval Cemetery Funerary Excavation,  or the more advanced, Ossuary Excavation/Commingled Remains Osteology Laboratory Workshop, immediately preceding the Juvenile Osteology Workshop. Note that this program requires previous experience in human anatomy and osteology, such as our Adult Osteology Research Laboratory Workshop or equivalent.



Location: Odorheiu Secuiesc, Harghita County, Transylvania, Romania


Dates:  July 4 - July 31, 2021


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

Cost: US$ 2495 (4 weeks mandatory) - fees do not include tuition

Single Room Supplement: US$400 (per 4 week session - optional)


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

Academic Credit: 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.




  • The outstanding success of our 2018 and 2019 GPR projects, the Applied Field Geophysics Workshop - GPR Applications, prompted us to buy a second GPR unit with a different central frequency and a different configuration. As a result, our participants will have the unique opportunity to get fully proficient on a 250MHz GPR system, in a cart configuration, as well as 500MHz system, in a rough terrain configuration.

  • Furthermore, participants who are committed to expand their field skill set can register to our new Geophysics Exploration and Field Excavation program. It is a 4 week program, combining the GPR Applications Workshop (5 days) and  Roman Villa Excavation (3 weeks). Participants save $400 over the combined costs of the individual programs.



This year, COVID-19 caught us (and the entire world) unprepared. But we have learned our lessons and we are setting up our 2021 projects accordingly. We will be taking all the necessary prophylactic measures to keep our staff, our participants and our hosts safe, while providing, as usual, an educational and training experience to the highest standards.

All our projects will be back in 2021 and we are looking forward to a season of archaeology, bioarchaeology, osteology and ground penetrating radar (GPR) exploration!!!

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