Bioanthropology field school on the island of Astypalaia, Greece

This five week field school takes place on Astypalaia, a small, beautiful island in the Aegean Sea and part of the Dodecanese region in Greece. It is based on a unique archaeological site – the largest ancient children’s cemetery in the world, with at least 3000 children’s burials. In the field laboratory students learn the specialist skills required to excavate, record, identify, conserve, measure and catalogue the tiny bones and teeth of young children. This is one of the few sites in the world where children’s remains are abundant enough to provide such experience. Everyone carries out all the tasks required for each burial and so gains a useful range of experience for work on human remains.

The children’s cemetery is just below the modern town, which is on the site of the ancient Classical city of Astypalaia. The burials are in pots, mostly large amphorae previously used to transport the goods traded by the city. Their form suggests that they came from all over the Aegean between around 750 B.C. and A.D. 100. The Field School is taught within a long-term bioanthropology project involving collaboration between the 22nd Ephorate of Prehistoric & Classical Antiquities (part of the Ministry of Culture of Greece) and Dr Simon Hillson at University College London.

Dates: Wednesday July 1 to Monday August 3, 2015

Project director: Dr Simon Hillson, UCL Institute of Archaeology, University College London

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