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Osteology, Bioarchaeology and Funerary Archaeology in Transylvania - 2014 Field Programs

by Ed Hagen last modified Nov 21, 2013 05:28 PM
As we are beginning our 5th year of our Transylvania Bioarchaeology Projects, we are happy to offer to both undergraduate and graduate students (credit as well as non-credit) participants three field and laboratory programs in osteology, bioarchaeology of children andmortuary archaeology in the heart of Transylvania (Romania). Please note that our 2013-2014 osteology and bioarchaeology programs are taught by Dr. Jonathan Bethard (Forensic Anthropology Program, Department of Anatomy and Neurobiology, Boston University School of Medicine).

 

Programs:

As the 15th century ends, the southeastern European frontier collapses in front of the Ottoman Turks. The heroes (and their legend) that held back the Ottoman East have died: Vlad Dracula the Impaler  in 1476; Holy Stephan the Great in 1504; Skanderberg in 1468. The fall of Constantinople in 1453 and the European defeat at the Battle of Mohacs in 1526 opened the way for the Ottoman expansion into Europe. As Europe redefines itself in the wake of the Ottoman invasion, the Carpathian frontier still holds fast against the Eastern invaders. With the collapse of the Kingdom of Hungary in 1526, its Transylvanian territories became a political battlefield between European and the Ottoman backed princes. The local populations lived under constant social, political, economic and religious stress. During the late Middle Ages, Transylvania goes through major political changes, and a spiritual crisis, under the pressure of Islam from the East and Protestantism from the West.

The aim of the osteology and bioarchaeology projects is to evaluate how major global political events impact physically the local Transylvanian populations. For that purpose, we will analyze the relatively very well preserved human remains from ca. 200 adults and 100 children (ranging from prenatal to preadult) from four different cemeteries from central Transylvania (Romania), dating from the 16-17thcenturies. Students will be taught how to identify fragmented bones, determine age, sex, stature, identify pathologies, trauma and take standard measurements. At the same time, they will be introduced to various osteological conservation problems aiming at properly evaluate bone quality for DNA and isotope analysis.

Concurrently, our funerary excavation aims at understanding the evolution of the population within this space-time environment, the changes in the very local type of church architecture and burial patterns through time, and the variations on the Christian burial ritual during social, political and economic stress. Through a more thorough study of the cemeteries and their occupants, we will also explore the different processes that led to the penetration of Protestantism in the region and then its subsequent return to Catholicism. During the 2014 season, we will continue to excavate the churches – and very well preserved associated cemeteries – that dramatically closed down at the end of the 17th century, to the point where they were erased from local collective memory.The further study of the human remains in our osteology laboratory will provide a more detailed view of the “lived” human aspects of these transitions and crises.

Osteology Workshops: Late Medieval ”Crisis” Populations – The Remaking of the European Frontier

Location: Odorheiu Secuiesc, Transylvania, Romania

Dates: June 8 – July 5, 2014 (all level students)

More information: http://archaeotek.org/osteology_and_bioarch_workshop/osteology_workshop

Contact e-mail: archaeology@archaeotek.org

Bioarchaeology of Children Osteology Workshop: Victims of Change – Lost Churches Project

Location: Odorheiu Secuiesc, Transylvania, Romania

Dates: July 6 – August 2, 2014 (intermediary level students)

More information: http://archaeotek.org/osteology_and_bioarch_workshop/bioarchaeology_of_children_workshop

Contact e-mail: archaeology@archaeotek.org

 

Excavation: Medieval Cemetery – Life and Death on the Edge of Europe - Lost Churches Project

Location: Teleac and Valeni, Harghita County (Southern Transylvania), Romania

Period: Late Middle Ages

Excavation datesSession 1: June 15 – July 5, 2014

Excavation dates - Session 2: July 6 – July 26, 2014

More information: http://archaeotek.org/medieval_funerary_excavation

Contact e-mail: archaeology@archaeotek.org

 

Student evaluations of our 2013 season can be found at: http://archaeotek.org/student_project_evaluation For more information (and other archaeological projects), please see the poster and research objectives attached to this e-mail, or visit our website www.archaeotek.org

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