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Field school: Migration, Health, and Lifestyle in the Kingdom of the Gepids (Transylvania)

by Ed Hagen last modified Jan 08, 2013 08:45 PM
June 30-August 4, 2013 (5 weeks). Skeletal remains within cemeteries and individual burials have proven to be an invaluable source of information in archaeological endeavors. The wealth of knowledge obtained from burial assemblages provides insights into culture; migratory patterns; contact and trade; social complexities and population dynamics; familial relationships, and ancestral health. Archaeology attempts to reconstruct the particulars of past populations through their material remains and, complementary to it, bioarchaeological studies comprise an understanding of the skeletal remains of past populations themselves and integrates this understanding with adaptive changes to environment and culture.

The main theme of this project will be to use these approaches to produce a working body of knowledge about the Gepid populations from Transylvania (3rd -5th centuries CE). This period in history represents a poorly understood socially and politically dynamic exchange of power structure in the Balkans: namely the advent of the Hunnic state, the collapse of the Western Roman Empire, the Plague of Justinian, and the ushering of the Middle Ages.

For the 2013 field season, we will be examining and analysing skeletal remains belonging to the Gepid culture, excavated from the Northeastern plains of Transylvania. 

Location: Cluj-Napoca, Romania

Duration: June 30-August 4, 2013 (5 weeks)

Course Fee: £1100 or U.S./CA equivalent

Project Directors: Kori Lea Filipek-Ogden & Sabrina Gloux

In addition to the analytical component, lectures will be given by TBRG archaeological and museum staff on: the history of the culture and the region as well as practical bioarchaeological concepts including basic osteology and standard recording techniques; establishing MNI; ageing and sexing of adults and non-adults; non-metric traits and normal variation; biomechanics, palaeopathology; and advanced methodologies including histology, radiography, stable isotope analyses, and ancient DNA and bacterial DNA extraction and amplification. Students are not necessarily required to have any bioarchaeological/osteological experience but those who do will be in good stead to complete the course. Academic credit is available at no extra charge but paperwork must be initiated with the university by the student

All analytical work will take place in the National History Museum of Transylvania (MNIT), located in Cluj-Napoca, Romania. If available, students will also have the opportunity to experience bioarchaeological fieldwork. 

Although the focus of this field school is core bioarchaeological investigations of the Gepids in Transylvania, we are open to a limited number of collaborative research inquiries by those wishing to conduct post-grad research on other themes or cultures.

Supplementary field trips[1] will be offered to explore the beautiful Transylvanian countryside, caves, archaeological sites, and glacial lakes. Of course a trip to Dracula’s real castle and birthplace will be available too!

The cost of the field includes 3-stars accommodation with wi-fi for 5 weeks, airport transfers to and from Cluj-Napoca International Airport, and incidentals including materials and lab fees.

Please do enquire by e-mail to you have any questions or would like to be put in contact with past students.

[1] Supplementary field trips are not included in the basic field school cost


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