by studying a medieval Transylvanian cemetery!
he 14th-17th century Piaţa Cetăţii cemetery was excavated between 2012 and 2014, resulting in the exhumation of approximately 800-1200 human burials. This was a salvage excavation, necessitated by an EU-funded redesign of the town’s historical center. As a participant in Rivulus Dominarum Bioarchaeology’s 2024 Transylvanian Laboratory Project, you will play an essential role in the preliminary analysis of the Piaţa Cetăţii skeletal collection, and will learn invaluable skills in osteological preparation and analysis directly from the project’s primary investigators.
The Goal of Rivulus Dominarum Bioarchaeology’s 2024 Transylvanian Laboratory Project
- Clean the human remains and prepare them for study
- Formulate biological profiles for the 800-1200 individual burials at Piaţa Cetăţii
- Increase legibility in Complex 66, a mass grave with indications of perimortem trauma
The first objective is what makes the project such a unique opportunity for its students. While you will not be excavating human remains, you will begin your work on the Piaţa Cetăţii collection at precisely the point at which excavation ceased. While most human remains in teaching laboratories have already been prepped and curated, the Piaţa Cetăţii collection is untouched. Rivulus Dominarum Bioarchaeology will teach you how to properly clean and prepare human osteological material for study. This skill-set, which is rarely developed by students outside of advanced graduate work, will familiarize you with bioarchaeological laboratory standards from the ground up.
Once the burials are cleaned and prepped for study, you will formulate biological profiles. These estimations of age-at-death, sex, and pathology are the building blocks of bioarchaeological research. You will gain experience formulating these profiles for both well-preserved skeletons and skeletons in the more fragmentary state that is typically encountered in the field. This advanced training will situate Rivulus Dominarum Bioarchaeology students in extremely competitive positions for future employment in conservation or museum studies, and graduate work in archaeology, bioarchaeology, or other field sciences.
As a participant of Rivulus Dominarum Bioarchaeology’s 2024 Transylvanian Laboratory Project, you will receive graduate-level training in Bioarchaeological, Forensic, and Archaeological theory and methods, including new and innovative multidisciplinary research frameworks that are rarely taught in other field learning programs. You will learn:
- Theories of Mass Grave Formation
- Violence Theory
- Black Feminist Archaeology
- Queer Theory
- Decolonizing Bioarchaeology
- Bioarchaeological Storytelling
- Osteological Cleaning & Prep
- Fragment ID & Siding
- Skeletal Recording
- Age-at-Death & Sex Estimation
- Paleopathology & Skeletal Trauma
- Analysis of Commingled Remains