Digging Medieval Graves in the Travnik Cemetery (Travnik – Bosnia)

Location: Travnik, Bosnia and Herzegovina

Wednesday, June 25, 2014 to Thursday, October 9, 2014

Session dates: 
1) June 25 - July 14; 2) July 17 - August 5; 3) August 8-27; 4) August 30 - September 18; 5) September 20 - October 9

Program Type

Field school


The Sanisera Field School: International Archaeology Courses

Project Director:

Ajla Sejfuli

Project Description

Our commitment is to promote Archaeology in its different aspects of research, training, and conservation, with a basic and clear purpose: to involve anyone from around the world who wishes to gain access to this scientific field. Sanisera is an international archaeological organization whose main aim is that of promoting and developing research , so that our current and future generations can be enriched by culture and education in this field. http://www.ecomuseodecavalleria.com/the-sanisera-field-school-video.asp

Why participate?

Courses Quick Guide

General Information

The Sanisera Field School offers an archaeology dig on Travnik, in a very quiet town surrounded by mountains and located in central Bosnia and Herzegovina, with a temperate climate during the summer months. This course is for students who come from all over the world to study abroad and who are interested in anthropology.

During the twelfth century, the population in Travnik lived in small rural villages. Their cemeteries were installed next to their churches in sacred places isolated from the community. Death was omnipresent in their culture and it can be checked perfectly in their necropolis. Each cemetery could consist of a maximum group of 20 graves; some of them were large sarcophagi that even might present Romanesque sculptural relief and epigraphy. It is unusual to find grave goods in the tombs; however, they can be discovered jewelry or objects belonging to the clothing of the deceased.

The medieval cemetery to be excavated is very interesting for Biological Anthropology teaching, since in each grave there is only a skeleton and in most cases it's totally complete and in perfect conditions. Thus, learning to distinguish, categorize and find pathologies in human remains is much easier and faster.

The fieldwork focuses on funerary structures, specifically inhumation graves. Students will also participate in lectures on skeletal anatomy and pathologies, classes, exercises and excursions related to the course material.

Directed at
This is the only course that the Sanisera Field School offers in Bosnia and the only research that we conduct focusing on medieval times (XIII) which takes place in a medieval necropolis. 

The tombs of this necropolis are unique in that the majority of the individuals were buried in sarcophagi that were not reused or looted. This is extremely important for students that are interested in learning how to excavated tombs and are interested in biological anthropology. 

These tombs are comfortable to excavate and the skeletons recovered are almost entirely complete, individually buried, perfectly articulated and well conserved. For a student that has never excavated and would like to get an introduction to the field of biological anthropology, this is a good option because you will easily  and quickly learn the fundamental concepts used during fieldwork in anthropology. The time dedicated to laboratory work is reduced and the concepts for learning human anatomy are basic. .

The experience gained on completion of this program will help you decide if biological anthropology is the area of research in which to center your studies and if you want to make anthropology your professional future.

Bosnia is an inexpensive country. Daily living costs such as food, transportation are very economical. Travnik is a very calm and peaceful city surrounded by mountains with an enchanting rural landscape. The weather is cool and temperate during the summer months.    

Previous knowledge or experience in archaeology or computer systems is not required.

Student Testimonial - http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=DTPzf0JH2-A

Field School life & language
The fieldwork runs 7 hours a day with time dedicated to both excavations, the study of human osteology by the analysis of the skeletal remains and laboratory work on roman pottery.

For every seven course days there are two days off.

Participants will learn and apply excavation techniques used in biological anthropology during fieldwork. In the laboratory, participants will follow guidelines set by an anthropologist and other specialists for the classification, study, and conservation of skeletal remains and other related material found.

Participants will also be given lectures on methodology, medieval archaeology, human osteology and classification of archaeological materials. Participants will visit other archaeological sites through organized excursions.The course is taught in English.

At the end of the Field Program, students will receive a certificate of participation stating the hours and activities of the course. Participants that perform exceedingly well in the course may receive a letter of recommendation from our organization upon request.

Sessions & Cost (For 2014: 5 sessions, 20 days each)

  • Session #1 June 25th - July 14th $ 2,800
  • Session #2 July 17th - August 5th $ 2,800
  • Session #3 August 8th - August 27th $ 2,800
  • Session #4 August 30th - September 18th $ 2,600
  • Session #5 September 20th - October 9th $ 2,600

Spaces avalaible
The course is limited to 8 participants per session. Reservations are only effective when payment of the registration fee is received. If for any reason the course is cancelled, payment is returned according to the field school refund policy.

Period(s) of Occupation: Medieval Period

Project size: 
1-24 participants

Minimum age: 

Experience required: 

Room and Board Arrangements

Course fee includes

  • Course tuition
  • Accommodation
  • Walking distance to the historic center.
  • Accident insurance at the site.
  • Daily transportation to/from the archaeological fieldwork.
  • Excursions.
  • Certificate of participation

Airfare not included from the student home to/from Travnik (Bosnia).
Meals are not included (although we will recommend some cafés and restaurants that do not exceed the average of 6€/day in meals).
Entry tickets to museums and historical buildings are not included either.

Between $2,600 to $2,800 (session)

Academic Credit

Number of credits offered: none


Contact Information
Cesar Gonzalez
Apdo. 68
Es Mercadal
Menorca - Spain
(34) 666 68 65 50