2016 Digging Anthropology in the Sanisera Necropolis (Menorca, Balearic Islands –Spain-) from $1000 per session

Location: Es Mercadal, Menorca, Balearic Islands, Spain

April 12, 2016 to November 14, 2016

Session dates: 
1) April 12 – April 29; 2) May 01 – May 18; 3) May 21 – June 07; 4) June 10 – June 27; 5) June 30 – July 17; 6) July 20 – August 06; 7) August 09 – August 26; 8) August 29 – September 15; 9) September 18 – October 05; 10) October 08 – October 25; 11) October 28 – November 14

Application Deadline: 
Wednesday, November 30, 2016

Deadline Type: 
Contact for details

Flyer: PDF icon 0082016.pdf

Program Type

Field school



The Sanisera Archaeology Institute for International Field Schools offers over 20 international courses focusing on archaeology, anthropology, GIS, underwater archaeology, conservation, art, museums and archaeological film. Student's fieldwork centers on the survey and excavation of classical sites. - See more at: http://archaeology.institute

Project Director:

Fernando Contreras, Bernardo Vila and Julie Thomas

Project Description


Sanisera Archaeology Institute for International Field Schools

General Information


The Sanisera Archaeology Institute for International Field Schools offers an annual archaeology dig on the island of Menorca, off the coast of Spain. Since then it has organized courses for students who come from all over the world to study abroad and who are interested in anthropology.

Death in Rome has been studied in Sanisera since we started digging the first necropolis in 2008. So far we have excavated 90 tombs belonging to a Roman cemetery which could have been related to a basilica in the Roman city if Sanisera, which dates from the 4th and 6th centuries AD. The Osteology corpus in this necropolis includes more than 232 individuals.

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.

What you will learn

In the Fieldwork

  • How to dig and which archaeological techniques are used.
  • Use and handling of the tools that are used during the excavation process.
  • Basic principles of stratigraphy.
  • Basic procedures for collecting C14 samples.

In the Laboratory

  • Cleaning, inventory and cataloging of recovered human bones during the excavation process.
  • Basics of the methods used in human osteological analysis, including skeletal anatomy, palaeodemography and palaeopathology.
  • Learning how to identify age, sex and height of buried individuals.
  • Relative dating based on the classification of archaeological artifacts discovered in stratigraphic sequence.


  • Introduction to Physical Anthropology and Bioarchaeology
  • Skeletal Anatomy –Terminology-: generalities, dental structure, skull and other bones.
  • History, archaeology, economy and culture of the Roman civilization.
  • Introduction to the History of the Sanisera Site.
  • The background of Roman funerary rituals.
  • Minorcan archaeology before the Roman conquest of the Balearic Islands.

Directed at

If you are interested in studying anthropology or are already doing so in your school and would like to gain experience as a fieldwork volunteer excavating cemeteries and graves, this may be the best choice for you. This program accommodates participants with or without previous experience.

In the necropolis of Sanisera, without much physical exertion, and due to the stratigraphic conditions, you easily find and excavate tombs and their contents. You will excavate tombs and learn anthropological techniques used to recover human remains and grave goods. In the biological anthropology laboratory, you will learn how to treat and classify bones and grave goods recovered from the necropolis.    

This course is designed primarily for students interested in excavating human remains with fieldwork focusing on a Roman cemetery. Time dedicated to laboratory work is less than excavation time, but students will learn the basics of anatomy.

After completing this program, the experience gained will enable you to decide if biological anthropology is the area of study best for you and if you would like to continue on with anthropology in your professional future.

This is the most economical intensive biological anthropology course the Sanisera Field School offers. The excavation takes place on the northern coast of the island, surrounded by the sea and pristine Mediterranean landscapes. 

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

Student Testimonials  

Video 1: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=wCQF1vZIp-w

Video 2: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=4Mg46RhSt-s

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, roman archaeology, human osteology and classification of archaeological materials. Participants will visit other archaeological sites on the island through organized excursions. The course is taught in English and Spanish.

Sessions & Cost




Session #1

2016 | April 12 – April 29

$ 1000

Session #2

2016 | May 01 – May 18 

$ 1200

Session #3

2016 | May 21 – June 07

$ 1350

Session #4

2016 | June 10 – June 27

$ 1350

Session #5

2016 | June 30 – July 17

$ 1350

Session #6

2016 | July 20 – August 06

$ 1350

Session #7

2016 | August 09 – August 26

$ 1350

Session #8

2016 | August 29 – September 15

$ 1350

Session #9

2016 | September 18 – October 05 

$ 1200

Session #10

2016 | October 08  – October 25 

$ 1000

Session #11

2016 | October 28  – November 14

$ 1000


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.

Spaces available

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: Roman (Classical Archaeology)

Fieldwork focuses on the excavation of funerary structures, specifically inhumation graves. In the laboratory students will learn to classify artifacts found, mainly human skeletal remains.

Project size: 
1-24 participants

Minimum Length of Stay for Volunteers: 18 days

Minimum age: 
18 (contact with questions about age)

Experience required: 

Room and Board Arrangements

Course fee includes

  • Course tuition
  • Accommodation in the Student Residency in Ciutadella. Two to six per room.
  • Walking distance to the historic center, port and beaches
  • Breakfast, lunch and dinner.
  • Morning snack at the Sanisera site.
  • 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 Menorca (Spain).

From $1000 to $1350 per session

Academic Credit

Name of institution offering credit: 
Please, contact Felipe Esteban, our course coordinator, in order to get more information about this possibility sanisera@arrakis.es
Number of credits offered: none


Contact Information
Felipe Esteban
Es Mercadal
+1 347 8710963