Astypalaia field school header


This project is a bioarchaeological study of the human remains from ancient cemeteries on the small Greek island of Astypalaia. The earliest burials date from about 750 BC and the latest AD 100, so the cemeteries include burials from Late Geometric, Classical, Hellenistic and Roman contexts. Our work centres on the children's cemetery which has more than 3400 burials. It is the largest ancient children's cemetery in the world, which provides a unique opportunity for bioarchaeological research and training.

Each summer, the project runs a 5 week Field School for undergraduates and graduates. Students are trained in techniques for recording the burials, recovering the tiny bones and teeth of children, conservation and storage, identification and measurement, catalogue and database. They work in small groups under supervision and after initial classes they gain experience by following through all the steps for a number of burials. Applications are open now.

The project and field school are directed by Dr Simon Hillson, Professor of Bioarchaeology at University College London. Astypalaia's cemeteries are being excavated by the Ephorate of Antiquities of the Dodecanese (Εφορεία Αρχαιοτήτων Δωδεκανήσου) and their archaeologist in charge is Mrs Haroula Fantaoutsaki.

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Excavation of child burial in amphora