CLEANING AND RESTORATION OF A SKULL FROM THE NECROPOLIS 4 AT SANISERA ARCHAEOLOGY INSTITUTE

During the excavation process, cleaning and inventory of excavated human remains at Sanisera Archaeology Institute some changes take place and they must be solved by anthropologists. Remains buried over 1500 years ago are now exposed and manipulated by archaeologists. Exposure to environment, to humidity caused by poorly ventilated packaging and other adverse factors can affect negatively the preservation of bone material.

In this section we show the treatment applied in our laboratory to ensure the preservation of the human remains of the necropolis we study in Sanisera. As shown in the image (Fig. 1: Skull SK 3188 in field), SK 3188 was transported in a block to the laboratory because of its fragility. Once there, we proceed to clean, disassemble and finally restore it (Fig. 2: Restoring SK 3188).

Skull found at Sanisera

Skull found at Sanisera Archaeology Institute

Skull restoring

Skull under restoration

It is a meticulous work and the result depends on the conditions of the remains and the care with which the anthropologist handles the remains. Once they are cleaned and inventoried, the dry remains are stored in clean airtight bags and properly registered for its later more advanced study.

The Roman city of Sanisera (Menorca, Spain) gathers 7 necropolises that surround the natural port of Sanitja. Since 2008 The Sanisera Archaeology Institute has been conducting various archaeological digs in two of its Necropolises. In the 7 years of intervention, they have been excavated a total of 62 tombs belonging to two necropolises: necropolis 6 and necropolis 4.

The vast majority of the participants are college students who wish to complete their studies in Bio-Anthropology and Archaeology with practical experience of fieldwork (Figure 3: Students digging in the Necropolis of Sanisera). The course combines field work with laboratory. We locate and dig the graves in the site; and the laboratory is used for cleaning, categorizing and inventorying the human remains (Figure 4: Students in the Sanisera laboratory).

Students digging at the necropolis

Students digging at the necropolis

Students at Sanisera's laboratory

Students at Sanisera’s laboratory

Apart from the fieldwork and lab, students receive lectures on history, archaeological methodology and anthropology in order to consolidate the historical and archaeological context of the site they are studying.

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