Great experience at the Sanisera Field School, by Louise Valmoria

student in the bioarchaeology course in the sanisera field schoolHello to everyone at the Sanisera Field School, particularly Fernando, Carmen and Cesar!

Now that I am safely back home in Australia and well and truly settled back into things I just wanted to drop you a line and say thank you very much for the great experience that I have had doing the Bioanthropology in Seville and Menorca course. I learned a lot from Carmen and Steffi and wanted to thank Fernando again for looking after our group in Seville and insisting we sample the Spanish food and culture! Also thanks to Fernando for putting up with us, particularly our group in Seville … I hope we didn’t try your patience too much. For what it’s worth we learned so much :)

I hope everyone with the Sanisera team got plenty of rest after such a big group and all of their associated dramas … I also hope the weather in Menorca was decent enough to allow you to close off the site for the season properly.

I had a great time with your course. I’m quite impressed with the structure of the course that allowed us a decent amount of time to excavate, process our finds, and then get lectures on the bigger picture – and also to swap learnings and stories with people who were doing other things at the site. Previous digs I have been on was all digging or all pottery lab for eight hours a day with sporadic lectures, so I felt that excavating in the morning and then having time in the afternoons to process what we had found was a good way of putting it all into context.

Students of the Sanisera field school november 2013As someone that had some knowledge of anatomy and physiology (as some of you may be aware my original field of study was in genetics) I thought that labs with Carmen was a good introduction to the more detailed study of bones and this was a good foundation for learning with Stefanie in Seville. I’m very pleased now that from only knowing basic identification of bones I now can identify occiptal from parietal bones, can do some basic siding (although Kim and Aaron were much better there I still had the chance to learn) and offer considered analyses on aging of teeth (while my estimates varied from Aaron’s, we both learned to discuss and debate our findings as well). I will be emailing Steffi as well but am not sure I have her correct email address, so please pass my thanks on to her as well.

Also I think that Menorca is an amazing place and am glad to have learned so much more about it and explore … so many places I am yet to discover and so much history to learn from … so I do think I will be back. And my Spanish will be better next time!

I have a learned a great deal from my short three weeks with your team in Spain and am thankful to you all for making it such a great experience. I am recommending your courses to my colleagues here who also would like to try their hand at archaeology, but more importantly to other students of archaeology and anthropology that I am coming across in my classes. Science communication is part of my job here back in Australia, and I talk a lot with a lot of varied groups at all age levels and interests. So I will certainly be putting your flyers up and promoting your school as much as people can put up with listening to me talk about it :)


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