About the fieldschool
This is a practical experience in the excavation and post-excavation analysis of skeletons from a modern cemetery. The project aims in the recovery and analysis of individuals from modern burials exhumed during a process of recycling of old burials. This is a socially and culturally sensitive environment with all ethical parameters followed in every step of the way. Each individual exhumed is treated following scientific standards adhering to the existing SOP policies, locally and internationally. The fieldschool operates under working professional guidelines with preset deadlines for the repatriation and/or reburial of the exhumed individuals.
The fieldschool is a fully supervised activity that aims in the training of students or professionals who seek to learn how to work with human remains or further advance their knowledge in doing so. The knowledge gained here has direct application in BIOARCHAEOLOGY as well as FORENSIC ARCHAEOLOGY/ANTHROPOLOGY. We encourage an interactive and easy-going process where the team of director/supervisors actively engage with the participants in order to mediate and communicate learning among all. Less experienced students work alongside more experienced professionals in a way that one learns new information whereas the other transmits knowledge.
AIMS – OBJECTIVES – LEARNING OUTCOMES
The fieldschool focuses on the excavation and analysis of skeletons; learning to preserve and act ethically with all that concerns the study of human remains. The main goal of the on-going research has a humanitarian scope, that is to prepare identification standards for mass disaster victims that may also aid in the repatriation of victims from armed-conflict that may have gone missing during a war.
The fieldschool has 3 primary aims:
1. to teach students the principles involved in the practice of excavating skeletal remains in situ but also exhuming burials as whole and processing them in a lab or field accordingly (each case is treated in its own merits following family and/or state requirements); the latter of which aids in the teaching students how to be set up in the field in the need of a temporary lab facility and obtain experience in understanding team organization and operation division of processes (part of learning how to work in events of mass disasters).
2. to teach students how to handle, work with and analyze human skeletal remains from modern contexts (which also has a direct applicability in bioarchaeology) within an active professional environment. The students will be involved int he recording of skeletons from the modern skeletal collection housed in the laboratory. The CYPRUS RESEARCH REFERENCE COLLECTION (CRRC) consists of 2000 skeletons and there is an on-going process of cleaning, recording (in electronic databases) and anthropological analysis of the skeletons. Both skeletal remains and the associated artefacts (i.e. clothing etc) of the deceased are being processed but all information concerning the identity of these individuals is confidential and remains to the sole authority of the collection's manager (no personal information are being communicated).
3. to offer the student the opportunity to participate and aid in a process of burial recycling in the island of Cyprus, learn how to apply anthropological and forensic methods to modern skeletal remains and situations that are ethically, socially and culturally sensitive. In this sense, students may at occasions partake in emergency exhumations and repatriation or burial following specific family or state requirements. This is an opportunity to learn how to work with skeletons associated with living relatives and the means by which you will need to work within the process of dealing with such skeletal material.
Through this process the students learn all there is to learn about human remains and gain a hands-on experience regarding every aspect of dealing with such. The students get to work with various types of remains, including 3 specialist workshops in:
A. in Juvenile Osteology (taught/practical),
B. introduction to Cremains
C. introduction to field archaeology practices & methods and applications in commercial settings
Furthermore, you will learn how to work with commingle and disarticulated remains as well as a training in the reconstruction of bio-occupational profiles, including training in Markers of Occupational Stress.
This is a unique opportunity to learn about modern pathologies as well as unique skeletal cases otherwise not available in archaeological contexts but also gain experience with trauma and disease that you are likely to encounter in all types of skeletal remains, from whether a forensic or archaeological setting. SOME OF THE PATHOLOGY CASES INCLUDE: dwarfism, cancer, infection and infectious diseases, joint degeneration disease (e.g. OA, septic arthritis), DISH, Ankyosing spondylytis, anaemia and thalassaemia, trauma (intentional and accidental), fractures and surgical intervention (e.g. hip replacements and fracture fixtures), dislocation, and many more.
Accommodation: Accommodation for the students is provided within walking distance from the site and also the beach, the old town of Limassol, the medieval castle and the Limassol Marina. The fieldschool has partnered up with various housing facilities, the final selection of which is based on the number of students and thus by default the housing is in accordance with the merits of the project each season. Accommodation is basic and the sleeping facilities are on a shared (mixed) basis. Each house is fully equipped with a kitchen (cooking utensilts, hob, oven, fridge) and a washing machine (if a washing machine is not available, laundry service will be provided for free once a week on a Friday).
Ethical Disclaimer: We strictly follow all ethical and professional guidelines with regards to the handling of human remains and we adhere to a strict regulatory guidelines framework with regards to the preservation of identity and personal information of the deceased. We don't communicate private information to the participants nor do we publish without consent. The data is protected and there is no access to private/personal medical records of the deceased. We respect both the dead and the living and it is expected that all participants follow through. Photographs are not distributed to unauthorized personnel and photographs do not contain private information which directly or indirectly link to the identity or other information associated to the deceased. All the work is supervised and unsupervised access to the collection is not provided at any times. The safety of the collection is ensured by all parties and skeletal preservation is a primary concern; unnecessary handling of the material is not permitted and personal belongings accompanying burials/individuals are either stored/maintained accordingly and/or returned to the families. Personal items are not handled by participants.
Disclosure statement: All fiedlschool activities are being carried out in English. All the personnel working under the auspices of Odyssey, partners and collaborators, they, at all times, must treat human remains with utter most respect and conduct all analyses following international and national operations standards. All ethical parameters set must be at all times respected and none would be violated for any reason. All the operations with regards to modern and ancient sites are approved by the associated government and/or church officials. No violation of human right laws, antiquity laws takes place. The data collected during field excavation and lab analyses are the rightful ownership of Odyssey FieldSchool and no individual or institutions may claim ownership rights over data collected with or without their presence during the collection process. Publication and reproduction of data must be approved by Odyssey FieldSchool Researchi Manager, and in failing to do so, Odyssey FieldSchool has the right to retrieve the data back via means of legal action. All data and information collected during the actions of Odyssey must remain confidential. All the data, results and conclusions collected and achieved are the intellectual property of Odyssey Fieldschool.