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Archaeology & Anthropology Field Schools

Europe - Spain - Visigothic Cemetery Excavation & Forensic Analysis Summer School Field - 2016

Archaeology Field School Location and Dates

Application Deadline
Start Date 2016-09-01
End Date 2016-09-30

Multiple Sessions YES
Multiple Session information

Short session: 2016, September 1 to 20.
Large session: 2016, September 1 to 30.

Archaeology Field School Location

Cubillejo de la Sierra.

Archaeology Field School Tuition and Credits

Sponsoring College/Institution

Complutense University of Madrid.

Archaeology Field School Tuition

Short session: 1220 EUR.
Large session: 1270 EUR.

Archaeology Field School Room and Board

Room and Board included.

Archaeology Field School Travel
Travel not included
Additional Information on Tution/Room and Board/Travel Costs

The course fee includes:

• Course tuition (archaeological excavation and laboratory work.
• Acommodation in the student residence Doña Blanca de Molina (Paseo Alameda, s/n. Molina de Aragón, Guadalajara), located 12.5 Km from the archaeological sites.
• Breakfast, lunch and dinner.
• Daily transportation from the student residence to the archaeological site.
• Excursions and visits to another archaeological sites and other adventure activities.
• Participation letter issued by the Complutense University of Madrid.

Archaeology Field School Description


The discovery of the Visigothic Cemetery of Cubillejo de la Sierra (Guadalajara) ocurred in the context of a larger entity archaeological project focused primarily on the Celtibero-Roman hillfort of Los Rodiles. Surronding this archaeological site, there are several sites of the past whose study can document a large cultural sequence, since the beginning of the first millenium before the era until late antiquity (Cerdeño et al. 2008).

One of these sites was an early Celtiberian Iron Age hillfort wich abundant pottery. After the prospection of the place on summer of the year 2006, appeared this new cemetery. The absence of adequate fuding to undertake the excavation with this characteristics on this archaeological site, including the essential anthropological study of the remains, it was covered up waiting for the propitious occasion to make its study.

The time pass since its discovery and the almost surface position of the burials, was very neccesary to turn the attention on the them, before they could suffer irreparable damage by natural or intentional causes. In the splanade that surrounds the Virgen de la Vega chapel, people of nearbay towns celebrates a religious pilgrimage every year and always that is a potential danger for the cemetery.

In 2014 we had the opportunity to organize an excavation campaing in collaboration with the Professor of Anthropology Dr. Jesus Herrerín (Faculty of Biological Sciences of the Complutense University of Madrid) and Prof. Dr. Manuel Retuerce (Faculty of Histoy of the Complutense University of Madrid) designed as a nine days practical archaeological anthropology fieldwork, which ensured the self-funding.

Despite of the success of the intervention, and reflected the archaeological report, it was a short excavation campaing and its necessary give a new impetus to the study of the cemetery, as the best way to protect the burials that are not exhumed. For this reason we have proposed a one month excavation and forensic analysis campaing that we believe is the final. The main goal is the excation of the prospected area pending of archaeological intervention. Apart of the research side, we always consider our educational perspective, we believe the site could be good for students who want to specialize in Archaeology and Anthropology, also ensuring the rigor and the accuracy of the work.


The visigothic cemtery extends over a small hill with abundant emergence of limestone along the eastern side of the Virgen de la Vega chapel, bult in the Middle Age and rebuilt in later centuries, but the original plant was clearly linked to the visigothic cemetery. The burials were discovered at a very shallow depth soundings and they allow to delimit the possible extent and the number of graves: almost 450 which could contain more than 100 burials. All the graves discovered offer similar features: a rater shallow grave bounded by stone slabs with human bones inside. The skeletons are buried in supne position, with the hands on the abdomen or in paralell with the trunk and oriented to north-east or south-east.

The cemetery indicates that the region continued inhabited during the Late Antiquity, following the abandonment of the nearby roman village, as documented in other sites such as Carranque or Saucedo, both sites locatd in Toledo. In the surrounding of Cubillejo, in the same region of Molina de Aragón, there are some references of another ancient cemetery of the same period in Establés and Villel de Mesa, and in other like and in Aguilar de Anguita and Corduente.

The dwelling places are worst known. The only excavated in the province is El Tesoro-Carramantiel in Gualda. It has been identified as a small village linked to the livestock activities, but its possible that every cemetery has its corresponding settlement. This aspect that there was a predominantly rural visigoth settelement, still poorly understood, but more abundant that previously thought. The urban life was scarce in these parts of the Kingdom of Toledo, apart the cities of Recopolis and Segontia, identified Sigüenza, old roman village and epicospal see whose bishops appear appointment from the Third Council of Toledo, held in 589 and in subsequent until the Council XVI.


From of a methodological point of view, the small hill that occupies the chapel and the cemetery were included in the georeference analysis that it has taken place at the beginig of the archaeological works in Los Rodiles hillfort. It was desinged an artificial mesh 4x4 oriented from an axis North-South and in the point of the land that the cemetery sits, two points of basic georeferencing were placed to allow the identification of each susceptible orderly grid designed. The geodetic works were carried by Prof. Dr. Rodríguez-Caderot of the Faculty of Mathematics at the Complutense University of Madrid.

After the discovery of the first burial in 2006, we conducted some surveys to see if it was an isolated case or trurly was a well organizted complete cemetery. Finally, this last condition like an intact visigothic cemetery was confirmed so we believed that it was necessary study of those first data and present them in specialized forums: A poster at the First International Congress on "Urban Spaces in the West Mediterranean, VI-VIII Centuries" (Toledo, 2009 September 30-October 3) and a longer oral communication in the II Congresso sobre "Arqueología de Tansiçao: O Mundo Funerario." (Évora, 2013 April 29-May 1).


After the first surveys and the excavation campaign of 2014, has demonstrated the obvious interest of the cemetery and therefore urgently consider the finalization of the field work to prevent the possible destruction of the site and with it the disappearance of very important documentation.
The excavation of this cemetery is perhaps the best way to preserve its content, given its existence is well known in the environment, their position is very shallow and the space it occupies, together to the chapel, it is used every year as a place of pilgrimage on August 15. The actions should be developed are:

? Excavation extension of well-defined as a cemetery, to get the full perspective of necropolitano whole space.
?Having identified the graves, detailed floor plans at scales 1:20 and 1:10, which are then digitized to be processed is lifted. It also aims to study possible topoastronómicas orientations of individuals buried in line with the guidelines of the current archaeoastronomical studies.
?Exhumation of skeletal remains in archaeological and anthropological methodology for further study in the laboratory. Techniques archaeological record be made by stratigraphic units and Harris method for extracting skeletal remains applying standardized anthropological record and appropriate treatments for cleaning and maintenance.
?Upon the finalization of the fieldwork, we will proceed to the global study of the data obtained and the immediate composition of the relevant publication, so it could be known by the scientific community.
?In the same way, the place of burial can be incorporated into the draft musealization hillfort of Los Rodiles, because different sites that can demonstrate continuity in the population of the area from the stages of Early Celtiberian (First Iron Age seventh century. C.) to the Late Antiquity, sixth century. C .

Archaeology Field School Additional Information

Archaeology Field School Type

Historic. Middle Age. Late Antiquity. Forensic & Anthropological Analysis.

Time Period

Visigothic Period. Late Antiquity (V-VI centuries AD).

Field School Setting/Conditions

Not experience required but recommended.

How is the project area accessed each day

The Field School provides the transport to/from the archaeological site by bus o car.

Number of years this Archaeology Field School has been in operation
Is there a professional certification for this field school

Participation letter issued by Complutense University of Madrid.

Directors and Instructors

Prof. Dr. María Luisa Cerdeño.
BA. Marta Chordá.
Dr. Emilio Gamo.
Dr. Álvaro Sánchez.

Specialized skills you will have the opportunity to learn

Students will learn the delicate process of the Visigothic cemetery excavation, forensic analysis of human remains and study of the material culture (analysis, drawing, database, etc.).

On rain days will there be lab work?

On rain we there will be Lab and office work with seminars, material culture analysis, etc.

Will there be additional organized activities?

- Visit other archeological sites of the surrondings.
- Adventure activities and hiking.

Will there be additional organized activities?

Lectures, seminars and adventure activities at the weekend.

Is travel restriced during free time?

Free time travel not restricted.

Archaeology Field School Contact Information and Website

Field School Website:

Field School Contact Information

Dr. Álvaro Sánchez Climent.
C/ Altagracia, 39. 4F
Ciudad Real.

Field School Contact E-mail:
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