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Archaeology & Anthropology Field Schools

Europe - Spain - Early medieval church in the Bidania, Basque Country

Europe - Spain - Early medieval church in the Bidania, Basque Country

Archaeology Field School Location and Dates

Application Deadline
Start Date 2016-06-13
End Date 2016-07-10

Archaeology Field School Location
Bidania-Goiatz, Gipuzkoa - Basque Country (Spain)
Academic Credit
7 hours/18 days.
Archaeology Field School Tuition
€ 700. Weekday meals are included. Transportation from accommodation to the site is included too.
Archaeology Field School Room and Board
It will depend on the people that applies. This feature is going to be set up in the next months. There are two chances: a small dwelling with bunk beds, kitchen, fridge, shower,… in a small town 15km away from San Sebastian; or a hostel in the city, 3-4 or 5-6 bed rooms, kitchen optional, washing machine,… . Check with us your preferences.

Archaeology Field School Description

In early summer of this year 2016 a new season of archaeology fieldwork will be accomplished in Bidania, Basque Country (Spain). A small team of archaeologists are digging a medieval countryside settlement. This will be our 6th year and we are eager to give foreign students and graduated researchers the chance to learn basque archaeology and, in general, to dig an example of a Early medieval church and graveyard in the North of Spain. Past seasons we identified a full sequence of, at least, 4 religious buildings – made in different materials and forming different structures- and also 3 levels of a medieval graveyard surrounding the temple (8th to 13th). Early medieval archaeology in the Cantabric basque provinces is still on its beginnings and the findings we have done in this site called San Pedroburu are really important to explain how the peopling of the territory could change (or not) in Late Antiquity and Middle Ages. In addition, we know the parish became just a shrine in 13th or 14th century, so the site can also give as information about the way settlement changed in this area in Late Middle Ages. Who are we looking for? We welcome History, Archaeology, Anthropology and even Medicine or Forensic Science students. Experience is not required but appreciated. We can speak in Basque, Spanish, English and some French. We would like to work with responsible, curious, respectful and easy-going people, as I think we are. What would you learn digging with us? If you are a student with no field experience, you will get basic procedures in an open area excavation: how to dig and how to record archaeological information. In this site you would find neither monumental remains nor rich artifacts: you will learn how to identify remains of perishable structures andartifacts (pottery, nails, buckles and other clothing stuff, coins, etc.). This sites main strength is the abundance of pottery in the oldest layers (very fragmented and quite primitive) and difficulties in identifying and individualizing layers. These features make San Pedroburu site a perfect place to train in archaeological fieldwork. This season our main goal will be digging the whole graveyard area, so we will accept Medicine students that would like to train in Anatomy or even in Forensic Science and physical/biological Anthropology. Other activities: Albaola Sea Factory is building a 16th century basque whaling ship –called ‘nao’-: an exact replica of the first transoceanic ships built in the Basque Country. The remains of the nao ‘San Juan’, sank off in Red Bay, Canada, in 1565, were found in 1978 and measured, recorded and analyzed during several years. You will be able to discover how a Modern Age ship was built, why and how basque people crossed the Ocean and, also, to see the faithful replica being constructed. Moreover, you will visit main milestones in the History of basque province of Gipuzkoa, for example, the house where St. Ignatius was born and the Jesuit basilica built around, the town where Juan Sebastian Elcano was born (the navigator who completed the first circumnavigation), and more. But there will be time to have fun. San Sebastian is a nice place to spend summer. This year this city will be the European Capital of Culture. There will be art and concerts, beaches and enjoyment. San Sebastian is also one hour away from Pamplona.

Archaeology Field School Additional Information

Archaeology Field School Type
Time Period
Early Middle Ages (starting in the 700 a.D.), Late Middle Ages, Modern Age.
Field School Setting/Conditions
Mountainside site (700m) 45 minutes far from San Sebastian. Long grass, pine trees and farms around the hill.
How is the project area accessed each day
Approaching by car and 5 minutes hiking uphill.
What is the daily schedule for the field school
Monday-Friday. Fieldwork most of the days, other activities in the afternoon.
Number of years this Archaeology Field School has been in operation
Is there a professional certification for this field school
Directors and Instructors
Iosu Etxezarraga (dir.) Master of Advanced Studies, History Dr. Xabier Alberdi PhD, Basque Maritime History. Albaola Fundation ( crew will show you how a 16th century basque whaleship was built.
Specialized skills you will have the opportunity to learn
- Basic archaeology skills - Documenting archaeology contexts - Registering artifacts - Detecting perishable architectures - Distinguishing tomb types - How to dig human remains - How to use an automatic level for measurement of height - Basic archaeological drawing (mostly structures) and photogrammetry
On rain days will there be lab work?
Will there be additional organized activities?
Will there be additional organized activities?
Is travel restriced during free time?

Other resources students will find useful

Archaeology Field School Contact Information and Website

Field School Contact Information

Iosu Etxezarraga

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