New Blog: Mortuary Archaeology of the Râmeț Bronze Age Landscape

In my last post, I promised an update regarding my latest bioarchaeological endeavours. The twist is that the update won’t come on this blog.

As you may recall, I spent about ten days in October gallivanting about the Apuseni mountains, with local fauna and recalcitrant equipment aplenty.


In addition to teaching me about the wonders of Romanian cuisine,


that trip also represented the start of a new bioarchaeology and mortuary archaeology project. My collaborator, Dr. Colin “Creator of Inspiringly Ridiculous Acronyms” Quinn, first suggested we dub the undertaking MARBAL, or “Mortuary Archaeology of the Râmeț Bronze Age Landscape.” Colin conducted his doctoral dissertation research in Romania, and our third collaborator, Dr. Horia Ciugudean, is an expert on the Romanian Bronze Age, with years of experience excavating all over the region.

The 2016 crew

With our powers combined, we bring together a unique set of skills – including human osteology, mortuary analysis, and an understanding of regional settlement patterns – that can help us to answer questions about what life was like in this area in the ancient past. We’re particularly excited to be working here because the Apuseni Mountains house some of the richest copper and gold resources in the world, meaning that this area will help us to learn about mobility, exchange, and the emergence of inequality in Late Prehistory.

In day-today practice, however, the brevity of our research trip means that I have reverted to the level of data collection obsessiveness that so characterized my dissertation research.

If you’re interested in learning more about my research in Romania, we’ve just started a collaborative project blog at www.marbalarchaeology.wordpress.com. We’re in Alba for another week, so you can expect several updates about Romanian biaorchaeology, the museum scene in Alba Iulia, and how I feel about dealing with bags of commingled human remains on a Saturday morning (hint: it looks something like this):

FullSizeRender 5
I’ll cross-post relevant bioarchaeology or osteology posts here on Bone Broke, but for more on fieldwork in Romania, the Bronze Age, and the larger MARBAL project, make sure to follow the new blog!

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