Field-school in Paleoanthropology and Paleolithic Archaeology

Location

Cave exteriorŠalitrena pećina is a cave in Western Serbia near the village of Mionica, at the northeast tip of a Dinaric mountain range. On the banks of the river Ribnica, a tributary of the Sava river basin, the cave is located at 277 m above sea level. First excavated on a small scale in mid 1980s the cave has been subject to large scale excavations since 2004 under the direction of Bojana Mihailovic, Senior Curator of the Paleolithic and Mesolithic at the National Museum in Belgrade.  The excavations over 30m2 of the area of the cave unearthed several  layers of Upper Paleolithic characterized by Gravettian and Aurignacian techno complexes and have reached Mousterian layers in some parts of the cave. So far, the cave has produced more than 7000 flint artifacts, numerous animal bones, and several combustion structures.

Cave interiorThis field school for upper level undergraduate and graduate students with previous experience in archaeology and/or human osteology will allow students to get their field experience in a unique and very important project, learn best excavation and documentation practices, participate in the study of paleontological and archaeological material and potentially become long-term members of the team.

The excavations follow the most up to date standards of Paleolithic excavations: in a unit of 0.25 x 0.25m, excavations will follow natural layers subdivided in no more than 5 cm artificial layers with recording in situ of all artifacts, animal bones, samples, colour changes and ecofacts larger than 3 cm. Each student will be responsible for excavation, documentation and basic processing of all recovered artifacts, animal and human bones as well as all the samples taken during the excavation in her/his particular area. Up to three students will be supervised by an experienced team member (ETM) and all will be supervised by the Senior Curator responsible for the project and the Professors (PIs). The ETMs will be responsible for providing immediate directions, instruction in excavation techniques, and discussions of possible significance of the finds. PI will be responsible for the general direction of the excavation and analyses. Work will be organized in morning sessions for excavations and evening sessions for processing of the material, documentation and lectures.