The summerschool will take place regularly in the online mode. The deadline for registration is extended to June 10th.

IRLAB and the Division of Paleopathology have converted the “Summer School in Osteoarchaeology and Paleopathology” to an online course. The lectures will be delivered via streaming platforms such as Google Teams, which has been adopted by the University of Pisa, in order to permit students to remain safe at home while learning the basics of bioarchaeology and paleopathology disciplines.

While practical, hands-on experience working with and learning about human skeletal remains is ideal, this immersive online program will allow students to learn the same methods and techniques used by professional researchers, while remaining safe in these difficult times. In light of the circumstances, appropriate adjustments have been made to the program expectations, fees, and ECTS credits. The course will be held in a single session from June 22 to July 9, 2020. The lectures will be taken for 3 weeks for about 4 hours per day (52 hours in total) with a timetable that will be established on the basis of the time zone of the participants. The fees for the online version are 700 euros (for those who have already paid there will be a refund) and the ECTS credits are consequently reduced to 7.

Of course, some activities will not be possible, for example, the cleaning and restoration of bones, but the majority of lectures will be run using bone casts and osteoarchaeological specimens, while scientific papers, additional multimedia, and other documentation will be provided to the participants.



The Summer School in Osteoarchaeology and Paleopathology is an academic program offered by the University of Pisa aimed at training students in anthropological and paleopathological laboratory methods. It is an outstanding opportunity for students to gain practical experience in bioarchaeological investigation by working side-by-side with leading researchers in the field.


Unique session: June 22 to July 8
Application deadline: May 30


Earning of 7 undergraduate ECTS credits through the University of Pisa

The school is designed to provide all participants with an in-depth knowledge of cleaning, restoring and analyzing ancient human skeletal remains. Biological profile reconstruction is aimed at obtaining the greatest possible amount of information on the environment, lifestyle, and diseases that afflicted past populations.

The activities will be carried out at the Laboratory of Paleopathology (within the Medical School of Pisa). The Summer School will take place Monday through Friday over the course of 3 weeks, and will include some lectures (10-12 hours per week), in order to provide students with the basic knowledge of skeletal anatomy, physical anthropology and paleopathology necessary to approach osteological analyses.

Each student will have the opportunity to clean, restore and study skeletons from archaeological contexts. This will allow determining sex and age at death of the skeletons, recording entheseal changes, stress indicators, metric and non-metric traits, as well as identifying the pathologies most frequently observed in bone and teeth in order to reconstruct dietary habits, health status, patterns of subsistence and physical activity of the examined individuals.

The skeletal materials under examination include samples from Tuscan excavations dating back to the Medieval age. The activities will be completed under the supervision of Prof. Gino Fornaciari and the experienced staff of the Division of Paleopathology, directed by Prof. Valentina Giuffra.

The official language of the Summer School is English and no knowledge of Italian is required.



During the first week of the Summer School students will be trained in:

  • Procedures for preparing skeletal remains: each student will be provided with an adult skeleton to wash, restore and label;
  • Osteoarchaeology program: skeletal anatomy; bone and tooth identification; methods for sex and age determination;
  • Paleopathology program: traumatic lesions, non specific infections, metabolic diseases.


During the second week the following aspects of the anthropological and paleopathological study will be dealt with:

  • Osteoarchaeology program: metric data collection, with an emphasis on the proper technique to measure different skeletal elements; estimation of stature, indexes of proportion, robusticity, lateralization of limbs, and sexual dimorphism; identification and scoring methods for evaluating muscular attachments (ergonomy)
  • Paleopathology program: dentoalveolar diseases (dental caries, periodontal diseases, abscesses, etc.); congenital abnormalities; osteoarthritis and rheumatic diseases.


The third week will be devoted to:

  • Osteoarchaeology program: study and analysis of subadult skeletons
  • Paleopathology program: indicators of stress (enamel hypoplasia, porotic hyperostosis, etc.); leprosy; tuberculosis; treponematosis; tumors
  • Conclusion of summer school: final interpretation of the results

Warning: the calendar might be modified depending on the speed of progression of the students.


  • 7 undergraduate credits (ECTS) through the University of Pisa
  • Certificate of participation from the University of Pisa
  • Certificate of participation from IRLAB


700.00 €

Apply online at