Anthropology Lab

Laboratory for bioarchaeological studies of human remains

  • English

The Anthropology Lab of Eurac Research is dedicated to the bioarchaeological study of skeletal and mummified human remains dating to various historical periods from archaeological sites or stored in museum contexts. In particular, we study the life and health history of people in the past, through the scientific analysis of skeletal human remains. The anthropological data collection includes sex, age at death estimation, bone measurements and paleopathological analysis to help reconstructing the “biological profiles” of the ancient individuals. In the Anthropology Lab we extract the organic part (collagen) of the bones to analyze the stable isotopes aiming to gain knowledge on the dietary habits and the human adaptation to the environment and to support the investigations on the mobility in the past. In this laboratory we perform anthropological analyses through the investigation of computer tomography (CT) images of the mummies. This allows a non-destructive inspection (virtual autopsy) of the internal parts of the human bodies, such as bones and inner organs, and it additionally provides insights into the embalming techniques.

© Daniele Fiorentino | Noi Techpark/Eurac Research/

Analyses and Methods

  • Physical Anthropology/Paleopathology: anthropological expertise during the archaeological excavations and in situ recovery (e.g. museum, storehouse) of human remains. Sampling of biological remains to be subjected to different scientific analyses (e.g., genetics, radiocarbon dating). Cleaning, restoration and evaluation of the state of preservation and completeness of the osteological and mummified remains and calculation of the minimum number of individuals. Reconstruction of the biological and paleopathological profiles and analysis of the occupational stress indicators.
  • Stable isotope analyses: bone collagen extraction from organic materials, stable isotopes (Carbon, Nitrogen and Sulphur) and data analyses.
  • Palaeoradiology: application of anthropological and paleopathological methods to the study of mummies through Computerized Tomography (CT) images and specialized post-processing software.