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Migration and Health in the Kingdom of the Gepids (Transylvania)

Project Directors: Dr. Mihai Rotea (Transylvanian National History Museum); Kori Lea Filipek-Ogden (Durham University)


Project Assistants: Kayla Crowder (2014-2015) and Jordan Snyder (2013)


Project Intern: Doris Paredes (2013)


Location: Cluj-Napoca, Romania


Duration: 2012-2015


Project Volunteers: 

Veronica Barcutean (2013)

Heather Beals (2013)

Megan Bereza (2013, 2014)

Lucas Choate (2013)

Joshua Clementz (2013)

Kayla Crowder (2013)

Cassandra DiMarzio (2013)

Gabriel Gold-Vukson (2013)

Ashley Harris (2013)

Wendy Lebs (2013)

Valerie Lima (2013)

Lydia Lingerfelt (2013)

Michael Mireles (2013)

Alex Negron-Garcia (2013

Alison Nicholson (2013)

Megan Oliverson (2013, 2014)

Jordyn Parker (2013)

Camilla Rockefeller (2013)

Charlye Touchette (2013) 

Lauren Veach (2013)

Annika Ventovouri (2013, 2014)

Randall Delgado (2014)

Sarah Dresser (2014)

Valerie Guay (2014)

Laura Hull (2014)

Michael Orizaga (2014)

Catherine Roberts (2014)

Caitlin Strachan (2014)



A huge THANK YOU to all of our amazing students and volunteers. WE MISS YOU!

Project Description


Skeletal remains within cemeteries and individual burials have proven to be an invaluable source of information in archaeological endeavors.  The wealth of knowledge obtained from burial assemblages provides insights into culture; migratory patterns; contact and trade; social complexities and population dynamics; familial relationships, and ancestral health.  Archaeology attempts to reconstruct the particulars of past populations through their material remains and, complementary to it, bioarchaeological studies comprise a deeper understanding of past populations through skeletal remains and integrates this understanding with adaptive changes to environment and culture. 


The main theme of this ongoing project will be to use these approaches to produce a working body of knowledge about the Gepid populations in Transylvania (4th - 6th centuries AD). This period in history represents a poorly understood socially and politically dynamic exchange of power structure in the Balkans: namely Barbarian Invasions, the advent of the Huns, the collapse of the Western Roman Empire, the Plague of Justinian, and the ushering of the Middle Ages.




Project Research Products

* Kori Filipek-Ogden is currently prepping a monograph of the skeletal analyses with the Transylvanian National History Museum for publication in 2015


* Kayla Crowder is currently undertaking carbon and nitrogen incremental dentine analysis to view physiological links with metabolic disease during the life course of non-adults, as well as working with Kori using dentine and enamel samples to view strontium and oxygen isotope ratios to help establish biosphere data for Transylvania. Results from these studies will be published in peer-reviewed academic journals.


* Annika Ventovouri is compiling a differential diagnosis on an individual from the population who displays unusual skeletal pathologies. Miss Ventovouri is writing this report for her undergraduate dissertation at Bournemouth University, supervised by Dr. Nivien Speith. After completion, Annika's work will be included in the published monograph.


* Megan Oliverson is a student at Utah State University who is writing a dental pathology report on the individuals from the cemetery. An edited version of Miss Oliverson's report will be included in the published monograph.


* Megan Bereza is a recent graduate of the University of Calgary who compiled a report on the taphonomic factors of the human skeletal remains, including excavation damage and suggestions for future curation. An edited version of Miss Bereza's report will be included in the published monograph.


* Jordan Snyder served as a former project assistant to Kori and used data generated from the first year of the project to produce her MSc dissertation for the University of Sheffield. Some of the data from her work will be used in the published monograph.


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