The Centre of Research in Ostearchaeology and Paleopathology of the Department of Biotechnology and Life Sciences of the University of Insubria was created in 2016, carrying on the experience of the previous Laboratory of Physical and Molecular Anthropology. The University of Insubria has worked in agreement with the Archaeological Superintendence of Lombardy since 1997, when a partnership was started, promoted by some professors of the disciplines interested in the study of skeletal remains from excavations.
Since then, the University-Superintendence relationship has been consolidated and the need for the strengthening of the Centre as an organized structure that responds to the need for teaching and Research, has arisen. In all these years, in addition to the activity in the laboratory, the work of the Centre has also led to the participation in the excavation phases on the archaeological sites.
The Centre operates on a substantial number of bone remains from archaeological excavations of the territory, coming from medieval sites and churches, in a chronological period that goes from the 7th century to the Modern Age. The data has been collected in a digital Data Base that is regularly updated, increasing the information useful for statistical analysis relating to the demographics of the ancient populations of the region. The Research is aimed at defining the human typologies identified in the territory over the centuries, but also to know different aspects of the populations, their habits of life, nutrition, work, as well as the diseases that they suffered for. The recent activation of the course of Archeobiology has opened up a specific teaching in this sector in our University.
In the Centre and in its activities work also undergraduates and post-graduates, PhD students, scholarship holders, research fellows of the University and even scholars coming from other backgrounds. The Centre benefits from the premises, financing, technical-scientific equipments and personnel provided by the University or other public or private bodies.
The Centre was born with the aims of:
Promote research in the field of funerary archeology and osteoarchaeology in partnership
with the territorial organs of the Ministry of Cultural Heritage, Archaeological
Superintendencies, Museums and other public and private bodies that follow the same
- Research funding for projects in areas of bioarchaeological interest for the study of human
- Develop the knowledge of paleopathology and history of medicine in the investigations
conducted on the biological remains existing in museums or from excavations.
- Encourage the development of an interdisciplinary and multidisciplinary approach between
archaeological sciences and biomedical sciences in historical, anthropological and
- Deepening, transmitting and exchanging information on research topics, encouraging
comparison, spread and dissemination of knowledge.
- Contribute to the didactic activities of the University of Insubria and other universities, in
the educational offer of institutional courses, in laboratory and field placements.
- Contribute to post-graduate training for researchers, experts and professors of the disciplines
included in its aims, also with doctoral scholarships.
Promotion of the territory
The enhancement of the sites in their historical heritage always follows the archaeological recovery
and the study of biological materials. Our research activity – unearthing the remains, analysing
constructive and artistic aspects of the sites, as well as the characteristics of the populations
investigated – improves knowledge and promotes global fruition of the heritage of the cult places in
North West Lombardy.