Overseas archaeological dig inspires forensic biology student
21 October 2016
Second-year Forensic Biology in Biomedical Science student, Felicity Hall, has recently returned from Romania on month-long archaeology dig.
She spent July studying in a field school located in the town of Odorheiu Secuiesc in the historically Hungarian region of Transylvania.
Under the tutelage of the American directors of the field school, Felicity participated in the osteological research of medieval juvenile remains.
“[It involves] laying out and studying the bones of a burial site, taking measurements and assessing growth stages using teeth, epiphyses of bones, and so on,” she said.
“Teens can sometimes have a sex estimate and stature estimate as well that can be documented.”
While she finds it difficult to single out a highlight, she says the last skeleton she was given was particularly interesting and deserved extra attention.
“My American lab partner and I got a late adolescent boy who was very tall - 5’11, or 182cm - and seemed to be very strong,” she said.
“We estimated what stage of puberty he was in as well as the age, stature and sex estimation.”
She also enjoyed giving a presentation in Odorheiu’s museum that was well attended by curious townspeople.
“They seemed really excited, it was great!”
An aspiring bioarchaeologist or forensic anthropologist, Felicity believes the experience of working with real human remains in Romania has equipped her with valuable skills for the remainder of her undergraduate studies.
“I’ll be doing Investigation of Human Remains next semester so I’m hoping to have an advantage with that,” she said.
She also intends to complete a Masters of Forensic Anthropology at the University of Dundee in Scotland once she is finished at UTS.
“I’m hoping my experience in Romania will help with my application.”
Felicity advises forensics students to “network like crazy” to find opportunities like her recent experience in Romania.
“Definitely always aim to go above and beyond what is required of you and you’ll go far,” she said.
“Passion is everything!”