Excavating ancient graves on Menorca: public lecture

Published 29 March 2011

morgan-dwyerIt’s a big week for Morgan Dwyer. The day before her graduation from the University of New England on Saturday 2 April she’ll present a public lecture about her archaeological adventure on the Spanish island of Menorca.

Travelling to Menorca (one of the Balearic Islands) last year as the inaugural recipient of UNE’s Caswell and Mulligan International Travel Bursary, Morgan took part in the excavation of graves at the site of the Roman port city of Sanisera.

Although Menorca is a popular tourist destination, the site of Sanisera has remained relatively undisturbed over the centuries. Excavations conducted by the Sanisera Archaeological Field School are yielding vast amounts of information about the site’s inhabitants: the prehistoric Taliotic people, the Romans, the Arabs, and later the British.

Morgan (pictured here examining a child’s skull from Sanisera’s necropolis) will talk about her experiences in excavating graves at the site of the necropolis, and in cleaning, preserving and classifying skeletal remains. She will also discuss the general history of the Balearic Islands, which lie at the heart of the Mediterranean.

Her talk will be in Lecture Theatre 1 (Room 133) in UNE’s Education Building at 6.30 pm on Friday 1 April. Refreshments will be available at 6 pm outside the lecture theatre.

The Romans first arrived on Menorca in 123 BC, and the island remained part of the Roman Empire for the following 600 years. Sanisera, one of three Roman cities on Menorca, was built around the port of Sanitja at the north of the island, and the city prospered from the commerce provided by boats sailing from Spain to Italy and from France to Africa.

The annual Caswell and Mulligan International Travel Bursary (worth $2,500) was established by Dr Gabrielle Caswell (a UNE graduate and current student) and Stefan Mulligan in 2010. The bursary is to support the travel of a UNE undergraduate student of ancient history to an archaeological site overseas, or for an internship at an international museum. On Saturday 2 April Morgan Dwyer will graduate with a Bachelor of Arts degree, majoring in Ancient History.