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Laboratory of Prehistory


The Laboratory of Prehistory is one of the laboratories of the Research Center for Anthropology and Health (CIAS) of the Department of Life Sciences at the University of Coimbra. Laboratory research lines focus on the study of prehistoric human skeletal remains with the aim of reconstructing the lifeways of past peoples. The interaction of these communities with their environment is explored through their demography, morphology, health patterns, and indicators of physiological stress. More recently, research has extended to using biomolecular data, such as ancient DNA and stable isotopes. This strategy has allowed access to information about their kinship relations, biological affinities, and mobility to more completely characterize human populations that lived in the Iberian Peninsula during prehistory. In this way, we seek to understand the impacts that great human transitions and movements had on demography and health patterns among other crucial aspects of past human lifeways.

The laboratory provides space for Master’s and Doctoral thesis research. Furthermore, we host researchers and students from national and international institutions that develop research in the above-mentioned scientific areas and related ones as well as promote scientific summer internships for high school students. In addition to scientific activities, laboratory members also participate in the dissemination and valorization of osteoarchaeological heritage.

Director: Ana Maria Silva (amgsilva@antrop.uc.pt)

Available equipment

  • Digital microscope
  • Lamps with magnifying glass
  • Various hand-held magnifying glasses
  • ASUDAS dental casts
  • Precision scales
  • Digital camera and tripod
  • Calipers
  • Compasses
  • Osteometric board