Archeobioschool Brunella Whale

Field School

Field School in Paleobiological Excavation and Restoration. "BRUNELLA":

a fossil whale in the territory of Montalcino

The Field School in Paleobiological Excavation and Restoration, which has been held at Poggio alle Mura since 2016, is a unique opportunity in Italy to learn the techniques of restoration of fossil vertebrates using the bones of the Brunella whale.

In its third edition, the Field School includes 20 hours of classroom lessons in which the following lecturers develop a series of different topics:

dr. Michelangelo BiscontiSan Diego Natural History MuseumMysticetis Anatomy and Evolution
dr. Cristiano Dal SassoCivic Museum of Natural History of MilanPaleobiological excavation techniques
dr. Giandonato TartarelliScuola Normale Superiore di PisaExcavation documentation techniques
dr. Roberta ScottonInstitute of Archaeo-anthropological StudiesPaleobiological restoration techniques
prof. Luca Maria ForesiUniversità degli Studi di SienaGeological evolution of southern Tuscany
dr. Luca RagainiUniversità di PisaEvolution of Miocene and Pliocene molluscs of the Mediterranean
dr. Stefano DominiciMuseo di Storia Naturale di FirenzeEvolution of trophic chains linked to the decomposition of Mysticeti and Museology techniques of Mysticeti
dr. Sylvia Di MarcoInstitute of Archaeo-anthropological StudiesDidactic-dissemination strategies


In addition to theoretical lessons, the Field School also includes 20 hours of workshops in which the following skills will be developed:

  • Techniques of restoration of fossil vertebrates;
  • Preparation and observation in optical microscopy of sediment preparations;
  • Study of the geological section of the Brunella discovery site;
  • Aerophotogrammetry;
  • 3D photogrammetry;
  • Documentation of the restoration.


The details of the next edition of the Field School (leaflets, registration form and participation methods) can be downloaded from the website of the Institute of Archeo-Anthropological Studies at the following link:

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Students from various Italian universities attended the previous editions. The school is in fact open to university students, PhD students and scholars interested in pursuing the techniques of excavation and paleobiological restoration. The cost of enrollment also includes board and lodging. Enrollments at reduced cost are possible for students who are not staying overnight or who do not wish to have dinner.

The Field School at Poggio alle Mura has been widely mentioned in the national press as a highly formative and at the same time fascinating experience for Italian and non-Italian students; in fact this school provides, in a highly welcoming environment, information, techniques and skills of the highest level, otherwise impossible to acquire during a single event.

The lessons and workshops are built based on a sum of decades of knowledge and studies conducted by the lecturers who, in part, also form the work team of the Brunella Project.

From these links you can download articles related to the Field School in palaeobiological excavation and restoration: