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CODE 106583
  • 6 cfu during the 2nd year of 11265 ARCHEOLOGIE: PROFESSIONE E SAPERI (ARCHEOPES)(LM-2) - GENOVA
    LANGUAGE Italian
  • SEMESTER 1° Semester


    Insects represent the 75% of the described animals and several species are associated with human activities. 

    The study of the insects from archaeological contexts provide usefull information about human activities, human habits, space usage, funeral practices and also about the sanitary conditions of past people and cultures. 

    The module willl focus especialy on synantropic insects and on insects associated with burrials of archaeological interest providing the student  with the tools for applying this important and very informative discipline in real context. 

    The theoretical part will be supported by a strong practical one. 



    The module aim is to provide the students with the following ability and knowledge:

    1) teoretical and practical explanation of the collection, preparation and storage tecniques of insects (and other artropods) fragments from funerary contexts;

    2) decription of the ecological groups of insects associated with huma remains, offerings and contaminations

    3) interpretation of the entomological data based on arcaheological hypotheses

    4)Evalution of the humans populations based on the ectoparasites collected from the burrials.


    Upon successful completion of the module, students will be able to demonstrate a:

    1. general understanding of application of Entomology in the archaeological context
    2. general understanding of the role of insects in human and other animals’ life (food contamination, diseases transmission, etc)
    3. general understanding of the colonization process of cadaver, food and other goods, and environment and of the factors affecting the process.
    4. comprehensive understanding of the factor affecting insect development
    5. general knowledge of the systematics of the insects and of their identification
    6. systematic understanding of the contribution of insects to season of death estimation
    7. systematic understanding of the contribution of insects to post mortem transfer identification
    8. comprehensive understanding of the body and environment alterations caused by insects

    The student will be able to demonstrate the ability to:

    1. correctly sample, fix and study insects from arcaheological contexts
    2. identify the different insect developmental stages
    3. identify the species of insects involved in body colonisation
    4. identify the species of insects associated with food, human goods and urban environments
    5. recostruuct the funerary practices by mean of the insects from the context
    6. to evaluate body, object and environment alterations caused by insects



    The module consists of lectures, discussions on real cases and laboratory activities. Since activities are planned to develop data analysis skills and to apply the acquired knowledge during practical and methodological activities, attendance at lessons and lab activity is strongly recommended.

    Lectures in the classroom are delivered through multimedia presentations.


    The modul syllabus consists on the presentation and discussion of the following topics

    The death: Decomposition, mummification, adipocere formation

    Insect: General Anatomy, Biology  and Physiology

    Insect development and reproduction

    Factors affecting the insect development and their taphonomy 

    Systematics (Phylogeny and classification) and General Insect identification

    Insects of arcaheological interest

    The colonization waves 

    Factors affecting the body colonisation

    Sampling, preparation, identification

    Food pest

    Insects  from urban contexts

    Lesions and alterations caused by animal activities




    All the slides used during the lectures and other teaching material will be available on AulaWeb at the end of each cycle of lessons / laboratory activities together with other selected papers in pdf format.

    The suggested books are available together with other books for further study at the lecturer office.

    Recommended texts for any further information:

    David B. Rivers, Gregory A. Dahlem 2014. The Science of Forensic Entomology. Willey Blackwell



    Exam Board

    STEFANO VANIN (President)


    LORIS GALLI (Substitute)



    For lessons start and timetable go to the link:

    Please check also this module Aulaweb page for timetable updates dependent on the sanitary and epidemic situation.

    Class schedule

    All class schedules are posted on the EasyAcademy portal.



    The final mark is subdivided in assesments: a practical with written report and an oral assessment.

    The practical test with the written report is related to a case and will cover the lectures and practicals topics.

    Students are admitted to the oral exam if the assessment of their written exam is at least 18/30 

    The oral examination consists of the presentation of the case reported in the written report and in answering to questions on the case.

    The final mark is given by the arithmetic average between the scores of the two assesments. The oral examination can be sustained both in the same session as the practical test or in subsequent sessions published on the UNIGE website.



    Details on how to prepare for the exam and the degree of detail required for each topic will be provided at the beginning of the course and reiterated during lectures and lab activities.

    The written report  will verify the effective acquisition of the knoweldge and the the methods of investigation typical of the discipline. The student wull work on a real scenario.

    The oral examination will assess the exposition ability of the student and their capacity to defend the conclusion of the case investigation.


    Exam schedule

    Date Time Location Type Notes
    20/01/2023 09:00 GENOVA Orale
    06/02/2023 09:00 GENOVA Orale
    22/05/2023 09:00 GENOVA Orale
    05/06/2023 09:00 GENOVA Orale
    26/06/2023 09:00 GENOVA Orale
    04/09/2023 09:00 GENOVA Orale