The shade of a palm tree is an unusual place for students from Utica College
to take a class, but that's where Tom Crist
summer course in osteology-the study of bones.
Standing at the head of a concrete picnic table recently, Crist
carefully lifted a cranium-a human skull-from a plastic Ziploc bag.
"So you are meeting your first Butrint individual," Crist
told the students.
"This is from burial 1250 from area 19.
You can see some of the orbital bone is broken away here.
That is post-mortem loss.
is a bones guy.
He teaches forensic anthropology at Utica College, and he right after the College graduation he brought a dozen students to do field work in Albania's Butrint National Park.
For the eleventh year in a row, his
students from Utica College
and other schools from around the country studied under that palm tree.
They're were learning how to identify bones, and the markers of disease, skills that can be applied in law enforcement or working for medical examiners.
said the course offers more than forensic technique.
"We could offer a course like this anywhere, even at home
Getting out of their comfort zones, Tom Crist
notes, is something the ancients had to do too.