The Repository of Bioarchaeological Material of the Institute of Latvian History, University of Latvia holds anthropological, palaeozoological and soil science material. The palaeoanthropological material, constituting 133 collections, covers the inhabitants of Latvia during a period of nine thousand years, from the Stone Age up to the 18th century, with remains of 5600 individuals. The earliest are inhabitants of the Zvejnieki I and II habitation sites (7th–3rd millennium BC), representing the most extensive corpus of craniological and osteological material from this period. Very important for the study of changes in human morphology, physical development and palaeodemography associated with the transition to food production is the anthropological material from the completely excavated Bronze Age cemetery of Ķivutkalns. There is also extensive anthropological material permitting the study of living conditions and processes of social differentiation and urbanisation during the 1st and 2nd millennium.

The application of natural sciences methods makes it possible to trace the everyday life and mobility of the ancient people, their diet, their strategies for survival and food provision, demography, genetic make-up (kinship and origins) and their health (illnesses and injuries).

There are also 35 zooarchaeological collections and three collections of soil and charcoal samples.

Thanks to collaboration with foreign universities and participation in international projects, the anthropological and zooarchaeological material can be studied using the latest technologies: ancient DNA analysis, stable isotope analysis of chemical elements in bones and teeth, and x-ray analysis, and doctoral students of the University of Latvia have the possibility of training in laboratories abroad.
 

Contacts

Address: Kalpaka bulvāris 4, Rīga LV-1050, basement; Lielvārdes iela 24 – 314. telpa, Rīga, LV-1006

Head of the Repository: Gunita Zariņa, Dr. hist. Senior Researcher, phone: +371 67034872, email: gunitaz@latnet.lv 

Research interests: anthropology, bioarchaeology, palaeodemography, historical demography

Eduards Plankājs, Mg. hist., Research Assistant, Keeper of collections, phone: +371 22061646, email: eduards.plankajs@gmail.com 

Research interests: zooarchaeology, bioarchaeology, social archaeology.