Maggie Haran '23 Completes Excavation With Bioarcheology at Sanisera Necropolis

Michelle H. Daino
Maggie Haran '23 attended a bioarcheology program at the Sanisera Necropolis where she excavated a Roman basilica and necropolis. She is the granddaughter of Mary Patricia Carroll (Eddy) '55.

“I decided to take a class at an archeology field school my junior year of high school because I love classical literature and history, and I wanted to see if archeology was a field I was interested in pursuing. I chose the Sanisera Archeology Institute because of its location in Spain and its history as a part of the Roman empire,” she said.

“I’ve been studying Spanish my whole life and I thought that studying in Spain would help me deepen my knowledge of the language and experience the culture fully,” added Maggie. “I also love all aspects of ancient history: literature, culture, architecture, religion, government, and more. I plan on majoring in classical history when I go to college next year and after gaining hands-on experience in the field, I know for sure that it is what I want to study.”

Maggie did not let her concern of being the youngest student in the course deter her. Studying among college students, graduates, and master’s students, Maggie gained confidence in her own abilities and didn’t allow herself to fall behind – even if it meant working twice as hard as her classmates.

“Though it was challenging at times, I feel that my experience at field school was incredibly informative and productive,” she said.

“The work itself was very labor-intensive and tiring, but it was worth it when you discovered a new artifact. A lot of the things we found would seem insignificant to most people, but it was an incredible experience to hold a broken piece of pottery and know that you were the first person to hold or touch it in almost 2,000 years. I had a great time, and my love of history has only grown. Everything about the work I did was fascinating, and I can’t wait to expand my knowledge in college,” shared Maggie.

“Every day I woke up at 5:30 am to get to the dig site—the ruins of a Roman basilica along the eastern coast of Menorca—at around 7:00 am. The early start was a bit brutal at times, but seeing the sun rise over the Mediterranean Sea every morning made it worth it,” she explained. “I spent two weeks working at the site; during the first I dug in an outer room of the basilica, and the second week I excavated a grave in the center of the ruins. In the first week, we mostly found shards of pottery, glass, and animal bones. Some notable artifacts found in the first sector I worked in were a very small brass coin from approximately the 3rd or 4th century BC and a brass belt buckle from the 6th or 7th century AD.”

During the second week, she excavated a grave at the necropolis. There, she and her partner found a subadult skeleton on the second day of work.

“I discovered two small glass beads in the grave and it is likely that they were a part of the necklace the child was buried in. Every day after digging, we returned to the institute to do lab work. We learned how to classify pottery, identify bones, and date them, and record stratigraphic regions” she said. “I loved every second of my experience and I’m excited to do more work in the field in the future.”

Maggie is a member of the National Honors Society, National Spanish Honors Society, National English Honors Society, and National Art Honors Society (President). At Mount Saint Mary Academy, she is also Vice President of the Future Medical Professionals Club. She has volunteered at the Mount’s Summer Academy, and she painted the Junior Ring Mass banner. Maggie has created set design and worked on set up for the school musical. She is also a member of the Book Club and Women’s Empowerment Club.

Outside of the Mount, she volunteers at Homeless Solutions in Morristown, as a volunteer transcriber for the Smithsonian, as an academic English tutor, and she has been a ski racer at Elk Mountain in Pennsylvania for the past 12 years.
© Mount Saint Mary Academy