Research policies for investigation on the 21st Century Identified Human Skeletal Collection of the Laboratory of Forensic Anthropology of the Department of Life Sciences of the University of Coimbra (Portugal)

The 21st Century Identified Skeletal Collection (CEI/XXI) is currently composed of skeletons from identified individuals whose deaths occurred since 1995. The collection is continuously being enlarged. Researchers are welcome to carry out their investigations on this collection. In order to do so, researchers must be acquainted and accept the collection policies.

Who can have access to the collection?

All researchers must be affiliated with an academic institution or a research unit and deliver a written request to the CEI/XXI curator (Professor Maria Teresa Ferreira), briefly describing the proposed research. In case of students wishing to study the collection, a letter from their supervisor must be attached to the request. The CVs of the researchers must also be attached.

Request form here (EN) (PT)

Terms of Responsibility and Liability (EN) (PT)

Responsibility letter from the supervisor (EN) (PT)


When can the collection be accessed?

During normal business hours (from 9AM to 5PM), although this may vary depending on the availability of a LFA member to be present beyond this timetable. The LFA attendance book must be filled in with your details.

What resources are available to researchers besides the collection?

The LFA is very well equipped for Forensic Anthropology analyses, including osteometric and morphognostic tools, photographic equipment and digital paraphernalia (e.g. NextEngine Desktop 3D scanner, Dexco DX3000 digital X-ray) among others. Although this equipment is available to researchers, access to it depends on their availability since they are highly requested. Therefore, researchers are advised to bring their own equipment. No equipment can be taken outside the lab.

The Library of the Department of Life Sciences is open during business days from 9AM to 7PM. The LFA has its own library dedicated to Forensic Anthropology which can be consulted in loco – no books can be taken outside the lab.

What personal data can be treated as public information?

Research related information such as biological, pathological, taphonomic and traumatic features can be used as public information. Data reporting to the identification of the individuals cannot be disclosed under any circumstance. Therefore, photos should be limited to the skeletal remains alone and not focus on any possible identifiable items such as grave plaques with the name of the deceased.

How much are the bench fees?

Access to the collection is subject to the payment of bench fees if research is scheduled to take more than five business days. For each additional business weeks (5 days per week) of research, a fee will be charged. It is required that these days be all spent in a row. The researcher cannot divide the time into several visits.


Period Fee
5 Business days Free
10 additional business days 150.00€
20 additional business days 250.00€
40 additional business days 450.00€


Additional fees may be charged for access to the following equipment: NextEngine Desktop 3D scanner; Dexco DX3000 digital X-ray; digital camera; other equipment with limited life span. Personnel from the University of Coimbra are exempt from all fees.

I have the authorization to study the collection. What now?

You may start working on the agreed date. Be very careful with the specimens to avoid any damage on invaluable material. Do not make any material restoration.

Be sure to stick to the original plan. If you wish to make any changes, please submit those changes to the curator of the LFA. Any data, photos and results can only be used by the authorized researcher(s). Otherwise, additional permission must be granted by the LFA.

Before leaving, a list of all studied individuals must be handed to the LFA as well as digital copies of the photos that were taken. A copy of the research resulting papers must be given to the library of the LFA and do not forget to acknowledge the LFA in your research-related publications and presentations (this is mandatory).