Research program and projects

Overall Research Program

The Institute for Anthropological Research was founded in 1992, but holistic anthropological research of the Eastern Adriatic had already been underway since the 1970’s.  The populations of the Eastern Adriatic hold a very important place in the overall research program of the Institute,  aimed at studying the complex population structure of Croatia and understanding its biological and cultural diversity.

The overall research is based on the belief that human evolution can be understood only through the simultaneous study of biological and sociocultural phenomena. The study of population structure in anthropology is directed at analyses of the complexity of interactions between Baker’s three components of the “eternal triangle” (heredity, environment and culture). Such analyses require an interdisciplinary, holistic approach and a large scale of diverse data: sociocultural (data on historical events, migrations, inter-mixing of populations, population size, mode of family and community life, and cultural customs), linguistic (language contact and differentiation, vitality and identity), archeological, anthropogenetic (HLA diversity, DNA short tandem repeat (STR), mitochondrial DNA and Y-chromosome polymorphisms), biological (anthropometric, physiological, dermatoglyphic traits, metacarpal bone dimensions) and biomedical (diet, state of health). Thus, the research program consists of a series of specific projects dedicated to the in-depth study of different characteristics of the Eastern Adriatic populations.

Anthropological Research of the Population Structure of Croatia – Program director: Pavao Rudan

The scientific research program has been funded by the following grants of the Croatian Ministry of Science, Education and Sports:

*   1991-1996 (grant no.3-01-133)

*   1996-2002 (grant no. 019601)

*   2002-2006 (grant no. 01960)

*   2007-2011 (grant no. 196-1962766)

Additional funding:

   *   1995-1998  Biological and cultural microdifferentiation among rural populations (Middle Dalmatia, Croatia) (JFP 259, Smithsonian  Institution, Washington, D.C., USA). Co-principal investigator: Pavao Rudan

   *   1998-1999 Islands in transition: Anthropological analysis (ICSU-UNESCO 98-CRO-305). Principal investigator: Pavao Rudan

   *   2006 – 2008 Genetics of Metabolic Syndrome in an Island Population (NIH-National Institutes of Health USA– no. NIH-R01-DK069845). Co-principal investigator: Pavao Rudan


Sociocultural and linguistic research

In the framework of the study of population structure, research of various socio-cultural factors that exert influence upon its dynamic formation in time and space, as well as of the consequences of past and contemporary acculturation processes between different cultural groups, is essential. This strand of research is therefore focused on: 1) changes in socio-cultural systems of the past and the key role of migration processes in these changes, 2) the study of linguistic traits as indicators of cultural microevolution and the scope of regional and structural variation in socio-cultural and linguistic dynamics, 3) current linguistic and cultural changes and influences, and 4) contemporary acculturation and identification processes.

Projects conducted in the Eastern Adriatic:

Population structure of Croatia – sociocultural approach. Principal investigator: Anita Sujoldžić

*         1996-2002 (grant no. 01960102)

*         2002-2006 (grant no. 0196002)

Contemporary Transformations of Local Linguistic Communities and Cultural Diversity. Principal investigator: Anita Sujoldžić

2007-2011 (grant no. 196-1962766-2743)

Anthropogenetic research

Archeological research

Biomedical research

Research Area

The long-term focus on the Eastern Adriatic has resulted in a list of over 80 settlements where holistic anthropological research was conducted, located on several Croatian islands, on the peninsulas of Istria and Pelješac, in the coastal area around the town of Makarska and in the Italian province of Molise (see list below).