The science of physical anthropology can be recognized as having begun in 1859 by Pierre Paul Broca with the organization of the first Anthropological Society in Paris. The activity of Broca had primary influence in spreading anthropology to other European countries. In Romania, in the region of Transilvania, which was part of the Austro-Hungarian empire,

lived the first important scientist in anthropology, Aurel Török.1 In 1867 Török was promoted as Professor at the Department of Physiology, Histology, Biophysics and Forensic Medicine at the Faculty of Medical-Surgery in Cluj Napoca. In 1872, by establishing the Ferencz József University in Cluj Napoca, he became University Professor in Histology and Pathology. At this time he had contact with the world of physical anthropology. In 1878 Török took part in the Paris World Expo and there he met Paul Broca for the first

time. In 1880 Török started a collaboration with the Institute where Broca was based and he participated in the 5th World Anthropological Society in Budapest, Hungary. During the First World War anthropological studies were neglected and only began to attract

more attention just after 1930. In 19202 Transilvania was annexed to Romania and the anthropological activity was carried out in three centres, namely Bucharest (led by F.R. Rainer), Cluj Napoca (led by V. Papilian) and Ias¸i (led by I. Botez and later O. Necras¸ov). In 1926 the School of Anthropology was founded in Bucharest. The founder of the institute

was Francisc I. Rainer, who undertook studies in embryology and histology. Rainer started collecting skulls from different periods and regions, and this material was the basis of the Museum and Institute of Anthropology in Bucharest. The collection has now 6300 skulls and approximately 3000 of these have been entirely catalogued (age, sex, pathological observations). In 1940 the Institute of Anthropology ‘Francisc I. Rainer’ was established within the Faculty of Medicine at the Romanian Academy. In 1930 the Anthropology and Palaeoanthropology Department within the Faculty of Sci-

ence was founded in Ias¸i by I.C. Botez, who had studied physical anthropology in Berlin. Unfortunately after 1938 the department was dissolved but Botez’s student, Olga Necras¸ov, who came from a German anthropological tradition, moved to Bucharest where she lectured voluntarily on anthropology at the Centre of Anthropological Studies (Centrul de Studii

Antropologice). In 1933, the Anthropological Society in Cluj-Napoca was founded by V. Papilian3

and C. Velluda, with the assistance of E. Racovit¸a˘.4