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The Archaeology of Human Bones - ARC00033M

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  • Department: Archaeology
  • Module co-ordinator: Ms. Malin Holst
  • Credit value: 20 credits
  • Credit level: M
  • Academic year of delivery: 2020-21

Module summary

The scientific study of human remains provides the best insight into the lives of our ancestors. This course introduces the current theories, practice and debates in human osteology, including ethics, demography, ageing and sexing techniques, concepts of health, disease, trauma and mortuary practices. The module examines up-to-date examples from the rich archaeological record that exists in Britain to see what can be learnt about past populations by studying human skeletal assemblages and their associated contexts.

Module will run

Occurrence Teaching cycle
A Autumn Term 2020-21

Module aims

  • To provide students with  a good understanding of how we study archaeological human remains

  • To provide students with an overview of the latest methodologies and ideas applied to osteoarchaeological, demographic and funerary analysis

  • To allow students to place osteological data into its wider archaeological context

Module learning outcomes

Upon successful completion of the course, students should:

  • be able to critically evaluate different metric and morphological techniques that osteoarchaeologists use to study human skeletal remains

  • be familiar with ethical and cultural considerations surrounding human remains

  • have a clear understanding of the level of detail and confidence with which human remains can be investigated and interpreted

  • be familiar with the reporting of human skeletal remains

  • enhance their skills in oral presentations, discussion and debate

  • enhance their skills in producing presentations and essay writing

Module content

Through a series of lectures and seminars you will explore current theories, practice and debates in osteology, palaeopathology and funerary archaeology, including ethics, demography, ageing and sexing techniques, concepts of health, disease, trauma and mortuary practices. We will draw on recent examples from the rich archaeological record that exists in Britain to see what can be learnt about past populations by studying human skeletal assemblages and their associated contexts.

Assessment

Task Length % of module mark
Essay/coursework
Essay
N/A 100

Special assessment rules

None

Reassessment

Task Length % of module mark
Essay/coursework
Essay
N/A 100

Module feedback

Feedback will be available within 6 weeks

Indicative reading

Cox, M. and Mays, S. 2000 Human Osteology in Archaeology and Forensic Science (London)

Mays, S. 2010.  The Archaeology of Human Bones (London)

Roberts, C.A. 2009. Human Remains in Archaeology: a Handbook (York)



The information on this page is indicative of the module that is currently on offer. The University is constantly exploring ways to enhance and improve its degree programmes and therefore reserves the right to make variations to the content and method of delivery of modules, and to discontinue modules, if such action is reasonably considered to be necessary by the University. Where appropriate, the University will notify and consult with affected students in advance about any changes that are required in line with the University's policy on the Approval of Modifications to Existing Taught Programmes of Study.

Coronavirus (COVID-19): changes to courses

The 2020/21 academic year will start in September. We aim to deliver as much face-to-face teaching as we can, supported by high quality online alternatives where we must.

Find details of the measures we're planning to protect our community.

Course changes for new students