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Professional Practice: Zooarchaeology or Human Osteology " - ARC00120M

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  • Department: Archaeology
  • Module co-ordinator: Dr. David Orton
  • Credit value: 20 credits
  • Credit level: M
  • Academic year of delivery: 2023-24

Module summary

In this module students will analyse a corpus of archaeological material from scratch, applying appropriate analytical methods to produce a technical report that meets professional standards in their chosen field. You will be provided with a suitable assemblage on which to work, with the necessary laboratory facilities and reference materials, and with expert guidance from the relevant staff for your pathway.

The pathways currently available are Animal Bones and Human Bones; these may change in future.

Related modules


For Animal Bones pathway - must have completed Animal bones for Archaeologists (Semester 1) and be taking Zooarchaeology in Context (Semester 2)

For Human Bones pathway - must have completed The Archaeology of the Human Skeleton (Semester 1) and be taking Skeletal Evidence for Health in the Past (Semester 2)

Module will run

Occurrence Teaching period
A Semester 2 2023-24

Module aims

This module aims:

  • To provide students with in-depth experience of analysis and recording within their chosen pathway, using a real corpus of archaeological material.
  • To train students in relevant professional norms and guidelines within their chosen pathway, particularly the expected content and format of technical reports.

Module learning outcomes

By the end of the module the students should be able to:

  • Demonstrate a comprehensive understanding of techniques applicable to their own research
  • Demonstrate a practical understanding of how established techniques of research are used to create and interpret knowledge through independent analysis of a small corpus of archaeological remains within their chosen pathway
  • Compile a critical technical report that meets relevant professional standards

Module content

This module is based on students’ independent practical work, with staff providing guidance and support rather than leading traditional classes each week. In the opening session you will be introduced to the assemblage on which you will be working, and will discuss the expected content and structure of a technical report in your field. By Week 2 you will be expected to have produced a work plan for the semester, and to have begun analysis.

Through most of the semester your primary contact with module staff will be through a weekly check-in session, at which you can discuss progress and get support with any particular challenges that emerge. A data analysis and visualisation workshop in Week 7 will provide some additional guidance on production of tables, figures, and statistical analyses for your report – as well as a chance to discuss these aspects with staff and fellow students.


Task Length % of module mark
Technical report and data
N/A 100

Special assessment rules



Task Length % of module mark
Technical report and data
N/A 100

Module feedback

Formative: oral feedback from module leaders

Summative: written feedback within the University's turnaround policy

Indicative reading

Baker, P. & F. Worley, 2019. Animal Bones and Archaeology - Recovery to Archive. Swindon: Historic England.

Buikstra, J.E. and Ubelaker D.H. (eds) 1994. Standards for Data Collection from Human Skeletal Remains (Fayetteville)

Mitchell, P.D. and Brickley, M. eds., 2017. Updated Guidelines to the Standards for Recording Human Remains (Chartered Institute for Archaeologists)

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.