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DRPS : Course Catalogue : School of History, Classics and Archaeology : Postgraduate (History, Classics and Archaeology)

Postgraduate Course: Practical Osteology (PGHC11232)

Course Outline
SchoolSchool of History, Classics and Archaeology CollegeCollege of Humanities and Social Science
Credit level (Normal year taken)SCQF Level 11 (Postgraduate) AvailabilityAvailable to all students
SCQF Credits20 ECTS Credits10
SummaryWhile success in the field of osteoarchaeology requires a sound knowledge of anatomy, osteoarchaeological analytical methodology and the application of theoretical archaeological interpretation, there is no substitute for extensive hands-on laboratory-based experience. This course will consist of weekly, supervised practical classes, and will also provide for self-directed practical sessions, working with the substantial collection of human remains held within Archaeology. Regular assignments will give opportunities to apply the various analytical methods taught in the other courses of the programme and ensure that the various key concepts have been understood.
Course description The Practical Osteology course consists of weekly lab-based sessions that are co-ordinated with the Analytical Methods in Osteology course. All of the methods that form the basis of discipline are covered. The sessions require students to undertake tasks relating to the skeletal analysis of selected bones or full skeletons, starting with some rudimentary identification of bones and progressing through to more complex analysis, such as sexing, assessing age at death in both juveniles and adults, metrical analysis, dealing with cremated remains and full skeletal analysis. Coursework takes the form of the analysis and skeletal report on the remains of one of the individuals from the medieval archaeological assemblages held by the School of History, Classics and Archaeology.
Entry Requirements (not applicable to Visiting Students)
Pre-requisites Co-requisites
Prohibited Combinations Other requirements All students taking this course must attend the Health & Safety Awareness training session at the start of the semester. If this course is not on your Degree Programme Table you must seek the permission of the course organiser before being enrolled in this course.
Information for Visiting Students
High Demand Course? Yes
Course Delivery Information
Academic year 2016/17, Available to all students (SV1) Quota:  None
Course Start Semester 1
Timetable Timetable
Learning and Teaching activities (Further Info) Total Hours: 200 ( Lecture Hours 20, Programme Level Learning and Teaching Hours 4, Directed Learning and Independent Learning Hours 176 )
Assessment (Further Info) Written Exam 0 %, Coursework 100 %, Practical Exam 0 %
Additional Information (Assessment) The course is assessed by means of an osteological examination and report on an articulated skeleton. The student will be expected to provide a basic skeletal report, including a description of the remains, a skeletal inventory, assessments of sex, age at death and stature and details of measurements taken.
There is no word limit for the skeletal report.
Feedback Not entered
No Exam Information
Learning Outcomes
On completion of this course, the student will be able to:
  1. Demonstrate by the production of a skeletal report a detailed and critical command of the body of knowledge concerning the methods of assessments of age, sex and stature
  2. Demonstrate in a skeletal report an ability to analyse and reflect critically upon relevant scholarship concerning human skeletal analysis, primary source materials relating to the degree o accuracy and relevance of human skeletal analysis
  3. Demonstrate in a skeletal report originality and independence of mind and initiative; intellectual integrity and maturity; an ability to evaluate the work of others, including peers; and a considerable degree of autonomy
Reading List
Practical sessions rely extensively on the following publications:

Brickley, M. & McKinley, J. 2004. Guidelines to the Standards for Recording Human Remains. BABAO & IFA. (Available electronically on:

Buikstra, J.E. & Ubelaker. D.H. 1994. Standards for Data Collection from Human Skeletal Remains: Proceedings of a Seminar at the Museum of Natural History, Organized by Jonathon Haas. Arkansas Archaeological Survey Research Series No. 44. Fayetteville, Arkansas

Schaefer, M., Black, S. & Scheuer, L. 2009. Juvenile Osteology: A Laboratory and Field Manual. Elsevier Academic Press

Van Beek, G.C. 1983. Dental Morphology: an illustrated Guide. Wright Elsevier
Additional Information
Graduate Attributes and Skills Not entered
KeywordsPracOsteo Practical Osteology
Course organiserDr Kathleen Mcsweeney
Tel: (0131 6)50 2373
Course secretaryMr Gordon Littlejohn
Tel: (0131 6)50 3782
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