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DRPS : Course Catalogue : School of History, Classics and Archaeology : Archaeology

Undergraduate Course: Villains, Victims and Forensic Evidence: An introduction to Forensic Anthropology theory and practice (ARCA10089)

Course Outline
SchoolSchool of History, Classics and Archaeology CollegeCollege of Humanities and Social Science
Credit level (Normal year taken)SCQF Level 10 (Year 3 Undergraduate) AvailabilityAvailable to all students
SCQF Credits20 ECTS Credits10
SummaryThis course will provide an insight into the history of the discipline of forensic anthropology and current methods and practice. While proficiency in forensic methods will not be the focus of this course, general identification techniques and examination methods as well as their value in the court of law will be addressed.
Course description Forensic anthropology involves using a variety of methods and theories about human biology to answer medical and legal questions. Forensic anthropologists collaborate closely with police officers, lawyers, doctors, medical examiners, and archaeologists amongst others to analyse heavily decomposed and often skeletonised remains and assist in police investigations. Whether recovered from crime scenes, war graves, or mass disasters, human remains can provide such information as age, sex, stature, ancestry, current and previous health problems and lifestyle, all of which can assist in the personal identification of that individual, and provide an insight into the circumstances surrounding their death. The course intents to give an overview of forensic methods that can be applied in a variety of forensic and archaeological contexts.
Entry Requirements (not applicable to Visiting Students)
Pre-requisites It is RECOMMENDED that students have passed The Human Skeleton in Archaeology and Forensic Science: Investigating Death and the Dead (ARCA08014)
Prohibited Combinations Other requirements "The Human Skeleton in Archaeology and Forensic Science: Investigating Death and the Dead" (ARCA08014) is highly recommended. Students who have not taken this course, but who have a relevant background or they think they can strongly engage in the course they are encouraged to contact the course organiser to discuss their personal circumstances before they apply.
Information for Visiting Students
Pre-requisitesSome previous knowledge on skeletal anatomy and/or forensic sciences. Students will be encouraged to contact the course organiser to discuss their personal circumstances before they apply.
High Demand Course? Yes
Course Delivery Information
Academic year 2017/18, Available to all students (SV1) Quota:  15
Course Start Semester 2
Timetable Timetable
Learning and Teaching activities (Further Info) Total Hours: 200 ( Lecture Hours 20, Supervised Practical/Workshop/Studio Hours 12, External Visit Hours 4, Programme Level Learning and Teaching Hours 4, Directed Learning and Independent Learning Hours 160 )
Additional Information (Learning and Teaching) External visit: Audit autopsy cases at the Edinburgh morgue (optional).
Assessment (Further Info) Written Exam 0 %, Coursework 90 %, Practical Exam 10 %
Additional Information (Assessment) Simulation 1: Disaster Victim Identification scenario with antemortem and postmortem forms to be filled and reconciliation to be done (5% of total mark for active participation)
Simulation 2: Court simulation with two opponents and two forensic anthropologist as expert witnesses (5% of total mark for active participation)
A poster presentation (40% of the final mark)
A critique of a journal article (50% of the final mark)
Feedback Students will receive written feedback on their coursework, and will have the opportunity to discuss that feedback further with the Course Organiser during their published office hours for this course or by appointment, including via email or Skype conversations.
No Exam Information
Learning Outcomes
On completion of this course, the student will be able to:
  1. show familiarity with the basic concepts and terminology which underpin the subject of Forensic Anthropology and Archaeology;
  2. show appreciation of the importance of the recovery of primary data and new information through practical experience in the field;
  3. show critical awareness of methodologies for quantifying, analysing and interpreting primary data;
  4. show understanding of the concepts and application of scientific methods used in collecting, analysing and interpreting archaeological data/forensic evidence;
  5. show appreciation of the fragile and nature of human remains and the need for sustainable approaches to its recovery and handling.
Reading List
White TD, Black M, Folkens PA The Human Bone Manual Academic Press 3rd edition 2011

Iscan MY, Steyn M. (eds) The Human Skeleton in Forensic Medicine. 3rd ed. Springfield, IL: Charles C. Thomas; 2013

Christensen AM, Passalacqua NV, Bartelink EJ. Forensic Anthropology: Current Methods and Practice Academic Press; 2014

Reichs KJ. Forensic Osteology: Advances in the Identification of Human Remains, 2nd edn Charles C. Thomas, Springfield, IL; 1998:321-332

Kimmerle E.h. and Baraybar J.P. 2008. Skeletal Trauma: Identification of Injuries Resulting from Human Rights Abuse and Armed Conflict. Boca Raton, CRC Press.

Spitz W.U., Spitz D.J., Clark R., & Fisher R.S. 2006. Spitz and Fisher's Medicolegal Investigation Of Death: Guidelines For The Application Of Pathology To Crime Investigation, Springfield, Illinois.

Di Maio, V.J.M., 2001 Forensic Pathology, Second Edition. Boca Raton, CRC Press.

Dirkmaat D. (ed.) 2012. A Companion to Forensic Anthropology, Oxford, Wiley-Blackwell Ltd.

Grivas G, Christopher R. and Komar D.A, 2008. "Kumho, Daubert, and the Nature of Scientific Inquiry: Implications for Forensic Anthropology." Journal of Forensic Sciences. 53(4), pp. 771- 6

Black S, Sunderland G, Hackman L and Mallett X Disaster Victim Identification: Experience and Practice CRC Press (2011)

Brickley MB, Ferllini R. Forensic Anthropology: Case Studies From Europe. Charles C Thomas Publisher (2001)

Hagland, W. D. & Sorg, M. H. 1997. Forensic Taphonomy: the Postmortem Fate of Human Remains. Boca Raton. CRC Press.
Additional Information
Graduate Attributes and Skills - Gaining experience and enhanced ability to make a critical review of discussions, articles.
- Improving ability to conduct independent research using largely electronic sources, and investigate additional online sources.
- Gaining the ability to communicate scientific information through comprehensive writing.
- Developing the ability to identify, define and contextualize forensic problems.
- Developing the skills to examine and evaluate existing methodologies and applications in the field of forensic anthropology and other related disciplines.
KeywordsNot entered
Course organiserDr Elena Kranioti
Tel: (0131 6)50 2368
Course secretaryMs Amanda Campbell
Tel: (0131 6)50 2501
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