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

Postgraduate Course: Bioarchaeological Interpretation (PGHC11233)

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
SummaryData analysis and interpretation form an important component of this course which will focus on the recording of osteological information, as well as the wider interpretation of data obtained from the application of various analytical methods. Population-wide considerations such as, demography, activity patterns, evidence for warfare, indications for biomechanical adaptation, evidence for familial/genetic traits, etc, will be considered. The course assumes a basic knowledge of statistical methods.
Course description The course aims to introduce students to the interpretations of skeletal data on a population level. Following an initial lecture on summarising skeletal data in general, the remainder of the course focuses on a different topic each week. These are: the bioarchaeology of women, children, growth and stature, diet, activity related changes, trauma, violence and warfare, burial rites, and population health. The sessions focus on discussions of key publications relating to each topic. Groups of students prepare a PowerPoint presentation and decide on areas for discussion with the class as a whole. The course is almost entirely student lead. Coursework consists of an extended critique (3,000 to 4,000 words) of one of the key papers from one of the discussion sessions. Besides critiquing the chosen paper, students are required to demonstrate a broad understanding of the topic.
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 2017/18, Available to all students (SV1) Quota:  None
Course Start Semester 2
Timetable Timetable
Learning and Teaching activities (Further Info) Total Hours: 200 ( Lecture Hours 22, Programme Level Learning and Teaching Hours 4, Directed Learning and Independent Learning Hours 174 )
Assessment (Further Info) Written Exam 0 %, Coursework 100 %, Practical Exam 0 %
Additional Information (Assessment) Coursework equivalent to a 4000 word essay
Coursework consists of an extended critique of one of the key papers from one of the discussion sessions. Besides critiquing the chosen paper, students are required to demonstrate a broad understanding of the topic.
Feedback Not entered
No Exam Information
Learning Outcomes
On completion of this course, the student will be able to:
  1. Demonstrate in an extended critique of an academic paper a detailed and critical command of the body of knowledge concerning the interpretation of bioarchaeological data relevant to the chosen topic
  2. Demonstrate in an extended critique of an academic paper an ability to analyse and reflect critically upon relevant scholarship concerning the interpretation of bioarchaeological data, primary source materials concerning [Italian accounts of overseas travel and foreign accounts of Italy], and conceptual discussions about the chosen topic
  3. Demonstrate the ability to develop and sustain original scholarly arguments in oral and written form in seminar discussions and presentations by independently formulating appropriate questions and utilising relevant evidence considered in the course
  4. Demonstrate[in seminar discussions and presentations 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
Agarwal, S.C. and Glencross, B.A. 2011. Social Bioarchaeology. Wiley-Blackwell

Cox, M. & Mays, S. (eds.). 2000. Human Osteology in Archaeology and Forensic Science: 227-238. Greenwich Medical Media Ltd.London

Jurmain, R . 1999. Stories from the skeleton: behavioral reconstruction in human osteology. Amsterdam, The Netherlands : Gordon and Breach Publishers

Larsen, C.S. 1997. Bioarchaeology: Interpreting Behaviour from the
Human Skeleton. Cambridge Studies in Biological Anthropology 21. Cambridge University Press

Larsen, C.S. 2000. Skeletons in Our Closet: Revealing Our Past Through Bioarchaeology. Princeton University Press

Larsen, C.S., Martin, D.L. and Harrod, R.P. 2013. The Bioarchaeology of Violence. University Press of Florida

Molleson, T & Cox, M. 1993. The Spitalfields Project. Volume 2: The anthropology. The Middling Sort. CBA Research Report 86. Council for British Archaeology. (Out-of-print but available electroniclly on -
Stodder, A.L.W. and Palkovich, A.M. 2014. The Bioarchaeology of Individuals. University Press of Florida

Wood, J.W., Milner, G.R., Harpending, H.C., Weiss, K.M., Cohen, M.N. and Eis, L.E., 1992. The osteological paradox: problems of inferring prehistoric health from skeletal samples. Curr Anthropol 33(4), 34370
Additional Information
Graduate Attributes and Skills Not entered
KeywordsBioarch Int Bioarchaeological Interpretation
Course organiserDr Kathleen Mcsweeney
Tel: (0131 6)50 2373
Course secretaryMiss Danielle Jeffrey
Tel: (0131 6)50 3782
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