Undergraduate Course: The Human Skeleton in Archaeology and Forensic Science: Investigating Death and the Dead (ARCA08014)
|School||School of History, Classics and Archaeology
||College||College of Humanities and Social Science
|Credit level (Normal year taken)||SCQF Level 8 (Year 2 Undergraduate)
||Availability||Not available to visiting students
|Summary||This course aims to provide a broad introduction to the study of archaeological and forensic human skeletal remains. It will provide students with the opportunity to become familiar with various topics associated with this discipline, offering introductory instruction in skeletal anatomy and an insight into the methods used by osteologists in assessing demographic information such as sex, age-at-death disease. The curriculum will cover ethical issues and a history of the discipline.
List of lecture topics:
2. History of archaeological and forensic skeletal studies
3. Nature of an archaeological bone assemblage
4. Anatomy I
5. Anatomy II
6. Excavation: introduction to forensic archaeology
7. The digital skeleton
8. The identified skeleton
9. Communal burial: the European Neolithic
10. Individual burial: the Anatolian Bronze Age
11. The gendered skeleton: Chalcolithic Cyprus
12. Cemetery studies
13. Death and Burial in Rome
14. Death and Burial in Scotland BC to AD
15. Skeletons on fire: cremations through time
17. Facial reconstruction: a case study.
19. An introduction to soil forensics: microscopic signals of burials.
20. Forensic Anthropology
Practical sessions (2 hours each session)
2. Recording a burial
Visit to a museum exhibition
2 x one-hour sessions - topics to be decided.
This course aims to provide a broad introduction to the study of archaeological and forensic human skeletal remains. It will provide students with the opportunity to become familiar with various topics associated with this discipline, offering introductory instruction in skeletal anatomy and an insight into the methods used by osteologists in assessing demographic information such as sex, age-at-death disease. The curriculum will cover ethical issues and a history of the discipline. A series of case studies that will utilise existing expertise and research interests of staff will explore various types of burial practices through time. Hands-on lab-based sessions will provide practice in the identification of human remains. Some specialized topics, such as forensic archaeology, palaeodemography and facial reconstruction, will be introduced and students will have an opportunity to discuss the potentials and limitations of human skeletal analysis through seminars.
Entry Requirements (not applicable to Visiting Students)
||Other requirements|| Any first level course achieved no later than August of the previous academic year.
Course Delivery Information
|Academic year 2018/19, Not available to visiting students (SS1)
|Learning and Teaching activities (Further Info)
Lecture Hours 20,
Seminar/Tutorial Hours 2,
Supervised Practical/Workshop/Studio Hours 4,
External Visit Hours 2,
Programme Level Learning and Teaching Hours 4,
Directed Learning and Independent Learning Hours
|Assessment (Further Info)
|Additional Information (Assessment)
||1000 word short report (40%)
3000 word essay (60%)
||Students will receive written feedback on their coursework, and will have the opportunity to discuss that feedback further with the tutor/Course Organiser during their published office hours or by appointment.
|No Exam Information
On completion of this course, the student will be able to:
- demonstrate by means of coursework, an exam or class discussion (as appropriate) produce sound, properly referenced and concise pieces of coursework, in accordance with the common marking scale.
- demonstrate by means of coursework, an exam or class discussion (as appropriate), awareness of some key themes and ideas in osteological research.
- demonstrate by means of coursework, an exam or class discussion (as appropriate) a familiarity with the human skeleton and the relevance of such remains to archaeological interpretation.
- demonstrate by means of coursework, an exam or class discussion (as appropriate) a critical awareness of how scientific thought and its relationship to archaeology has influenced interpretations of human remains.
- demonstrate by means of coursework, an exam or class discussion (as appropriate) a basic understanding of the type of information that can be obtained from human skeletal remains and an understanding of the limitations imposed by the nature of human skeletal analysis.
|1. Larsen,C.S., 1997. Bioarchaeology: Interpreting Behaviour from the Human Skeleton. Cambridge Studies in Biological Anthropology 21. Cambridge: Cambridge University Press.|
2. Mays, S. 2012. The Archaeology of Human Bones. London: Routledge.
3. Parker Pearson, M. (1999). The Archaeology of Death and Burial. Thrupp. Sutton Publishing
4. Roberts, C.A., 2009. Human Remains in Archaeology: A Handbook (CBA Practical Handbook. Council for British Archaeology.
5. Hunter, J. and Cox, M. 2005. Forensic archaeology: advances in theory and practice. London: Routledge
6. Nafte, M. 2000. Flesh and Bone: an introduction to forensic anthropology.
7. White, Tim D. & P.A. Folkens, 2005. The Human Bone Manual. Elsevier Academic Press.
8. Brothwell, D.R., 1981. Digging up Bones. Third edition. British Museum (Natural History). Oxford: Oxford University Press.
9. McKinlay, J.I. & C. Roberts, 1993. Excavation and Post-excavation Treatment of Cremated and Inhumed Remains. London: Institute of Field Archaeologists Technical Paper Number 13.
|Graduate Attributes and Skills
||1. to gather data on a research topic and organize it into a coherent set
2. to compare and interpret differing sets of data from varying situations
3. to critically evaluate and judge different approaches to data and analytical methods
4. to actively understand, interpret and use both written and visual information
5. to formulate and clearly express ideas, both in oral and s written form
6. to organize complex ideas and arguments into a coherent set of conclusions
7. to schedule their learning duties, manage their workload and develop a timetable
8. to cooperate efficiently with others within their peer group as well as seniors (tutors and supervisors).
|Course organiser||Dr Kathleen McSweeney
Tel: (0131 6)50 2373
|Course secretary||Miss Claire Brown
Tel: (0131 6)50 3582