University Homepage
DRPS Homepage
DRPS Search
DRPS Contact
DRPS : Course Catalogue : School of History, Classics and Archaeology : Postgraduate (History, Classics and Archaeology)

Postgraduate Course: Bioarchaeological Analysis and Interpretation (PGHC11474)

Course Outline
SchoolSchool of History, Classics and Archaeology CollegeCollege of Humanities and Social Science
Credit level (Normal year taken)SCQF Level 11 (Postgraduate) AvailabilityNot available to visiting students
SCQF Credits10 ECTS Credits5
SummaryThis course focuses on the wider issues in the analysis and interpretation of skeletal data obtained from the application of various analytical methods in bioarchaeology. It will also explore population-wide considerations such as demography, activity patterns, evidence for warfare, indications for biomechanical adaptation, evidence for familial/genetic traits as well as the importance of age and gender.
Course description The course is concerned with the interpretation of skeletal data at an individual and population level. Following a general lecture on bioarchaeological data, the remainder of the course will be student-led and focus on a series of different topics, including the bioarchaeology of women, children, growth and stature, diet, activity related changes, trauma, violence and warfare, burial rites, and population health. Each week small groups of students prepare a PowerPoint presentation on a different topic, based on the critical examination of a set of key readings, and lead class discussions on their findings through pre-prepared discussion questions.
Entry Requirements (not applicable to Visiting Students)
Pre-requisites Co-requisites
Prohibited Combinations Other requirements None
Course Delivery Information
Academic year 2018/19, Not available to visiting students (SS1) Quota:  10
Course Start Semester 2
Timetable Timetable
Learning and Teaching activities (Further Info) Total Hours: 100 ( Lecture Hours 11, Programme Level Learning and Teaching Hours 2, Directed Learning and Independent Learning Hours 87 )
Assessment (Further Info) Written Exam 0 %, Coursework 100 %, Practical Exam 0 %
Additional Information (Assessment) 1. A 1,500 word critique of a key paper from one of the discussion sessions (75%)«br /»
Within this assessment, students are required to demonstrate a broad understanding of the topic beyond the key paper.«br /»
«br /»
2. PowerPoint group presentation and class discussion (25%)«br /»
For this assessment, students will be assessed individually on the quality of their presentation skills and accompanying visual materials (75%) and as a group on the overall structure and coherence of the presentation and the organisation of the discussion (25%).
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 or by appointment.
No Exam Information
Learning Outcomes
On completion of this course, the student will be able to:
  1. demonstrate in a 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 a critique of an academic paper and during seminars the ability to analyse and reflect critically upon relevant scholarship concerning the interpretation of bioarchaeological data, primary source materials concerning skeletal data, and conceptual discussions about the chosen topic;
  3. demonstrate in a critique of an academic paper and in the seminar presentations the ability to develop and sustain original scholarly arguments in oral, visual and written form 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; the ability to coordinate and work with others; 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), 343-370.
Additional Information
Graduate Attributes and Skills Not entered
KeywordsNot entered
Course organiserDr Kathleen McSweeney
Tel: (0131 6)50 2373
Course secretaryMr Jonathan Donnelly
Tel: (0131 6)50 3782
Help & Information
Search DPTs and Courses
Degree Programmes
Browse DPTs
Humanities and Social Science
Science and Engineering
Medicine and Veterinary Medicine
Other Information
Combined Course Timetable
Important Information