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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 Arts, Humanities and Social Sciences
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 2023/24, Not available to visiting students (SS1) Quota:  0
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 75 %, Practical Exam 25 %
Additional Information (Assessment) Coursework: 1,500 word Essay (75%)
Non-Written Skills: Group PowerPoint Presentation (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 a detailed and critical command of the body of knowledge concerning the interpretation of bioarchaeological data relevant to the chosen topic;
  2. 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. 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 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. (eds). 2011. Social Bioarchaeology. Wiley-Blackwell

Betsinger, T.K. and DeWitte, S.N. (eds) 2020. The Bioarchaeology of Urbanization. Springer.

Gowland, R and Kn├╝sel, C. (eds). 2009. The Social Archaeology of Funerary Remains. Oxbow Books, Oxford.

Larsen, C.S. 2015. Bioarchaeology: Interpreting Behaviour from the Human Skeleton. 2nd edition. Cambridge University Press, Cambridge

Redfern, R.C. 2016. Injury and Trauma in Bioarchaeology. Interpreting Violence in Past Lives. Cambridge University Press, Cambridge.

Robbins Schug, G. (ed) 2021. The Routledge Handbook of the Bioarchaeology of Climate and Environmental Change. Routledge.

Schrader, S. 2019. Activity, Diet and Social Practice. Springer.

Steckel, R.H., Larsen, C.S., Roberts, C.A. and Baten, J (eds) 2018. The Backbone of Europe. Health, Diet, Work and Violence over Two Millenia. Cambridge University Press, Cambridge.

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 Sophie Newman
Tel: (0131 6)50 4620
Course secretaryMiss Mel Baker
Tel: (0131 6)50 4030
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