Human Skeletal Analysis

Module code: AR7376

This course offers an introduction to the human skeleton and to key debates in human osteology. Human remains offer us the most direct link to the people of the past, giving a wide variety of information about past social organisation and lifestyles as well as the physical environment of past peoples. You’ll be identifying complete and fragmentary human bones during this module and laying them out in anatomical order. You’ll be using advanced osteological terminology to describe skeletal features, and identifying the age and sex of human skeletons, as well as recording common skeletal pathologies.

Composing an osteological report for an assemblage of skeletons will help you to understand the potential of skeletal remains to inform archaeologists about social behaviour and identities. Engaging with current debates about osteological methodologies will help your own research and methods. This module aims to:

  • Give a thorough knowledge of human skeletal anatomy
  • Enable you to determine the age and sex of human skeletal remains
  • Provide information about different forms of skeletal variation and their significance
  • Introduce different skeletal pathologies, their identification and significance
  • Introduce you to key debates in osteology
  • Enable you to form considered judgments about published osteological research relating to the key themes of human variation and pathology.

Upon successful completion of this module, you should be able to:

  • Identify and complete fragmentary human bones and lay them out in anatomical order
  • Correctly use advanced osteological terminology to describe skeletal features
  • Determine the age and sex of human skeletons, and identify and record common skeletal pathologies
  • Produce an osteological report for an assemblage of skeletons
  • Demonstrate a critical understanding of the potential of skeletal remains to inform archaeologists about social behaviour and identities and current debates concerning osteological methodologies

Learning

  • 11 hours of lectures
  • 11 hours of seminars
  • 22 hours of practical classes and workshops
  • 256 hours of guided independent study

Assessment

  • Practical exam (10%)
  • Report, 3,000 words (50%)
  • Essay, 3,000 words (40%)