nl en

Archaeological Science Specialisation Course: Osteoarchaeology


Admission requirements

  • Admission to the MSc Archaeology programme Archaeological Science, with Human Osteoarchaeology as first focus area;

  • BA course Osteology completed with at least a 7.0.


This is a graduate seminar in human osteology and paleopathology, designed to further knowledge about what human remains can tell us about the past.
This class is for students who already have comprehensive training in the identification and basic analysis of human skeletal remains. It will be necessary for students who are developing research topics for their Master’s theses in osteoarchaeology, and of value to students who want to acquire the knowledge necessary to undertake doctoral research that involves human osteology.

The course emphasises how the application of scientific methods and the integration of biological and archaeological evidence to research hypotheses can aid in enhancing our reconstructions of human history. Methods covered include stable isotope analysis, biomechanics, joint disease, dental disease, and infectious disease.

Course objectives

  • To develop an understanding of current methodological and theoretical topics in biological anthropology;

  • To increase knowledge about science-based approaches within the field of osteoarchaeology;

  • To practice basic human osteology and paleopathological identification and reporting skills;

  • To develop critical thinking skills.


Course schedule details can be found in the MA and MSc time schedule.

Mode of instruction

  • Lecture;

  • Open laboratory time.

Course load

  • 24 hours of lectures and open lab time (1,5 ec);

  • 280 pages of literature (2 ec);

  • Assignments (1 ec);

  • Presentation (0.5 ec).

Assessment method

  • Participation (20%);

  • Assignments (60%);

  • Presentation (20%).

Only the presentation can be retaken.

All exam dates (exams, retakes, paper deadlines etc.) can be found in the MA and MSc examination schedule.
Other individual deadlines (assignments etc.) can be found in the syllabus and on Brightspace.
The final presentation will take place 1 week after the end of the course.

Reading list

To be announced.


Registration via uSis is mandatory.

  • The Administration Office will register all BA1 students for their tutorials (not lectures; register via uSis!).

  • BA2, BA3, MA/MSc and RMA/RMSc students are required to register for all lectures and tutorials well in time.

  • The Administration Office registers all students for their exams, students are not required to do this in uSis.


For more information about this course, please contact dr. S.A. (Sarah) Schrader.


Compulsory attendance.