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Advanced Archaeological Science Specialisation Course: Osteoarchaeology


Admission requirements

  • Admission to the RMSc Archaeology programme Archaeological Science;

  • Successful pass (grade 5.6 or higher) of the Bone Bell Ringer Exam prior to the start of the course;

  • BA course Osteology completed with at least a 7.0 is highly recommended.


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 biomechanics, joint disease, dental disease, and infectious disease.

RMA/RMSc students participate in the same lectures as the MA/MSc students, but their assignments will have a different focus involving enhanced depth and critical review with additional minimum requirements for the number of referenced sources.
Written and oral assignments will involve researching a topic to achieve comprehension of its significance to the field as a whole, utilising critical thinking skills and formulating directions for innovative new research.

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;

  • Ability to critically review the significance of current research within the field as a whole;

  • Ability to formulate new and innovative directions of research.


Course schedule details can be found in MyTimetable.
Log in with your ULCN account, and add this course using the 'Add timetable' button.

Mode of instruction

  • Lecture;

  • Open laboratory time.

Assessment method

  • Participation (20%);

  • Assignments (60%);

  • Final project (20%).

Only the final project can be retaken.

Assessment deadlines

All assessment deadlines (exams, retakes, paper deadlines etc.) can be found in MyTimetable.
Log in with your ULCN account, and add this course using the 'Add timetable' button. To view the assessment deadline(s), make sure to select the course with a code ending in T and/or R.

Individual deadlines (assignments etc.) can be found in the syllabus and on Brightspace.

Reading list

To be announced.


For lectures, tutorials, and exams, enrolment through MyStudymap is mandatory.
You are also required to confirm your exam in MyStudymap. No confirmation = no participation!

General information about registration can be found on the Course and Exam Enrolment page.


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


Compulsory attendance.