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Laboratory studies in Human Osteology


Compulsory attendance


Admission requirements

Human Osteology I and II (or an advanced undergraduate Osteology class deemed to be equivalent by the instructor).


This is a practical course wherein students apply their knowledge of human osteology to the analysis of skeletons from archaeological contexts. Students are expected to be responsible for a minimum of three skeletons from the beginning to final stages of analysis. This will include cleaning, sorting, restoration, inventory, photography and measurement of skeletal and dental remains.
This will be followed by the application of more advanced methods to determine age-at-death, sex, stature and body size, and the documentation and differential diagnosis of pathological lesions. Results will be prepared following a standardised report format.


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

Course objectives

  • To be able to determine and differentiate parts of the human skeleton while unsupervised;

  • To be able to use scientific equipment to collect standard anatomical measurements based on common skeletal landmarks while unsupervised;

  • To learn to create a detailed inventory of human remains using correct anatomical terminology;

  • To be able to apply advanced osteobiographical methods of age-at-death, sex, and stature and body size determination;

  • To practice the identification of pathological conditions and diagnosis differentials;

  • To learn to write a scientific report detailing the results of a skeletal inventory and osteobiographical methods.

Mode of instruction

  • Bi-monthly lectures reviewing data collection protocols;

  • One-on-one consultations between instructor and student;

  • Student directed questions.

Assessment method

Laboratory report.

Reading list

Leiden University Osteoarchaeology Data Collection Standards (to be prepared and distributed to the students).


Register for this course via uSis.
Instructions for registration can be found in the uSis manual.

Contact information

For more information about this course, please contact dr A.L. Waters-Rist.