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Osteoarchaeology 1


Compulsory attendance


Admission requirements

Ecology 2 completed, or a 2nd or 3rd-year natural sciences-based course.


Human osteoarchaeology is the study of human skeletal remains found in an archaeological context. The human skeleton is one of the most important pieces to understanding the past, as it provides primary evidence of the people themselves. The focus of this class is the identification of human skeletal and dental remains. Students will learn basic skeletal biology, how to identify all the bones and teeth in the human skeleton, and major landmarks of each skeletal element.
By the end of this class, students will be able to distinguish animal from human bones, and identify fragmentary skeletal material, as is common in many archaeological settings. Each class period will consist of a lecture and demonstration focusing on the skeletal elements you are expected to learn for the week. You are expected to practise the identification of skeletal elements and landmarks during open laboratory time.

Course objectives

  • Identification of all bones, teeth, and major morphological features of the human skeleton;

  • Ability to distinguish subadult from adult remains;

  • Determination of subadult age using dental and skeletal methods;

  • Experience sorting and identification of commingled, burned, and scavenged assemblages.

Ects distribution:

The course load will be distributed as follows:

  • Lecture, 14 hours (1 ects);

  • Laboratory work, 30 hours (1,5 ects);

  • Literature, 350 pages (2,5 ects).


Course schedule details can be found in the bachelor 3 time schedule.

Mode of instruction

Weekly two-hour lectures and weekly two-hour laboratory study/exercise.

Assessment method

  • Practical examination (Bone BellRinger Test);

  • Laboratory exercises;

  • Written examination;

  • Participation.

Assessment deadline

The exam date can be found in the exam schedule.

Reading list

  • T.D. White & P.A. Folkens, The Human Bone Manual (2005). Academic Press;

  • L. Sawchuk, J. Padiak & W. Barek, The Digital Atlas of the Human Skeleton (free software download).


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


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