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Compulsory attendance


Admission requirements

Having successfully completed the course Advanced Human Osteology.


This is a graduate seminar in palaeopathology wherein we explore patterns of demography and disease in past human populations. The emphasis will be on what can and cannot be learned about human health and disease through the analyses of skeletal and dental remains from archaeological contexts.
Methods involved in the identification of disease from prehistoric remains are taught and the importance of using a differential diagnosis approach demonstrated. The skeletal and dental markers of disease and injury are to be understood as sources of information about the broader biocultural adaptations of past populations.

Course objectives

  • To understand how disease can affect the morphology of bone and teeth and its relationship to soft tissues;

  • To learn to recognise the common pathological abnormalities and identify what injuries or diseases could have been the cause;

  • To improve understanding of the range of normal human skeletal morphological variation to accurately determine pathological changes;

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

  • To develop professional presentation and instruction skills;

  • To develop critical thinking skills.

Ects distribution

The course load will be distributed as follows:

  • Lectures (21 hours, 1,5 ects);

  • Laboratory work (10 hours, 0,5 ects);

  • 350 pages of literature (2 ects);

  • Written assignments (1 ects).


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

Mode of instruction

  • Lectures;

  • Open laboratory time.

Assessment method

  • Laboratory assignment;

  • PowerPoint presentation;

  • Participation;

  • Academic poster.

Assessment deadline

The final grades are to be determined 3 weeks after the due-date of the last assignment.

Reading list

  • C. Roberts & K. Manchester, The Archaeology of Disease. 3rd edition. Ithaca: Cornell University Press (2005);

  • Instructor and student assigned journal articles.


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 mw. dr. S. Inskip.