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Research seminar: Taphonomy


Compulsory attendance


Admission requirements

BA or BSc degree obtained, admission to the RMSc-programme.


Taphonomy addresses aspects of the taphonomical history of (bio)archaeological finds covering, for example, the accumulation and/or distribution of finds, as well as the decomposition and degradation of human/animal and plant remains.
In addition, animal and human (including earlier hominins) modification of biomaterial will be explored.

Course objectives

  • Basic knowledge of site formation processes;

  • Working knowledge of a wide range of taphonomic features encountered in the bioarchaeological record;

  • Learning to deal with taphonomical data and interpretations in the context of scientific debates on site formation processes.

Ects distribution

The course load will be distributed as follows:

  • 14×2 hours of lectures, discussion meetings and practical exercises (2 ects);

  • 280 pages of literature (2 ects);

  • 1 paper presenting the results of a case study assigned to the candidate (1 ects).


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

Mode of instruction

Lectures with practical exercises, discussion meetings, assignments, reading list.

Assessment method

  • Participation in discussions;

  • Presentations;

  • Assignments (research paper).

Assessment deadline

All assessment deadlines (exams, retakes, paper deadlines etc.) can be found in the examination schedule.

Reading list

The reading list will be published on BlackBoard.


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 prof. dr. M. van Kolfschoten.