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Osteology (BA2)



Bachelor year 2.

Admission requirements

Bioarchaeology or another 2nd-year natural science course.


Human osteoarchaeology is the study of human skeletal remains found in an archaeological context. Analysis of the human skeleton is absolutely integral to understanding the past, as it provides primary evidence of the people enacting and experiencing the world.

The focus of this course is the identification of human skeletal and dental remains, and then application of this knowledge to learn more about individuals and populations.

Set-up of the course:
Each course day will consist of a lecture, individual/group practical assignments, and a quiz/feedback on the assignment.

Course objectives

  • Ability to recognise and identify human bones and teeth;

  • Ability to estimate sex, age-at-death, and stature;

  • To become familiar with common pathological conditions;

  • To become familiar with the concepts and methods of isotope analysis, cremations, ancestry estimation, and activity markers.


Course schedule details can be found in the BA2 time schedule.

Mode of instruction

  • Lecture;

  • Practical sessions;

  • Online videos with questions.

Course load

The course load will be distributed as follows:

  • 14 hours of lectures/quiz/feedback;

  • 16 hours of practical;

  • 300 pages of literature;

  • ± 30 min. of online video with assignments.

Assessment method

  • Practical examination (bone bell ringer test) (50%);

  • Written exam (50%).

There will be one final result for this course. For both exams, at least a 5 or higher is necessary in order to pass the course. A retake is only possible for the written exam.

All practical and online assignments have to be completed before you can participate in the final written exam.

The date for the final exam can be found in the BA2 examination schedule. For other deadlines, please see the course syllabus on BlackBoard.

Reading list

Mandatory textbook:
Tim D. White & Pieter Arend Folkens (2005), The Human Bone Manual, ISBN: 978-0-12-088467-4.


Registration via uSis is mandatory.

  • The Administration Office will register all BA1 students for their tutorials (not lectures; register via uSis!).

  • BA2, BA3, MA/MSc and RMA/RMSc students are required to register for all lectures and tutorials well in time.

  • Start registration for the BA2 seminars:
    Series 1: 10 September 2018, 07:00 hrs
    Series 2: 7 January 2018, 07:00 hrs
    Series 3: 11 March 2018, 07:00 hrs

  • The Administration Office registers all students for their exams, students are not required to do this in uSis.


For more information about this course, please contact dr. R. (Rachel) Schats.


Compulsory attendance. Students can miss no more than 1 class.