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Advanced Palaeopathology


Admission requirements

Admission to the Research Master Archaeology programme Bioarchaeology.


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 bio-cultural 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 assess 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 refine critical thinking skills.


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

Mode of instruction

  • Lectures;

  • Discussion;

  • Open laboratory time.

Course load

The course load will be distributed as follows:

  • Lectures (1,5 ec);

  • Laboratory work (0,5 ec);

  • 280 pages of literature (2 ec);

  • Written assignments (including poster and presentation) (1 ec).

Assessment method

  • Laboratory assignment (15%);

  • Presentation (20%);

  • Weekly participation (25%);

  • Academic poster (40%).

The individual grades can be compensated.
A retake is only possible for the research paper, and only if all other requirements have been met.

All exam dates (exams, retakes, paper deadlines etc.) can be found in the RMA and RMSc examination schedule.
See BlackBoard for individual deadlines.

Reading list

To be announced.


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.

  • 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. S.A. (Sarah) Schrader.


Compulsory attendance.