Module Provider: Archaeology
Number of credits: 10 [5 ECTS credits]
Terms in which taught: Spring term module
Non-modular pre-requisites:
Modules excluded:
Current from: 2019/0

Module Convenor: Dr Aleks Pluskowski


Type of module:

Summary module description:

This module will introduce you to the key methods employed in the examination of human remains from archaeological sites and utilise skeletal collections held by the Department of Archaeology. You will also be taught to identify, side and in the case of animal bone, zone and quantify fragments commonly encountered during an archaeological excavation, and post-excavation analysis. The module will also introduce the principles of biomolecular (isotope and DNA) analysis of human and faunal skeletal remains.


Assessable learning outcomes:

By the end of the module, it is expected that you will be able to:

  • Evaluate the nature and quality of skeletal evidence from a range of species

  • Identify fragments of human and non-human bone from archaeological contexts

  • Record and quantify non-human animal bone

  • Carry out an independent assessment of age, sex and stature on adult human skeletal remains, and age on non-human skeletal remains

  • Demonstrate understanding of the principles of biomolecular analysis and data interpretation.

Additional outcomes:

  • Understand the importance of bioarcheology in archaeological practice

Outline content:

This module will cover the principles of skeletal bioarchaeology including (1) the aims of skeletal bioarchaeology and its place in modern archaeology; (2) identify, siding, describing and recording of human and non-human skeletal remains; (3) application of general osteological techniques (sexing, ageing, stature) to human skeletal remains; (4) applications of zoning and ageing faunal remains (5) key concepts of biomolecular (isotope and DNA) analysis of skeletal remains.

Brief description of teaching and learning methods:

The module will be taught in a combination of lectures, laboratory sessions and practical exercises with opportunities for interaction and discussions.

Contact hours:
  Autumn Spring Summer
Lectures 10
Practicals classes and workshops 20
Guided independent study: 70
Total hours by term 100
Total hours for module 100

Summative Assessment Methods:
Method Percentage
Class test administered by School 100

Summative assessment- Examinations:

Summative assessment- Coursework and in-class tests:

In-class Animal Remains Practical Test (50%)

In-class Human Remains Practical Test (50%)

Formative assessment methods:

Informal feedback that will enable you to gauge your progress will be provided throughout the practical sessions

Penalties for late submission:
The Module Convener will apply the following penalties for work submitted late:

  • where the piece of work is submitted after the original deadline (or any formally agreed extension to the deadline): 10% of the total marks available for that piece of work will be deducted from the mark for each working day[1] (or part thereof) following the deadline up to a total of five working days;
  • where the piece of work is submitted more than five working days after the original deadline (or any formally agreed extension to the deadline): a mark of zero will be recorded.

  • The University policy statement on penalties for late submission can be found at:
    You are strongly advised to ensure that coursework is submitted by the relevant deadline. You should note that it is advisable to submit work in an unfinished state rather than to fail to submit any work.

    Assessment requirements for a pass:

    A mark of 40% overall.

    Reassessment arrangements:

    Re-submission of coursework in August/September.

    Additional Costs (specified where applicable):

    1) Required text books: 

    Last updated: 21 August 2019


    Things to do now