Forensic Anthropology (ARC2514)

StaffDr Laura Evis - Lecturer
Credit Value15
ECTS Value7.50
NQF Level5
Duration of Module Term 1: 11 weeks;

Module aims

This module provides an introductory survey of the basic principles of the study of human remains to establish personal identity with emphases on the metric and non-metric characterisation of skeletal shape and size, and application of demographic reference standards for age and sex determination and population affinity. It also introduces pathological and anatomical variation applied to establishing human identity and the place of such studies within the discipline of biological anthropology.

ILO: Module-specific skills

  • 1. Understand key concepts of forensic anthropology
  • 2. Use terms and conventions commonly employed in forensic anthropology
  • 3. Demonstrate competence in the identification of the bones of the human skeleton

ILO: Discipline-specific skills

  • 4. Show initiative in interpreting a variety of information forms
  • 5. Demonstrate familiarity with the literature base germane to forensic anthropology

ILO: Personal and key skills

  • 6. Demonstrate competence in summarizing published research
  • 7. Demonstrate competent knowledge base under examination conditions

Syllabus plan

Skeletal anatomy

Determination of age-at-death from skeletal remains

Determination of ancestral heritage from skeletal remains

Determination of stature from human remains

Determination of biological sex from human remains

Definition and identification of pathological conditions

Categorisation and identification of trauma

Categorisation and identification of non-metric anatomical variants

Role of the forensic anthropologist from crime scene to court

Role of the forensic anthropologist in international criminal investigations

Role of the forensic anthropologist in mass disaster investigations

Learning activities and teaching methods (given in hours of study time)

Scheduled Learning and Teaching ActivitiesGuided independent studyPlacement / study abroad

Details of learning activities and teaching methods

CategoryHours of study timeDescription
Scheduled learning and teaching activities33Lectures/workshops
Guided independent study117Private study

Summative assessment (% of credit)

CourseworkWritten examsPractical exams

Details of summative assessment

Form of assessment% of creditSize of the assessment (eg length / duration)ILOs assessedFeedback method
In class test40in class1-6Mark and written comments
Exam602 hours1-7Mark and written comments

Details of re-assessment (where required by referral or deferral)

Original form of assessmentForm of re-assessmentILOs re-assessedTimescale for re-assessment
Exam/In class testSupervised practical quiz1-7Refer/Defer period
ExamExam 2 hours1-7Refer/Defer period

Re-assessment notes

This module will be reassessed by exam.

Indicative learning resources - Basic reading

Byers, S.N. (2008). Introduction to Forensic Anthropology. Allyn & Bacon, Boston (MA). (most recent edition)

Bass, W.M. (1987). Human Osteology: A Laboratory and Field Manual. Missouri Archaeological Society, Columbia (MO). (most recent edition)

Buikstra, J.E. and Ubelaker, D.H. (eds.) (1994). Standards for Data Collection from Human Skeletal Remains. Arkansas Archaeological Survey, Fayetteville (AR).

Hunter, J., Roberts, C., and Martin, A. (1996). Studies in Crime: An Introduction to Forensic Archaeology. Routledge, London.

Larsen, C.S. (1997). Bioarchaeology. Interpreting Behaviour from the Human Skeleton. Cambridge University Press, Cambridge.

Saunders, S.R., Katzenberg, M.A. (eds.) (2008). Biological Anthropology of the Human Skeleton.

Wiley, New York. White, T.D. and Folkens, P.A. (1999). Human Osteology. Academic Press, New York (most recent edition)

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Key words search

Archaeology, Anthropology, Forensics