Forensic Anthropology: Principles and Practice (ARCM602)

StaffDr Laura Evis - Convenor
Credit Value15
ECTS Value7.5
NQF Level7
Duration of Module Term 2: 11 weeks;

Module aims

  • To provide you with an advanced level of understanding of the role of the forensic anthropologist from crime scene to court.

ILO: Module-specific skills

  • 1. Understand the methods used to search for and recover human remains
  • 2. Understand the techniques and methods used to assist with the identification of human remains (macroscopic, microscopic, metric and biomolecular)
  • 3. Understand the key concepts of Forensic Taphonomy
  • 4. Understand the process of decomposition and its impact on human remains
  • 5. Understand the impact that burial practices can have on the preservation and analysis of human remains
  • 6. Understand the structure of the police force in the United Kingdom
  • 7. Demonstrate an awareness of the work undertaken by forensic anthropologists in criminal, humanitarian and mass disaster contexts, both nationally and internationally
  • 8. Demonstrate an awareness of the capabilities of other forensic specialisms

ILO: Discipline-specific skills

  • 9. Show initiative in interpreting a variety of information forms
  • 10. Demonstrate familiarity with the literature base relevant to Forensic Anthropology

ILO: Personal and key skills

  • 11. Demonstrate competence in summarised published research
  • 12. Demonstrate a competent knowledge base in written work
  • 13. Demonstrate proficiency in written presentation skills

Syllabus plan

Whilst the content may vary from year to year, it is envisioned that it will cover some or all of the following topics:

  • Forensic anthropology: Its development and use in criminal, humanitarian and mass disaster investigations
  • International legislation and admissibility regulations
  • The search for and detection of human remains
  • The recovery and recording of human remains
  • The process of decomposition
  • Forensic taphonomy
  • Biological profiling in forensic contexts
  • The assessment of manner and/or cause of death
  • Establishing the identity of decedents: Macroscopic, microscopic, metric and biomolecular approaches

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 teaching3311 x 3-hour lectures
Guided independent study117

Formative assessment

Form of assessmentSize of the assessment (eg length / duration)ILOs assessedFeedback method
Essay plan500 words1-13written and verbal

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
Test302 hours1-13Written and oral feedback
Essay703500 words1-13Written and oral feedback

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

Original form of assessmentForm of re-assessmentILOs re-assessedTimescale for re-assessment
TestTest 2 hours1-13Referral/Deferral period
EssayEssay 3500 words1-13Referral/Deferral period

Re-assessment notes

Deferral – if you miss an assessment for certificated reasons judged acceptable by the Mitigation Committee, you will normally be either deferred in the assessment or an extension may be granted. The mark given for a re-assessment taken as a result of deferral will not be capped and will be treated as it would be if it were your first attempt at the assessment.

Referral – if you have failed the module overall (i.e. a final overall module mark of less than 50%) you will be required to submit a further assessment as necessary. The mark given for a re-assessment taken as a result of referral will be capped at 50%.

Indicative learning resources - Basic reading

  • Blau, S. and Ubelaker, D.H., 2009. Handbook of forensic anthropology and archaeology. Walnut Creek: Left Coast Press. *Call No. 614.17BLA.
  • Boddington, A., Garland, A.N. and Janaway, R.C., 1987. Death, decay and reconstruction: approaches to archaeology and forensic science. *Call No. 913.02611DEA.
  • Brickley, M. and Ferllini, R., 2007. Forensic Anthropology Case Studies from Europe.Springfield, Illinois: Charles C Thomas. *Call No. 614.17094BRI.
  • Byers, S,N., 2011. Introduction to forensic anthropology. Harlow: Pearson Education. *Call No. 614.17BYE.
  • Galloway, A., 1999. Broken bones: anthropological analysis of blunt force trauma. Springfield, Illinois: Charles C Thomas. Call No. 614.1GAL.
  • Haglund, W.D. and Sorg, M.H., 1997. Forensic Taphonomy: the postmortem fate of human remains. Boca Raton: CRC Press. *Call No. 614.1HAG.
  • Haglund, W.D. and Sorg, M.H., 2002. Advances in Forensic Taphonomy: method, theory and archaeological perspectives. Boca Raton: CRC Press. *Call No. 614HAG.
  • Hunter, J. and Cox, M., 2005. Forensic Archaeology: Advances in theory and practice. London: Routledge. *Call No. 930.10285HUN.
  • Hunter, J., Roberts, C. and Martin A., 1999. Studies in Crime: an introduction to forensic archaeology. London: Routledge. * Call No. 913.02616HUN.
  • Klepinger, L., 2006. Fundamentals of Forensic Anthropology. Chichester: Wiley-Liss. *Available online.  
  • Schmidt, C.W. and Symes, S.A., 2008. The analysis of burned human remains. London: Academic Press. *Call No. 614.17SCH.

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Key words search

Archaeology, Bioarchaeology, Forensic Science, Forensic Anthropology, Forensic Investigation