Inroduction to Bioarchaeology

(Spring semester) This course provides a theoretical background to the study of human skeletal remains from archaeological settings, as well as core practical skills in the osteological analysis of human bone. Through lectures, seminars, and laboratory based hands-on training, it will equip students with the skills to study and interpret human osteological data. The emphasis is on contextual interpretation of the data through a multidisciplinary approach, linking biological evidence with cultural data and current mortuary theory. The module will offer: 1) An introduction to the development and theoretical background of bioarchaeological research, including a discussion of the ethics surrounding the recovery, studying and displaying of human remains; 2) A general introduction to Funerary Taphonomy and Field Anthropology, focussing on the formation processes of funerary assemblages and the means by which human remains should be excavated and recorded in the field; 3) An introduction to the basic study areas in bioarchaeology, including palaeodemography, palaeopathology, nutrition and diet, occupational activities, biodistance, ancestry and ancient mobility, as well as manipulation of the dead body and social bioarchaeology; 4) Training on essential analytical skills and basic methods for the assessment of age, sex, stature, metric and non-metric variation; 5) An introduction to recording and analysis of commingled  bone assemblages and cremated bone; 6) Training on reporting osteological data. The students will have the opportunity to work hands-on with human bones in the Bioarchaeology Lab and familiarise themselves with the relevant technical equipment. By the end of this course, they will be able to present an understanding of the theoretical and methodological background in bioarchaeological analysis, and the ability to report osteological information for a professional audience. 

Ioanna Moutafi
Course Code: 
BARC 101