Credit points: 15

Subject outline

In this subject students will be introduced to the archaeological analysis of human remains - in order to answer key questions about the lives and deaths of people in the past, and our evolution as a species. We will also explore some of the diverse past societal attitudes towards death in the archaeological record - from the earliest evidence of deliberate and ritual treatments of human remains, to the enshrinement of death, burial, and the afterlife through ritual and religious practices around the world. Through hands-on laboratory classes, the subject will introduce students to a range of scientific techniques that allow us as archaeologists to assess an individual's age at death; their sex; the activities, accidents, and diseases that formed their lives (and often deaths); and even their diets and movements, all of which can be recorded in their (or your) bones. Finally, we will examine the ethical issues stemming from the archaeological analysis of human remains, from modern best-practices to past scandals and abuses.

SchoolHumanities and Social Sciences

Credit points15

Subject Co-ordinatorAndy Herries

Available to Study Abroad/Exchange StudentsYes

Subject year levelYear Level 3 - UG

Available as ElectiveYes

Learning ActivitiesTutorial discussions, workshops and in-class activities.

Capstone subjectNo

Subject particulars

Subject rules

Prerequisites Students must have completed at least 120cp of subjects OR by subject coordinator's approval


Incompatible subjectsARC3SCI

Equivalent subjectsN/A

Quota Management StrategyN/A

Quota-conditions or rulesN/A

Special conditionsN/A

Minimum credit point requirementN/A

Assumed knowledgeN/A

Career Ready


Work-based learningNo

Self sourced or Uni sourcedN/A

Entire subject or partial subjectN/A

Total hours/days requiredN/A

Location of WBL activity (region)N/A

WBL addtional requirementsN/A

Graduate capabilities & intended learning outcomes

Graduate Capabilities

Intended Learning Outcomes

01. Demonstrate the ability to locate and appropriately use relevant sources investigate and present justifiable arguments about the validity and usefulness of scientific techniques applied to osteoarchaeological remains.
02. Explain and discuss scientific techniques applied to human osteoarchaeological remains in both the field and the laboratory. This includes the principles behind the techniques and what they are used for and their limitations.
03. Examine and analyse scientific data applied to archaeological problems, generating arguments based on appropriate graphical and numerical manipulations
04. Synthesise and communicate an understanding of current trends, arguments, and controversies in areas of archaeological and forensic science.

Subject options

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Start date between: and    Key dates

Melbourne (Bundoora), 2021, Semester 1, Blended


Online enrolmentYes

Maximum enrolment sizeN/A

Subject Instance Co-ordinatorAndy Herries

Class requirements

Laboratory ClassWeek: 10 - 22
One 1.00 hour laboratory class per week on weekdays during the day from week 10 to week 22 and delivered via face-to-face.

LectureWeek: 10 - 22
One 2.00 hours lecture per week on weekdays during the day from week 10 to week 22 and delivered via face-to-face.


Assessment elementCommentsCategoryContributionHurdle% ILO*

Regular on-line quizzes through LMS (800 word equivalent)

N/AQuizzesIndividualNo20 SILO1, SILO2

Two 750-word workshop assignments (Total 1500 words)

N/AAssignmentIndividualNo40 SILO1, SILO2, SILO3

1500 word essay

N/AAssignmentIndividualNo40 SILO1, SILO2, SILO4