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Durham University

Postgraduate Modules 2019/2020

Module Description

Please ensure you check the module availability box for each module outline, as not all modules will run in each academic year. Each module description relates to the year indicated in the module availability box. Please be aware that modules may change from year to year, and may be amended to take account of, for example: changing staff expertise, disciplinary developments, the requirements of external bodies and partners, and student feedback.

Department: Archaeology


Type Tied Level 4 Credits 30 Availability Available in 2019/20
Tied to F4K809 Palaeopathology (Last intake of students October 2018)


  • None


  • None

Excluded Combination of Modules

  • None.


  • To equip students with knowledge of the normal anatomy and physiology of the skeleton so as to be able to recognise abnormal anatomy and to be familiar with basic methods of analysis relevant for human and osteology and palaeopathology.


  • The module will cover basic anatomy and physiology of the human skeleton, methods of identifying fragmentary material (including cremated human remains) and estimating minimum numbers of individuals, age and sex estimation methods for adult and non-adult skeletal material, metrical and non-metrical analysis of human remains and osteological methods. The emphasis will be on critical assessment of methods used and data generated within the context of current issues in the study of human remains from archaeological sites.

Learning Outcomes

Subject-specific Knowledge:
  • Normal human anatomy, methods of age and sex estimation, stature estimation, palaeodemography
Subject-specific Skills:
  • Recording of osteological parameters
Key Skills:
  • Good knowledge of normal human anatomy and anatomical variation.

Modes of Teaching, Learning and Assessment and how these contribute to the learning outcomes of the module

  • Through lecture and laboratory sessions, to allow students to explore practical and theoretical concepts and become familiar with the normal morphological appearance of the skeleton and methods used for analysis.

Teaching Methods and Contact Hours

Activity Number Frequency Duration Total/Hours
Lectures 10 Weekly 2 hours 20
Practicals 10 Weekly 2 hours 20
Preparation and Reading 260
Total 300

Summative Assessment

Component: Essay Component Weighting: 40%
Element Length / duration Element Weighting Resit Opportunity
Essay 2,500 words 100%
Component: fragment identification tests Component Weighting: 10%
Element Length / duration Element Weighting Resit Opportunity
fragment identification test 1 20 min 50%
fragment identification test 2 20 min 50%
Component: Practical Test Component Weighting: 50%
Element Length / duration Element Weighting Resit Opportunity
Practical Test 1 hour 100%

Formative Assessment:

The preparation achieved in the module RSAS that precedes this module is considered to be sufficient formative preparation for the summative assignment in this module.

Attendance at all activities marked with this symbol will be monitored. Students who fail to attend these activities, or to complete the summative or formative assessment specified above, will be subject to the procedures defined in the University's General Regulation V, and may be required to leave the University

    If you have a question about Durham's modular degree programmes, please visit our User Guide. If you have a question about modular programmes that is not covered by the User Guide, or a query about the Postgraduate Module Handbook, please contact us using the Comments and Questions form below.