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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 Open Level 4 Credits 30 Availability Available in 2019/20


  • None


  • None.

Excluded Combination of Modules

  • None.


  • For students to learn how to conduct paleopathological research using a biocultural approach, by consideration of specific themes and the evidence used to investigate them.


  • The module will cover specific themes relevant to better understand and evaluate palaeopathological findings. These themes include: living (environment), eating (economy and diet), travelling and migrating (contact/trade and conflict), caring (treating health problems), and working (occupation). Issues such as age (lifecycles), sex, gender and social status and their effects on health through time will be considered.

Learning Outcomes

Subject-specific Knowledge:
  • In-depth knowledge of specific themes and how they can help to reconstruct past populations' health and lifestyle
Subject-specific Skills:
  • To critically collect and assess data and information from a wide range of sources such as the skeletal record, documentary evidence, artwork, archaeological materials and structures as well as ethnographic data
Key Skills:
  • Critical awareness of the need to study as many different aspects as possible - a holistic approach - to reconstruct health and disease in past populations.

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

  • Through lectures and seminars, students will consider how particular themes may be studied using both biological and cultural evidence.

Teaching Methods and Contact Hours

Activity Number Frequency Duration Total/Hours
Lectures 16 1-2 per week 1 hour 16
Tutorials 1 Once 2 hours 2
Seminars 10 Weekly 1-2 hours 10
Preparation & Reading 272
Total 300

Summative Assessment

Component: Essay Component Weighting: 50%
Element Length / duration Element Weighting Resit Opportunity
Essay 2,500 100%
Component: Poster Presentation Component Weighting: 50%
Element Length / duration Element Weighting Resit Opportunity
Poster Presentation 100%

Formative Assessment:

The preparation achived 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.