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Last modified: 28 Jun 2018 10:27

Course Overview

This course is portioned into three intensive short-courses, each focusing on one core biological approach used in archaeology. Topics offered will vary year to year, but may include isotope analysis; ancient DNA analysis; the study of animal and human remains; plant remains; and invertebrate, etc. Selected topics will be explored through lectures, and practical/workshop sessions, providing an overview of each research area, its relevance to archaeology, scope, potential and limitations.

Course Details

Study Type Undergraduate Level 4
Session First Sub Session Credit Points 15 credits (7.5 ECTS credits)
Campus Online Sustained Study No
  • Dr Kate Britton

Qualification Prerequisites


What courses & programmes must have been taken before this course?

  • Any Undergraduate Programme (Studied)
  • Distance Learning (Studied)

What other courses must be taken with this course?


What courses cannot be taken with this course?

  • KL401Y Bioarchaeology: Biological Approaches in Archaeology (Studied)

Are there a limited number of places available?


Course Description

This course aims to provide students with an understanding of core biological approaches used in modern archaeology to better understand and reconstruct past lifeways. The course consists of three intensive short-courses on a selection of key bioarchaeological research areas. Topics offered will vary year-on-year, reflecting in-house research specialisms, but may include isotope analysis, DNA, animal and human remains, plant remains, invertebrates, and geometric morphometrics. Through pre-recorded podcast style lectures, and practical/workshop sessions* students will gain an overview of each method, its relevance to archaeology, scope, potentials and limitations. Case studies will allow students to access key themes in bioarchaeological research, including human-environment interactions; subsistence, diet and health; and human and animal migrations, colonisations, and diasporas. 

During this course, students will have the opportunity to:

  • Acquire an understanding of the role biological sciences have to archaeology, and an appreciation of the development of the field of bioarchaeology and human palaeoecology
  • Become familiar with the range of bioarchaeological remains recovered from archaeological and Quaternary palaeoecological sites
  • Gain a broad knowledge of each of the bioarchaeological specialisms studied, and their relevance and applications to archaeological case studies
  • Gain a critical awareness of the potentials and limitations of selected bioarchaeological specialisms
  • Become adept at exploring and evaluating scientific/bioarchaeological literature

 *As this course is offered via both distance learning and on-campus study, the majority of practicals are computer-based and can be successfully completed off-campus.. Where practical sessions must take place on campus, distance-learning (Flexible Archaeology) students can choose to attend practical workshops (2-3 per semester) or will be assigned alternative computer-based data analysis practical exercises

Further Information & Notes

This course may NOT be included in a graduating curriculum with AY4014

Contact Teaching Time

Information on contact teaching time is available from the course guide.

Teaching Breakdown

More Information about Week Numbers

Details, including assessments, may be subject to change until 31 August 2023 for 1st half-session courses and 22 December 2023 for 2nd half-session courses.

Summative Assessments

1st Attempt: Continuous assessment (50%); exam (50%) Resit: Grade from continuous assessment carried forward (50%); resit exam (50%)

Formative Assessment

There are no assessments for this course.


Detailed written feed-back will be provided for coursework assignment, in the form of feedback sheets with clear marking rubrics and an annotated copy of the student's work.

Course Learning Outcomes


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