Last modified: 31 Jul 2023 11:19
Explore death in human society from the earliest formal burials to diverse modern practices world wide. This course incorporates archaeological studies of skeletons and mortuary sites as well as legal, anthropological and forensic perspectives. You will gain a complex understanding of one of the universal humans experiences and how those still living interact with death and the dead.
|Second Sub Session
|15 credits (7.5 ECTS credits)
Birth and death are universal human experiences. However, there are as many ways human societies experience death as there are ways to die. Archaeology has long focused on the discovery and interpretation of human remains and burials as a means of understanding and reconstructing past societies and is the discipline best situated to guide students through the longterm history of the diverse processes and human experiences of death, its study, and its impact on the living. Though this course offers a global perspective made up of different temporal and regional situations, we begin by considering the surprisingly varied mortuary practices of recent ‘Western’ societies and contemporary constructions of death, dying and mortuary practice.
Spanning the sciences and humanities, through this course you will learn how we study the dead and the methods we use to reconstruct how people in the past lived and died. We will explore familiar and unfamiliar cultural attitudes to death and what they can tell us about the human condition. Built around a series of distinctive topical cases we will study human relations with death from the archaeological evidence for the first deliberate burials to the elaborate burial systems of later prehistory to the social and legal contexts of burial today. Topics studied will also include human skeletal analysis in archaeology and forensic science, as well as the individual biographical information that can come from analysis of human remains. Close consideration will be given to taphonomy, or the physical process of burial and decay, of human remains in various burial conditions as well as to the physical and social construction of cemeteries and other mortuary spaces.
Information on contact teaching time is available from the course guide.
There are no assessments for this course.
|Practice at concise short report and essay writing through creation of portfolio elements.
|Wide ranging knowledge of human diverse mortuary practice
|Introduction to the practice of Osteoarchaeology and Forensic science
|Experience the intersection of science, social science and the humanities.