MSc Human Osteology and Funerary Archaeology

The below module information is relevant for our MSc in Human Osteology and Funerary Archaeology

A human skull is unearthed at a dig site.

Over the course of the MSc programme, you will need to study modules that equate to the value of 180 credits. Some of these credits will be taken up by our core modules, which are designed to give you the breadth of knowledge and ways of thinking necessary to the degree being awarded. For your remaining credits, you will be able to choose from a range of optional modules, allowing you to shape your degree to the topics that interest you.

Biological Anthropology I (15 Credits)

This unit aims to provide students with an overview of the theoretical and ethical background to the biological study of human skeletal remains from archaeological sites and the opportunity to acquire core skills and expertise in essential analytical skills such as the assessment of age, sex and stature, metric and non-metric variation. A general introduction will be provided to the ways in which taphonomic processes and funerary activities impact on the skeleton alongside the means by which osteological data are interpreted and contextualised.

Biological Anthropology II (15 Credits)

These classes expand on the core material covered in Biological Anthropology I and cover the application of biological anthropology to broad research questions concerning population demography, health and disease that are of fundamental importance in the study of past societies. Seminars explore current issues and key approaches by which analysis of the human skeleton can be contextualised.

Considerations/Prerequisites: Students wishing to select this module should first take Biological Anthropology I.

Funerary Archaeology (15 Credits)

Delivered through a series of chronologically-themed lectures and thematic seminars, case studies focus on the nature and interpretation of the burial record, and survey the methods of analysis, theoretical underpinnings and material residues of funerary ritual helping the student to develop a broad knowledge of world-wide burial rites and a nuanced understanding of the discipline of funerary archaeology.

Human Anatomy (15 Credits)

This module familiarises students with the human musculoskeletal system, providing knowledge of the head, neck and appendicular skeleton and its muscles and nerves, as well as insights into functional, developmental and comparative aspects of human morphology.

Considerations/Co-requisite: Students selecting this module should also take the module in Human Osteology.

Human Osteology (15 Credits)

In this module the students are introduced to the human skeleton, both adult and immature, and comparative primate skeletons. They are provided with in depth information on how to recognise individual bones, how to side elements by being familiar with all pertinent landmarks. They will also be introduced to the size and shape variation present in the skeleton of Homo sapiens.

Restrictions: This module is for students on MSc Human Osteology and Funerary Archaeology/MSc Osteoarchaeology/MSc Palaeoanthropology only.

Quantitative Methods in Anthropology & Archaeology (15 Credits)

This module introduces learners to current research methods for the analysis of archaeological and anthropological data using advanded statistical and computational methods. The module includes lectures and practical classes which explore a series of examples of the application of statistics and numerical methods to quantitative problems in the archaeological sciences including biological anthropology, palaeoanthropology and environmental archaeology.

Research Design: Planning, Execution & Presentation (15 Credits)

This module provides students with the advanced understanding they need to design an effective research project, that addresses a question relevant to current debate in archaeology, and in particular to plan a successful MA/MSc dissertation. It comprises six group seminar sessions and three seminars in which students from different courses are streamed to be taught subject-specific material by experts in the field. The module culminates in a research day during which students present their dissertation plans to their peers and staff assessors.

Assessment is in two parts: a succinct powerpoint presentation of dissertation proposal and outline; and a grant proposal.

Considerations: Students wishing to undertake a work placement are advised not to select this module.

Dissertation (60 Credits)

This module requires students to plan, execute and write up an original research project. This dissertation project is chosen with, and approved by, the designated supervisor, who may or may not be the programme director. Dissertation topics must be based on original research and on the students' own ideas: they must be worthwhile, affordable, manageable within time limits, capable of supervision within the Department and related to the subject matter on the appropriate Masters.

This can be in a Standard Style or in a Journal Paper Style 

Students who choose the Journal Paper Style of dissertation will place particular emphasis on synthetic writing and an ability to familiarise themselves with journal publication submission and style

The content of our courses is reviewed annually to make sure it is up-to-date and relevant. Individual modules are occasionally updated or withdrawn. This is in response to discoveries through our world-leading research, funding changes, professional accreditation requirements, student or employer feedback, outcomes of reviews, and variations in staff or student numbers. In the event of any change we'll consult and inform students in good time and take reasonable steps to minimise disruption.

Information last updated: 14 July 2020

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