Human Osteology Short Courses

Those with queries about the course please email Dr Sam Purchase (

The course will take place between 8 - 10 April 2024.

Registration is now open.

Skulls in Ella Armitage lab

Led by doctoral researchers in Human Osteology and departmental staff, our Human Osteology short course provides a broad introduction to the skills and techniques of skeletal analysis of archaeological human remains.

Ranging from basic anatomy to skeletal pathology, this course is ideal as a taster for people interested in pursuing further study in biological anthropology/human osteology; a refresher for those who have previously worked with archaeological human remains; or an opportunity for amateur enthusiasts to learn more about what goes on in the osteology lab.

Course participants benefit from full access to our world-class teaching collections and facilities, along with the expertise of the department’s staff and researchers.

The course balances academic quality with friendly, engaging tuition.

Costs: £200 or £140 concession

Location: In-person in the Department of Archaeology at the University of Sheffield

Apply: The application portal 

Indicative content

Day 1

Human skeletal anatomy

Identifying and siding bones of the human skeleton

Laying out and recording a skeleton

Bone microstructure

Biological sex

Sexual dimorphism in the pelvis and skull

Assessing biological sex

Day 2

Age assessment

Growth and maturation of the skeleton

Degenerative changes in adults

Methods of age assessment

Human skeletal variation

Estimating stature

Ancestry and population affinities

Skeletal variation - nonmetric traits

Day 3

Skeletal pathology Disease and trauma
Funerary archaeology A funerary context for human remains

The course will also include opportunities to analyse skeletons from our teaching and research collections, and to assess your own learning in an informal ‘spotter test’.

Cancellations and refunds

Refund requests should be made by email to, no less than 7 days before the start of the course. We will endeavour to fill the course place, and in the event that a replacement is found a full refund will be made. If a replacement cannot be found a refund of 50% of the course fee will be made for cancellations made more than 7 days before the start of the course. No refund will be made for cancellations made less than 7 days before the course start date.

At the discretion of the course organisers, and in exceptional circumstances, participants that are unable to attend can defer their enrolment until the next Human Osteology short course.
If you are experiencing any difficulty please contact us as early as possible.

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