Forensic Archaeology - PSCI5020

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Module delivery information

This module is not currently running in 2024 to 2025.


Dating: Radioactive decay and detection of radiation, radiocarbon dating and related methods, accelerator mass spectrometry, uranium series dating, potassium-argon dating, radioactive tracers, isotope dilution, neutron activation, stable isotope techniques with forensic applications, electron spin resonance spectroscopy, thermoluminescence dating and thermal history.
Detection: Magnetometry, metal detectors, resistivity surveys, ground penetrating radar, aerial photography, and remote sensing.
Osteology: The study of human osteology is fundamental to the discipline of forensic anthropology. This series of lectures begins by examining the structure, growth, and function of bones and teeth. Methods of skeletal analysis in forensic anthropology are then examined, including age, sex, stature, trauma, disease, and race. Applications in biological anthropology will also be reviewed.


Contact hours

Total contact hours: 22
Private study hours: 128
Total study hours: 150


This is not available as a wild module.

Method of assessment

Assignment 1 (5 hours, 5%)
Assignment 2 (5 hours, 5%)
Assignment 3 (5 hours, 5%)
Assignment 4 (5 hours, 5%)
Exam (2 hours, 70%)

Indicative reading

Zumdahl, Chemical Principles
Byers, S. 2005. Introduction to Forensic Anthropology. London: Pearson/Allyn and Bacon
White, T.D. 2000. Human Osteology. San Diego, California, London: Academic Press Inc.
J. Hunter & M. Cox, 2005. Forensic Archaeology. Routledge, London, 2005 - chapter 3
E.W. Killam. 2004. The Detection of Human Remains. Charles Thomas, Springfield - chapters 5-8
T.L. Dupras, J.J. Schultz, S.M. Wheeler & L.J. Williams. 2006. Forensic Recovery of Human Remains
Taylor and Francis, Boca Raton - chapter 4
Clark. 1990. Seeing Beneath the Soil. Batsford, London
White, T.D., Black, M.T., Folkens, P.A. 2011. Human Osteology. San Diego, California, London: Academic Press Inc.

See the library reading list for this module (Canterbury)

Learning outcomes

The intended subject specific learning outcomes. On successfully completing the module students will be able to:
Demonstrate knowledge of the principle areas of forensic archaeology including dating, detection and osteology.
Demonstrate knowledge and understanding of essential facts, concepts, principles and theories relating to forensic archaeology.
Apply such knowledge and understanding to the solution of problems.

The intended generic learning outcomes. On successfully completing the module students will be able to:
Use problem-solving skills, relating to qualitative and quantitative information.
Apply numeracy and computational skills.


  1. ECTS credits are recognised throughout the EU and allow you to transfer credit easily from one university to another.
  2. The named convenor is the convenor for the current academic session.
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