This module examines the contribution of biological anthropology to the study of forensic science and provides students with a detailed understanding of the methods and theory of forensic anthropology. We cover topics such as biological profiling, field excavation and recovery, forensic taphonomy, identity, trauma and expert witness testimony. By the end of this module students will know how biological anthropology is applied in a forensic arena, and understand how human remains are recovered and analysed.
Students are introduced to concepts applied in forensic anthropology. Students will learn how human remains are recovered on scales ranging from single burials through to mass graves and mass fatality incidents. Students are introduced to environmental factors influencing crime scene recovery and skeletal material and will learn about the importance of other forensic specialities such as forensic odontology, forensic facial approximation, and isotope analysis. Students will also acquire an understanding of the role of a forensic anthropologist in the courtroom.
Total contact hours: 24
Private study hours: 126
Total study hours: 150
BSc Biological Anthropology
Available as an elective module
Method of assessment
Expert witness affidavit (30%)
Poster (hand-in) & poster presentation (40%)
Critical analysis of expert witness testimony (30%)
Reassessment: Like for Like
Boyd, C. C. & Boyd D. C. (Eds.) (2018). Forensic anthropology: Theoretical framework and scientific basis, Wiley.
Christensen, A. M., Passalacqua, N. V. & Bartelink, E. J. (Eds.) (2014). Forensic anthropology: Current methods and practice, Elsevier.
Schotsmans, E. M., Forbes, S. L. & Márquez-Grant, N. (Eds.). (2017). Taphonomy of human remains: forensic analysis of the dead and the depositional environment, Wiley.
On successfully completing the module students will be able to:
8.1 Critically apply anthropological methods in a legal setting.
8.2 Employ the methods used to build a biological profile, forensic taphonomy, disaster victim identification, and understand how these data are utilised to answer specific medico-legal questions.
8.3 Relate ethical thinking with working with human remains within the legal system.
8.4 Evaluate critically new research methods in the field of forensic anthropology.
8.5 Demonstrate a systematic understanding of the crime scene to court process.
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