Field Excavation and Recovery Methods - SACO8180

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Module delivery information

This module is not currently running in 2022 to 2023.


This module will teach students the steps from finding human remains (mapping and carrying out a survey) to taking the remains into the lab for analysis. Students gain experience in designing and laying out an excavation grid, learning how to record and photograph human remains and contextual evidence found in the field. Finally the students will have hands on learning experience in recording and bagging the finds and creating a chain of evidence. This module will look at the challenges of a single and multiple burials and mass disasters.


Contact hours

Total contact hours: 24
Private study hours: 126
Total study hours: 150


MSc Forensic Osteology and Field Recovery Methods

Method of assessment

Field Report (3500 words) (60%)
Essay (2500 words) (40%).

Reassessment methods: Like for Like.

Indicative reading

Reading list (Indicative list, current at time of publication. Reading lists will be published annually)

Hestler, T.R., Shafer, H.J and Feder, K.L. (2009) Field Methods in Archaeology:7th edition Routledge

Dupras, T.L., Schultz, J.J., Wheeler, S.M. and Williams, L.J. 2011 Forensic Recovery of Human Remains: Archaeological Approaches

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:

8.1 have a systematic understanding of how to survey and knowledge of identification methods

8.2 have comprehensive understanding of how to record burial layout, orientation and location of human remains and contextual evidence.

8.3 have comprehensive understanding of how to excavate human remains and how to recover contextual evidence.

8.4 have systematic understanding of how to photographing, label and bag human remains and contextual evidence.

The intended generic learning outcomes. On successfully completing the module students will be able to:

9.1. critically evaluate and problem solve.

9.2. organise and present information in a clear and concise manner.

9.3. demonstrate advanced development of laboratory and practical skills.

9.4. demonstrate further development of communication both orally and in writing.


  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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