Institute of Archaeology
IoA Graduate Open Evenings

Forensic Anthropology


This course in intended to give the student an introduction to the techniques needed when dealing with human remains within the legal frame work: at a crime and mass fatality scene, and as well at the mortuary. The course provides students with the skills required to produce a basic legal statement based on the analysis of human remains as it is done at a mortuary, and to aid the police in the identification of the person(s) in question by understanding what the police looks for, and how to work within a multidisciplinary team of forensic archaeologists, entomologists, DNA specialists and others. It is expected that the students enrolling in this course has a basic knowledge of human osteology or have taken ARLCG143 Morphology and Palaeopathology of the Human Skeleton

Aims of the course

  • To introduce students to the wide range of crimes and circumstances where the Forensic Anthropologist is required.
  • To provide students with a comprehensive background in the function and role of forensic anthropological skills in forensic identification at the scene and mortuary.
  • To outline the role of other forensic specialists when arriving at an identification.
  • To introduce the students to the stages of body decomposition and how it applies to forensic identification.
  • To introduce the student in the analysis of cremated remains and the application in forensic cases.


On completion of the course the student should:

  • Fully understand the varied role of the forensic anthropologist
  • Have an understanding of what is required at a scene and at a mortuary.
  • Understand the importance of working within a multidisciplinary team
  • Recognize when the skills in human identification could assist the investigations, and when other specialists have to be called in.
  • Be able to write a simple report based on anthropological findings

Teaching Methods

Teaching the course is accomplished by a combination of formal lectures, as well as by discussion and practical sessions. Each teaching session focuses on a particular topic and has an associated reading list.

Course information

  • Code: ARCLG151
  • Credits: 15
  • Coordinator: Carolyn Rando
  • Prerequisite: It is expected that students have a basic knowledge of human osteology and biological profiling.
  • Handbook: openĀ»

For registered students


  • Runs every year

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