The general objective of this course is to contextualize the importance of the study of human biological remnants for science, emphasizing how the knowledge of human osteology is applied in contexts of studies of populations of the past, human evolution, as well as forensic contexts, or violence and /or natural disasters. Bioanthropology is the holistic, interdisciplinary, epidemiological and biocultural analysis of human biological remnants, its importance in scientific terms is unquestionable. The general objective also adds to the discussion of the ethical issues, curation and conservation of human biological remnants.

At the end of this course, students will have skills to infer the biological profile of a skeleton, identify pathological changes, and the main constraints of this analysis. They will also be empowered to develop a summary curation plan for museum biological remains, under ethically acceptable conditions.

The course has as specific objectives to enable students:

  1. To estimate the biological profile of a skeleton and/or bone elements, in the field and in the laboratory;
  2. In the identification of pathological alterations, in the field and in the laboratory, which is essential in the analysis of the pathological profile;
  3. On the main ethical issues associated with the study of human biological remnants, in different contexts.

General characterization





Responsible teacher

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Weekly - Available soon

Total - 280

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Buikstra, J. E. (Ed.). (2018). Bioarchaeologists speak out: deep-time perspectives on contemporary issues. Springer.
Buikstra, J. E., & Beck, L. A. (Eds.). (2017). Bioarchaeology: the contextual analysis of human remains. Routledge.
Buikstra, J. E. and D. H. Ubelaker (1994). Standards for Data Collection from Human Skeletal Remains. Fayetteville, A.K, Arkansas Archaeological Survey.
Katzenberg, M. A., & Grauer, A. L. (Eds.). (2018). Biological anthropology of the human skeleton. John Wiley & Sons.
Ortner, D. J. (2003). Identification of pathological conditions in human skeletal remains. Academic Press.
Squires, K., Errickson, D., & Márquez-Grant, N. (Eds.). (2020). Ethical Approaches to Human Remains A Global Challenge in Bioarchaeology and Forensic Anthropology. Springer Nature.
White, T. D. & Folken, P. A. (2005). The Human Bone Manual Osteology. Amsterdam: Elsevier.

Teaching method

The course consists of a theoretical component essentially expository. Questionnaires will be incorporated during classes in order to test knowledge and clarify doubts. The practical component contains the handling of bone parts, assembly of skeletons and will be developed in workgroups, promoting discussion. During the analysis of bone parts and teeth, students filled out analysis sheets promoting a continuous review of the material exposed in the theoretical component.

Evaluation method

Evaluation Method - Assessment of knowledge in class via questionnaire/quizzes (40%), Evaluation of a final analysis report of a practical case(30%), Evaluation of the practical component analysis sheets(30%)

Subject matter

The syllabus of the course will focus on:

  1. Affection to the biological profile - introduction to methods for estimating age at death;

  2. Affection to the biological profile - introduction to the methods used in sexual diagnosis;

  3. Affection to the biological profile - introduction to the methods used in the morphological and osteometric characterization of human osteological material, and their use in estimating population parameters, such as age, sex, height and ancestry and/or population variability;

  4. Affection to the pathological profile - basic notions of paleopathology and its importance in the morphological characterization of individuals, bone pieces and pathology identifications;

  5. Ethical issues associated with Bioanthropology and BioArchaeology;

  6. Main methodological guidelines for the production of a technical report for the analysis of human remains.


Programs where the course is taught: