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Human Osteology Short Course


Department of Archaeology
University of Sheffield

8-10 April 2024 at Sheffield University in England.

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Those with queries about the course please email Dr Sam Purchase (

The course will take place between 8 - 10 April 2024. Registration is now open.

Costs: £200 or £140 concession

Location: In-person in the Department of Archaeology at the University of Sheffield



Led by doctoral researchers in Human Osteology and departmental staff, our Human Osteology short course provides a broad introduction to the skills and techniques of skeletal analysis of archaeological human remains.

Ranging from basic anatomy to skeletal pathology, this course is ideal as a taster for people interested in pursuing further study in biological anthropology/human osteology; a refresher for those who have previously worked with archaeological human remains; or an opportunity for amateur enthusiasts to learn more about what goes on in the osteology lab.

Course participants benefit from full access to our world-class teaching collections and facilities, along with the expertise of the department’s staff and researchers.

The course balances academic quality with friendly, engaging tuition.

The course will also include opportunities to analyse skeletons from our teaching and research collections, and to assess your own learning in an informal ‘spotter test’.

Indicative content

Day 1

Human skeletal anatomy:

  • Identifying and siding bones of the human skeleton
  • Laying out and recording a skeleton
  • Bone microstructure

Biological sex

  • Sexual dimorphism in the pelvis and skull
  • Assessing biological sex

Day 2

Age assessment

  • Growth and maturation of the skeleton
  • Degenerative changes in adults
  • Methods of age assessment

Human skeletal variation

  • Estimating stature
  • Ancestry and population affinities
  • Skeletal variation - nonmetric traits

Day 3

Skeletal pathology

  • Disease and trauma

Funerary archaeology

  • A funerary context for human remains

More information and application (copy link into browser):


Languages: English