Bioarchaeology is concerned with the investigation of human and animal skeletal remains to understand the lives of individuals and communities in the past, in relation to their social, cultural, economic, palaeoenvironmental and evolutionary contexts. The subject sits firmly at the interface of the science and humanities within archaeology and anthropology, and it has strong links with a range of academic disciplines, including archaeology, archaeological science, physical and social anthropology. We offer two specialist pathways within the overall context of bioarchaeology:
- MSc Bioarchaeology (Anthropology)
- MSc Bioarchaeology (Osteoarchaeology)
The anthropology pathway is set within the wider context and perspective of archaeological studies, with options to explore evolutionary and palaeoenvironmental themes, whilst the osteoarchaeology pathway gives you the opportunity to engage in more advanced study of non-human faunal remains. Practical experience of the methods and techniques used for recording and analysing osteological remains is imperative and therefore embedded throughout the course.
Detailed study in skeletal anatomy and analysis of all common forms of human remains encountered in archaeological settings prepares you for the in-depth study of major aspects of the human life, from demography to diet, disease, activity, mobility, genetics and mortuary behaviour. The aspects of taphonomy and degradation of human remains as elements of critical appraisal of the source material will also be covered. Animal bones and human remains are amongst the most common finds on archaeological excavations of all periods. They can provide abundant information about past human populations, their behaviour and beliefs, diet, economy and the natural world. The archaeological profession has an established and increasing need for staff with osteoarchaeological training, to assist in the interpretation of archaeological sites and understanding the human experience in the past, particularly their relationship with animals.
The osteoarchaeology pathway aims to enhance career opportunities for graduates from a variety of fields and for practising archaeologists seeking to expand their expertise. The sub-disciplines of human and animal osteoarchaeology have much in common at a core level. By covering both human and animal remains, this course affords a breadth of knowledge, leaving you well placed to specialise further through the research project. The pathway provides an excellent foundation if you wish to pursue a career as a specialist osteoarchaeological practitioner, researcher or as an academic within the archaeological profession. Similarly, the anthropology pathway provides opportunities in the direction of the deeper human past and is ideal if you intend to pursue doctoral-level study of human evolution.
Next start date:
September 2020, January 2021, September 2021
Bournemouth University, Talbot Campus
September: 12 months full-time. January: 16 months full-time. 2 years part-time
Archaeology, History, Biological Sciences, Biological Anthropology or Anthropology
A Bachelors Honours degree with 2:1 in a required subject. For more information check out our full entry requirements.
International entry requirements:
If English is not your first language you'll need IELTS 6.5 (Academic) with a minimum of 5.5 in each component. For more information check out our full entry requirements.