Anthropological Sciences 430


ANSC 430: Bioarchaeology

Prerequisites: ANSC 201 and ANSC 302 or permission of instructor

Credit Hours: (3)

This course is an introduction to the discipline of Bioarchaeology, the application of biological anthropology techniques to questions of an archaeological nature. Classes will be a combination of lecture, laboratory, seminar discussion, and student presentations.

Detailed Description of Course

Method and theory in Bioarchaeology

Reconstructing demography in ancient populations:
    Age, sex, stature

Effects of stress on the skeleton:
    Anemia, malnutrition and disease
    Infectious disease

Reconstructing diet from the dentition
    Dental caries, calculus, abscesses, dental wear

Using bone chemistry to reconstruct diet and migration patterns in the past
    Nitrogen, carbon, strontium, etc.

Examination of trauma on skeletons

Reconstruction of genetic relationships in past populations

Ethics in Bioarchaeology

Detailed Description of Conduct of Course

The course material is presented in the form of lectures to initially introduce the information, laboratory exercises to give the students the practical knowledge of the given method and finally critical review and discussion of original research articles.  

Goals and Objectives of the Course

Having successfully completed this course, the student will be able to discuss and employ many of the fundamental skeletal biology methods and techniques that are used in biological anthropology. The student will be able to read and evaluate the primary literature on these topics and understand how these methods have been employed in previous investigations. This course will enable the student to competently use these methods in their own research both during their formal education at Radford, but also upon graduation and entering the workforce or graduate school.  

Assessment Measures

Students will be assessed using several strategies:

• In-class exams will assess students' mastery of lecture and reading materials.  
• Each student will prepare at least one research paper on a topic chosen and developed in consultation with the instructor.
• Because class meetings will include laboratory demonstrations and seminar style discussion, attendance and participation are mandatory (with reasonable exceptions) and will be included in student assessment.  
• Weekly participation in seminar discussions may include preparing short writing assignments summarizing and/or critiquing the reading materials, in-class presentations on selected topics, and leading class discussions on specific topics. These weekly discussion and writing assignments are designed to help students develop the skills necessary to read, evaluate, and summarize the professional literature.
• Assessment may also include short weekly quizzes and demonstrations of laboratory applications when appropriate.

Other Course Information

Review and Approval
December, 2009