• Offered by School of Archaeology and Anthropology
  • ANU College ANU College of Arts and Social Sciences
  • Classification Transitional
  • Course subject Biological Anthropology
  • Areas of interest Anthropology, Archaeology, Biological Anthropology, Forensic Anthropology, Biology
  • Academic career PGRD
  • Course convener
    • Dr Justyna Miszkiewicz
  • Mode of delivery In Person
  • Co-taught Course
  • Offered in Second Semester 2018
    See Future Offerings

The content in this course is grounded in the fields of bioarchaeology and palaeopathology. Students will learn how to interpret past human lifestyles, health and disease from skeletal remains that derive from archaeological contexts. We will examine a variety of topics that include: degenerative, infectious, and metabolic disease, oral health and disease, as well as physical activity, physiological stress, skeletal trauma, and cancer. The course includes some practical lab work and tutorial discussions. Students will be trained in completing a differential diagnosis for a given skeletal abnormality. Emphasis is on the interactions between biology and behaviour and the influences of environment and culture. The multidisciplinary nature of reconstructing the lives of the dead is explored though the manner in which socio-cultural anthropology, archaeology, bioanthropology, chemistry, molecular biology, medicine and a host of other disciplines inform this research.

Learning Outcomes

Upon successful completion, students will have the knowledge and skills to:

Upon successful completion of this course, students will be able to:
  1. Complete a differential diagnosis for a given skeletal abnormality;
  2. Explain and describe how skeletal pathology and/or healthy skeletal variation are used to inform our current understanding of health, growth, diet, social interaction, and conflict in the past;
  3. Critically evaluate research in palaeopathology and bioarchaeology in a written form;
  4. Describe the relationship between skeletal growth, function, form, and developmental disturbance; and the many different skeletal manifestations of human disease in the past; and
  5. Suggest future research avenues to improve our current understanding of certain skeletal conditions occurring in the human past, and how those can inform modern day health and disease.

Indicative Assessment

Differential Diagnosis, 3000 words (35%) [Learning Outcomes 1, 2, 3, 4, 5]
Mid-semester advanced test, 1 hour (30%) [Learning Outcomes 3, 4]
Final written advanced exam, 2 hours (35%) [Learning Outcomes 2, 4, 5]


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130 hours of total student learning time made up from:
a) 36 hours of contact over 12 weeks: 24 hours of lectures and 12 hours of tutorials; and
b) 94 hours of independent student research, reading and writing.

Requisite and Incompatibility

You are not able to enrol in this course if you have previously completed BIAN3125


Tuition fees are for the academic year indicated at the top of the page.  

If you are a domestic graduate coursework or international student you will be required to pay tuition fees. Tuition fees are indexed annually. Further information for domestic and international students about tuition and other fees can be found at Fees.

Student Contribution Band:
Unit value:
6 units

If you are an undergraduate student and have been offered a Commonwealth supported place, your fees are set by the Australian Government for each course. At ANU 1 EFTSL is 48 units (normally 8 x 6-unit courses). You can find your student contribution amount for each course at Fees.  Where there is a unit range displayed for this course, not all unit options below may be available.

6.00 0.12500
Domestic fee paying students
Year Fee
2018 $3660
International fee paying students
Year Fee
2018 $5160
Note: Please note that fee information is for current year only.

Offerings, Dates and Class Summary Links

ANU utilises MyTimetable to enable students to view the timetable for their enrolled courses, browse, then self-allocate to small teaching activities / tutorials so they can better plan their time. Find out more on the Timetable webpage.

The list of offerings for future years is indicative only.
Class summaries, if available, can be accessed by clicking on the View link for the relevant class number.

Second Semester

Class number Class start date Last day to enrol Census date Class end date Mode Of Delivery Class Summary
8962 23 Jul 2018 30 Jul 2018 31 Aug 2018 26 Oct 2018 In Person N/A

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