• Class Number 7519
  • Term Code 3160
  • Class Info
  • Unit Value 6 units
  • Mode of Delivery In Person
    • Dr Stacey Ward
    • Dr Clare McFadden
    • Dr Laura Wilson
  • Class Dates
  • Class Start Date 26/07/2021
  • Class End Date 29/10/2021
  • Census Date 14/09/2021
  • Last Date to Enrol 02/08/2021
SELT Survey Results

This course offers students an introductory training in the fields of Forensic Anthropology and Archaeology. Students will be trained in recovering forensic evidence using archaeological methods, both practically (as part of field training) and theoretically. The basics of human biological profile reconstruction will also be taught in a lab setting. We will cover a variety of topics that pertain to crime scene investigation, including how to identify skeletonised human remains. This course focuses solely on medico-legal contexts of human remains, with examples from domestic and international cases. Student will gain a set of skills necessary, and appropriate in terms of the requirements of the Australian medico-legal professions, for the practical management and excavation of a body/crime scene.

Learning Outcomes

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

  1. reconstruct a basic biological profile from a set of human skeletal remains;
  2. recover forensic evidence using archaeological methods as part of a mock excavation in the field;
  3. analyse and report forensic evidence in a written format;
  4. describe, explain, and critically evaluate methods used in Forensic Anthropology; and
  5. discuss and construct an academic argument around an issue/ issues in Forensic Anthropology and Archaeology case(s), including in your argument suggestions for improving current methods and standards in Forensic Anthropology/ Archaeology.

Field Trips

A mock crime scene excavation is being held on campus in Week 6 (30th August - 1st September). If you are in Canberra, it is mandatory that you attend this excavation. Sessions will run from 8am-12noon and 1-5pm on Monday the 30th and Tuesday the 31st of August. Extra sessions may be offered on Wednesday the 1st of September depending on class numbers. In Week 2, you will be required to select ONE excavation session to attend. Please note, no lectures or labs will be offered in Week 6 due to the excavation taking place.

Additional Course Costs

For safety during the excavation, it is recommended that students supply the following: Old, warm, long-sleeved clothing, sturdy closed-toe boots or shoes, gardening gloves, a rain jacket, warm hat, sun hat, sunglasses (optional), wet-weather pants (optional), and a drink bottle/thermos. Please note you are likely to get muddy/dirty while on site so you are advised not to bring new/special clothing or items on site. A more detailed list of equipment required for the mock crime scene excavation will be provided in Week 2.

Required Resources

Core Textbook:

Students require either a hardcopy or e-book of the following text-book for use in the lab and during the crime scene excavation: White TD, and Folkens PA. 2005. The Human Bone Manual. Boston: Academic Press. This book retails for $40-60 online and can be found at bookshops such as Dymocks. If you have a computer, you can access this text as an eBook via the ANU library catalogue.

Lab Equipment:

You must wear a clean white labcoat to all in-person lab sessions. Lab coats are compulsory protective clothing for the lab. Therefore, no lab coat, no entry.

For those of you who need to purchase a lab coat, we recommend an ANU embroidered coat. These are for sale at Harry Hartog's on campus and cost approximately $27: https://www.harryhartog.com.au/anu/lab-coat-anu-embroidered/2770002381398/buy-online tel: 02 6230 0197, anu@harryhartog.com.au

The following titles are not compulsory reading, but will provide extra background information that may assist you in completing this course:

  • Bass, W.M. 2005. Human Osteology: A Laboratory and Field Manual. Columbia, Missouri: Missouri Archaeological Society.
  • Scheuer L., Black S., and Christie A. 2000. Developmental Juvenile Osteology. San Diego, CA: Academic Press.
  • Boyd, C.C., Jr, and Boyd, D.C. 2018. Forensic Anthropology: Theoretical Framework and Scientific Basis. Newark: John Wiley & Sons.
  • Blau, S. and Ubelaker, D.H. 2009. Handbook of Forensic Anthropology and Archaeology. Walnut Creek: Left Coast Press.
  • Hunter, J. and Cox, M. 2005. Forensic Archaeology: Advances in Theory and Practice. Abingdon: Routledge.
  • Klepinger, L.L. 2006. Fundamentals of Forensic Anthropology. Hoboken, N.J.: Wiley-Liss.
  • Tersigni-Tarrant, M.A., Shirley, N.R., and Langley, N.R. 2012. Forensic Anthropology: An Introduction. Boca Raton: CRC Press.

Staff Feedback

Students will be given feedback in the following forms in this course:

  • Individual assignments and associated written feedbackwill be provided digitally via the Turnitin portal on Wattle.
  • General written feedback will be provided to the class as a group using the 'Announcements' forum on Wattle
  • Verbal feedback will be provided to lab groups at the start of relevant lab sessions
  • Individual verbal feedback and marks sheets can be obtained by making an appointment to see Stacey or Clare.

Student Feedback

ANU is committed to the demonstration of educational excellence and regularly seeks feedback from students. Students are encouraged to offer feedback directly to their Course Convener or through their College and Course representatives (if applicable). The feedback given in these surveys is anonymous and provides the Colleges, University Education Committee and Academic Board with opportunities to recognise excellent teaching, and opportunities for improvement. The Surveys and Evaluation website provides more information on student surveys at ANU and reports on the feedback provided on ANU courses.

Class Schedule

Week/Session Summary of Activities Assessment
1 LAB: Postcranial Anatomy
2 LAB: The Skull and Dentition
3 LAB: Age Estimation
4 LAB: Other Identifying Features
5 LAB: Sex Estimation
6 Mid-Semester Break 6th-19th September Essay due 9:00am Monday 6th September 2021
7 LAB: Evidence Analysis
8 LAB: Evidence Analysis Lab Report 1 due 9:00am Monday 27th September 2021
9 LAB: Evidence Analysis Lab Report 2 due 9:00am Monday 4th October 2021
10 LAB: Evidence Analysis Lab Report 3 due 9:00am Monday 11th October 2021
11 LAB: Evidence Analysis Lab Report 4 due 9:00am Monday 18th October 2021
12 LAB: Evidence Analysis Lab Report 5 due 9:00am Monday 25th October 2021
13 Semester 2 Exam Period Begins Crime Scene Report due 9:00am Monday 1st November 2021

Tutorial Registration

Students must register to attend both a weekly lab practical session and an excavation session for the mock excavation in Week 6. Lab registrations will be available on Wattle two weeks prior to semester beginning and excavation registrations will be available from Week 2.

Assessment Summary

Assessment task Value Due Date Return of assessment Learning Outcomes
Essay 35 % 06/09/2021 20/09/2021 4, 5
5 x Lab Report 25 % * * 2, 3
Crime Scene Analysis Report 40 % 01/11/2021 19/11/2021 1, 2, 3, 4, 5

* If the Due Date and Return of Assessment date are blank, see the Assessment Tab for specific Assessment Task details


ANU has educational policies, procedures and guidelines, which are designed to ensure that staff and students are aware of the University’s academic standards, and implement them. Students are expected to have read the Academic Misconduct Rule before the commencement of their course. Other key policies and guidelines include:

Assessment Requirements

The ANU is using Turnitin to enhance student citation and referencing techniques, and to assess assignment submissions as a component of the University's approach to managing Academic Integrity. For additional information regarding Turnitin please visit the ANU Online website Students may choose not to submit assessment items through Turnitin. In this instance you will be required to submit, alongside the assessment item itself, hard copies of all references included in the assessment item.

Moderation of Assessment

Marks that are allocated during Semester are to be considered provisional until formalised by the College examiners meeting at the end of each Semester. If appropriate, some moderation of marks might be applied prior to final results being released.


Students are strongly encouraged to attend all lab sessions throughout the semester. Lab attendance is necessary for completing Assessment Tasks 2 and 3.

Some lectures for this course will NOT be recorded as they involve sensitive content drawn from real forensic cases. You must attend these lecture live via Zoom or you will miss the lecture! Lectures that will not be recorded will be identified on Wattle to help you plan your attendance.

  • If you miss a lecture due to lack of organisation/sleeping in/forgetting to attend, lecture notes will NOT be provided. You are encouraged to talk to your classmates to see if they will share a copy of their notes for that class instead.
  • If you have missed the class due to extenuating circumstances such as illness, and you are able to provide documentation of this, the course convenor may provide you with notes.


There are no formal examinations for this course as all assessments are completed during course time.

Assessment Task 1

Value: 35 %
Due Date: 06/09/2021
Return of Assessment: 20/09/2021
Learning Outcomes: 4, 5


Students will be required to complete a 3000 word essay describing and evaluating current issues/challenges in forensic anthropology. Each essay must also include a case study drawn from recent research in forensic anthropology. A list of essay questions to choose from, along with detailed instructions on essay writing, will be provided on Wattle in Week 1 of the course.

Value: 35%

Due Date: 9:00am Monday 6th September 2021

Estimated return date: 5:00pm Monday 20th September 2021

Assessment Task 2

Value: 25 %
Learning Outcomes: 2, 3

5 x Lab Report

Practical labs in Weeks 7-12 are dedicated to analysing the evidence recovered during the mock crime scene excavation. Students will write one 250 word summary of each of these five labs, documenting their ongoing analysis and interpretation of the evidence on a weekly basis. Summaries should be presented professionally in the style of lab book, and may include information on the aim/goals of that day's lab, materials analysed, methods used, observations, thoughts, discussions had with classmates, preliminary findings, things to follow up, challenges faced, and lists of images/drawings made during the session. The aim of this assessment is to help students develop the record keeping skills neccessary for managing analytical projects and for documenting interactions with evidence. Detailed instructions will be provided on Wattle.

Value: 25% (5 reports worth 5% each)

Due Dates: 9:00am Monday 27th September, Monday 4th October, Monday 11th October, Monday 18th October and Monday 25th October 2021

Estimated return date: 5:00pm Friday 8th October, Friday 15th October, Friday 22nd October, Friday 29th October, and Friday 5th November

Assessment Task 3

Value: 40 %
Due Date: 01/11/2021
Return of Assessment: 19/11/2021
Learning Outcomes: 1, 2, 3, 4, 5

Crime Scene Analysis Report

Students will produce a 3500 word report detailing their analysis of the evidence recovered from the mock crime scene excavation. This report should be written in the style of a forensic consultancy report and should cover the background of the excavation, methods used for the excavation, nformation on any evidentiary materials recovered, methods used for the analysis of the human remains, results of this analysis, and a discussion and interpretation of the crime scene. The report should be supported by brief appendices, data tables, personnel logs, evidence logs, and images. Detailed instructions will be provided on Wattle.

Value: 40%

Due Date: 9:00am Monday 1st November 2021

Estimated return date: 5:00pm Friday 12th November

Academic Integrity

Academic integrity is a core part of our culture as a community of scholars. At its heart, academic integrity is about behaving ethically. This means that all members of the community commit to honest and responsible scholarly practice and to upholding these values with respect and fairness. The Australian National University commits to embedding the values of academic integrity in our teaching and learning. We ensure that all members of our community understand how to engage in academic work in ways that are consistent with, and actively support academic integrity. The ANU expects staff and students to uphold high standards of academic integrity and act ethically and honestly, to ensure the quality and value of the qualification that you will graduate with. The University has policies and procedures in place to promote academic integrity and manage academic misconduct. Visit the following Academic honesty & plagiarism website for more information about academic integrity and what the ANU considers academic misconduct. The ANU offers a number of services to assist students with their assignments, examinations, and other learning activities. The Academic Skills and Learning Centre offers a number of workshops and seminars that you may find useful for your studies.

Online Submission

The ANU uses Turnitin to enhance student citation and referencing techniques, and to assess assignment submissions as a component of the University's approach to managing Academic Integrity. While the use of Turnitin is not mandatory, the ANU highly recommends Turnitin is used by both teaching staff and students. For additional information regarding Turnitin please visit the ANU Online website.

Hardcopy Submission

For some forms of assessment (hand written assignments, art works, laboratory notes, etc.) hard copy submission is appropriate when approved by the Associate Dean (Education). Hard copy submissions must utilise the Assignment Cover Sheet. Please keep a copy of tasks completed for your records.

Late Submission

Late submission of extension tasks is permitted only where an extension has been granted. Assessment tasks submitted after the due date without an extension are penalised at the rate of 5% of the possible marks available per working day or part thereof. Late submission of assessment tasks is not accepted after 10 working days after the due date, or on or after the date specified in the course outline for the return of the assessment item.

Please note that EAP students must provide a valid EAP for the course before an extension can be granted. Where extensions are suggested as an adjustment under the EAP, students will receive one extension per assignment. If additional assessments are needed, further documentation (on top of the EAP) will be required.

  • To apply for an extension, please visit: https://cass-seo.anu.edu.au/
  • To learn more about the rule around late submission, please visit https://policies.anu.edu.au/ppl/document/ANUP_004604

Referencing Requirements

Accepted academic practice for referencing sources that you use in presentations can be found via the links on the Wattle site, under the file named “ANU and College Policies, Program Information, Student Support Services and Assessment”. Alternatively, you can seek help through the Students Learning Development website.

Returning Assignments

  • All grades will be recorded in the Wattle Gradebook
  • All assignments and associated feedback will be returned digitally through the Turnitin portal on Wattle.

Extensions and Penalties

Extensions and late submission of assessment pieces are covered by the Student Assessment (Coursework) Policy and Procedure The Course Convener may grant extensions for assessment pieces that are not examinations or take-home examinations. If you need an extension, you must request an extension in writing on or before the due date. If you have documented and appropriate medical evidence that demonstrates you were not able to request an extension on or before the due date, you may be able to request it after the due date.

Resubmission of Assignments

Resubmission of assignments is not permitted for this course.

Privacy Notice

The ANU has made a number of third party, online, databases available for students to use. Use of each online database is conditional on student end users first agreeing to the database licensor’s terms of service and/or privacy policy. Students should read these carefully. In some cases student end users will be required to register an account with the database licensor and submit personal information, including their: first name; last name; ANU email address; and other information. In cases where student end users are asked to submit ‘content’ to a database, such as an assignment or short answers, the database licensor may only use the student’s ‘content’ in accordance with the terms of service — including any (copyright) licence the student grants to the database licensor. Any personal information or content a student submits may be stored by the licensor, potentially offshore, and will be used to process the database service in accordance with the licensors terms of service and/or privacy policy. If any student chooses not to agree to the database licensor’s terms of service or privacy policy, the student will not be able to access and use the database. In these circumstances students should contact their lecturer to enquire about alternative arrangements that are available.

Distribution of grades policy

Academic Quality Assurance Committee monitors the performance of students, including attrition, further study and employment rates and grade distribution, and College reports on quality assurance processes for assessment activities, including alignment with national and international disciplinary and interdisciplinary standards, as well as qualification type learning outcomes. Since first semester 1994, ANU uses a grading scale for all courses. This grading scale is used by all academic areas of the University.

Support for students

The University offers students support through several different services. You may contact the services listed below directly or seek advice from your Course Convener, Student Administrators, or your College and Course representatives (if applicable).
Dr Stacey Ward
+61 2 6125 9295

Research Interests

Dr Stacey Ward

By Appointment
Dr Clare McFadden
+61 2 6125 5331

Research Interests

Dr Clare McFadden

By Appointment
Dr Laura Wilson
+61 2 6125 8226

Research Interests

Dr Laura Wilson

By Appointment

Responsible Officer: Registrar, Student Administration / Page Contact: Website Administrator / Frequently Asked Questions