• Class Number 2587
  • Term Code 3130
  • Class Info
  • Unit Value 6 units
  • Mode of Delivery In Person
    • Dr Stacey Ward
    • Dr Stacey Ward
  • Class Dates
  • Class Start Date 22/02/2021
  • Class End Date 28/05/2021
  • Census Date 31/03/2021
  • Last Date to Enrol 01/03/2021
    • Dr Clare McFadden
    • Dr Laura Wilson
SELT Survey Results

This course offers students training in the anatomy of the human skeleton and techniques used in biological profiling from skeletal remains. Students will be taught a range of skeletal biology techniques used to estimate age-at-death, biological sex, stature, and bone functional adaptation. We will cover the development, form, and function of human hard tissues (bones and teeth). Acquired skills will be of value to any students interested in skeletal studies including vertebrate biology, comparative skeletal anatomy, medicine, palaeontology, human and primate evolution, forensic sciences and archaeology.

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. Describe and explain advanced human skeletal structure: name and define hard tissues and their parts at a macroscopic (gross) and microscopic (histological) level;
  2. Describe and explain advanced fundamentals of human skeletal growth and metabolic processes in a developmental and functional context;
  3. Gain practical experience and develop skills in identification and analysis of human skeletal tissues;
  4. Outline the ethical treatment of human skeletal remains, and be able to recall key professional documents stipulating the code of ethics, guidance on care and curation of human remains; and
  5. Critically evaluate, in a written format, one method used in the analysis of human skeletal remains. 

Additional Course Costs

Lab coats are compulsory attire for in person lab sessions on campus (see required resources below). If you need to purchase a lab coat, these cost approximately $27 and can be found at workwear supply shops or at Harry Hartog's on the ANU campus.

Examination Material or equipment

  • Your own personal handwritten or typed notes are welcome in the open book end-of-semester take-home exam, as long as they paraphrase lecture/lab/reading content and do not copy it directly - we want to read your interesting work, not someone else's!
  • Please do not use lecture slides in the exam.

Required Resources

Core Textbook:

  • White TD, and Folkens PA. 2005. The Human Bone Manual. Boston: Academic Press.
  • This text is available as an eBook via the library catalogue.

Lab Equipment:

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

·        White, TD, Black, MT, Folkens, PA. 2012. Human osteology. Amsterdam: Academic Press.

·        Bass, WM. 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.

·        Hillson S. 1996. Dental Anthropology. Cambridge: Cambridge University Press.

·        Larsen CS. 2015. Bioarchaeology: Interpreting Behavior from the Human Skeleton. Cambridge, UK: Cambridge University Press.

Staff Feedback

  • Written (via Wattle) and verbal comments on lab quizzes (test scripts will be scanned for record keeping purposes and returned to you the following week)
  • Written comments on mid-semester test (test scripts can be viewed by appointment)
  • General verbal feedback to the class/group/lab/individuals
  • All grades will be recorded in the Wattle Gradebook

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.

Other Information


Where possible you will be required to attend labs in person in the Biological Anthropology lab on campus (Banks 2.39, Banks Building, 44 Linnaeus Way).

You will be invited to choose your lab slot via Wattle in Week 1

An online lab will be also be provided for those that cannot attend in person due to health and safety concerns, or who are stuck off campus as a result of COVID restrictions (details to be announced in Week 1). Please note, online labs are to be prioritized for those that cannot attend in person. If you have no medical concerns or current illness, and are nearby, you are encouraged to attend in person. All labs will be operated under COVIDSafe protocols to ensure health and safety.

Assigned Course Readings:

This course involves assigned (required) readings, which must completed prior to each lecture.

These readings will provide you with critical background knowledge for each lecture and increase your understanding of key course concepts.

The reading list for this course is available on Wattle.

All readings are available via the library website or as PDFs on Wattle.

Class Schedule

Week/Session Summary of Activities Assessment
1 Lecture: Introduction Lab: NO LAB
2 Lecture: Postcranial Anatomy Lab: Postcranial Anatomy
3 Lecture: Cranial and Dental Anatomy Lab: Cranial and Dental Anatomy Lab Test 1 (on Week 2 Material)
4 Lecture: Subadult Age Estimation Lab: Subadult Age Estimation Lab Test 2 (on Week 3 Material)
5 Lecture: Adult Age Estimation Lab: Adult Age Estimation Lab Test 3 (on Week 4 Material)
6 Lecture: Sex Estimation Lab: Sex Estimation
7 Lecture: Skeletal Development and Microstructure Lab: Mid-Semester Practical Test Mid-Semester Practical Test, 20%, held in lab time
8 Lecture: Skeletal Markers of Identity 1: Biodistance and Ancestry Lab: Skeletal Development and Microstructure
9 Lecture: Skeletal Markers of Identity 2: Stature, Mass and Habitual Behaviour Lab: Biodistance and Ancestry Lab Test 4 (on Weeks 7 & 8 material)
10 Lecture: Ethics and Repatriation Lab: Stature, Body Mass and Habitual Behaviour
11 Lecture: Multicultural Perspectives on Human Remains (Special Guest Lecture) Lab: Ethics Debate Lab Test 5 on (Weeks 9 & 10 material)
12 Lecture: Revision Lecture Lab: Revision Lab
13 Semester 1 Exam Period: 3-19 June 2021 Take Home Exam due Friday 18 June 5pm

Tutorial Registration

Registration for labs will be required in Week 1 of the course. To register, you will be invited to select which lab stream you wish to attend via the link provided on Wattle.

Assessment Summary

Assessment task Value Due Date Return of assessment Learning Outcomes
5 x Online Lab Tests 40 % * * 1, 2, 3
Mid-Semester Practical Test 20 % * * 1, 2, 3
Written Methods Evaluation 10 % 28/05/2021 07/06/2021 1, 2, 5
Take-Home Exam 30 % 18/06/2021 05/07/2021 1, 2, 3, 4

* 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 Academic Integrity . In rare cases where online submission using Turnitin software is not technically possible; or where not using Turnitin software has been justified by the Course Convener and approved by the Associate Dean (Education) on the basis of the teaching model being employed; students shall submit assessment online via ‘Wattle’ outside of Turnitin, or failing that in hard copy, or through a combination of submission methods as approved by the Associate Dean (Education). The submission method is detailed below.

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.


As noted above, you must complete at least four out of the available five tests to pass Assessment 1 (5 x Lab Tests). If you sit fewer than four tests you will get a 0% grade for this assessment regardless of what marks you get for each test.

Assessment Task 1

Value: 40 %
Learning Outcomes: 1, 2, 3

5 x Online Lab Tests

These five 10 minute long online tests will examine the knowledge you have gathered from lab practical sessions and lectures, and are designed to help you learn major concepts, skeletal anatomy terminology, identification, and basic techniques efficiently. These tests will be administered using the Wattle quiz function and will cover material from the week before the test to give you time to revise. Test questions will be based on both lab and lecture materials, and may include identifying and naming bones and bony features from skeletal specimens from photos, siding bones and providing justification using photos and 3D models, applying methods learned in the lab, and explaining the functional significance of certain landmarks.


Further detail on specific assessment criteria will be made available on Wattle.


Value: 40% (8% per test)

Due Dates: Tests will be available online for 48 hours from the end of your lab and will automatically close when the 48 hours has elapsed. This gives you ample time to complete the test and ensures each lab group gets the same amount of preparation time.

Estimated return date: Monday 15 March, Monday 22 March, Monday 29 March, Monday 10 May and Monday 24 May, all by 5pm.

Hurdle Component: You must complete (i.e. take the test regardless of your mark for it) a minimum of 4/5 tests to pass this assessment. If you sit fewer than four tests out of the available five, you will get a 0% grade for this assessment regardless of what marks you get for each test. This assessment is worth 50% of your total grade for the course so your attendance is very strongly encouraged. Example: Boris takes three of the five tests and gets full marks for each. However, as he has only completed three tests (and not the required four), he will be awarded a mark of 0 for the 50% of the grade. Poor Boris! Don’t be like Boris – complete at least four of the five tests!

Assessment Task 2

Value: 20 %
Learning Outcomes: 1, 2, 3

Mid-Semester Practical Test

This test will be a one-hour long Lab Practical Test, which will take place during your scheduled lab session in Week 7 (Mid Semester Exam Week 2 ). The test will assess the knowledge of methods and techniques you have gained in the labs in the first part of the semester. During this test, you will cycle through a series of stations. At each station you will be asked a series of short answer questions. These questions will include identifying and naming bones and bony features from pictures, specimens and models, describing the form and function of certain bony features, siding bones and justifying your answer, and applying methods such as age estimation to skeletal specimens provided. An online version of this test will be offered to those studying by distance.


Further detail on specific assessment criteria will be made available on Wattle closer to the test date.


Value: 20%

Due Dates: Either 21 April, 22 April, or 23 April depending on your lab stream.

Estimated return date: Monday 3 May by 5pm

Assessment Task 3

Value: 10 %
Due Date: 28/05/2021
Return of Assessment: 07/06/2021
Learning Outcomes: 1, 2, 5

Written Methods Evaluation

You are required to write a short essay providing a critical commentary on one methods paper (references will be revealed throughout the course) from one of the following categories: 


1.   Sex estimation

2.   Adult age-at-death estimation

3.   Sub-adult age-at-death estimation

4.   Stature estimation


This essay will assess your critical thinking and analytical skills.


Further detail on the assessment format and specific assessment criteria will be made available on Wattle closer to the date.


Word count: 600 words (+/- 10%)

Due Date: Friday 28 May 2021 by 5pm

Value: 10%

Estimated return date: Monday 7 June by 5pm

Presentation requirements: The short essay should be typed, with text sized at 12pt and double spaced. Please provide a word count after the main body of text (i.e. before the reference list). Referencing should follow the Harvard system.

Assessment Task 4

Value: 30 %
Due Date: 18/06/2021
Return of Assessment: 05/07/2021
Learning Outcomes: 1, 2, 3, 4

Take-Home Exam

Due to ongoing COVID-19 health and safety requirements and uncertainty around final examination procedures for Semester 1 2021, Assessment 3 has been changed from an in-person final examination to an open book take-home examination. The take home examination will assess the same content as the in-person examination, ensuring successful attainment of the learning objectives for this course. The exam script will be released via Wattle at the beginning of the exam period (3 June). You will then complete the exam and submit your completed script through Turnitin on Wattle by the end of the exam period (18 June). Exam questions will cover all material studied throughout the course and will assess your understanding of both the applied practical and theoretical components of the course. To assist you, a revision lecture and lab will be provided in week 12 and will include revision activities, advice on essay writing, and more specific information on the content and assessment of the exam.

Specific assessment criteria will be made available on Wattle closer to the date.

Value: 30%

Due Date: Friday 18 June 2021

Estimated return date: Monday 5 July by 5pm

Academic Integrity

Academic integrity is a core part of the ANU culture as a community of scholars. At its heart, academic integrity is about behaving ethically, committing to honest and responsible scholarly practice and upholding these values with respect and fairness.

The ANU commits to assisting all members of our community to 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 be familiar with the academic integrity principle and Academic Misconduct Rule, 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 Academic Misconduct Rule is in place to promote academic integrity and manage academic misconduct. Very minor breaches of the academic integrity principle may result in a reduction of marks of up to 10% of the total marks available for the assessment. The ANU offers a number of online and in person services to assist students with their assignments, examinations, and other learning activities. Visit the Academic Skills website for more information about academic integrity, your responsibilities and for assistance with your assignments, writing skills and study.

Online Submission

You will be required to electronically sign a declaration as part of the submission of your assignment. Please keep a copy of the assignment for your records. Unless an exemption has been approved by the Associate Dean (Education) submission must be through Turnitin.

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.

For this course, the lab tests and mid-semester practical test will use printed paper scripts. Complete the cover sheet provided on the front of the test to ensure your test result will be linked to your student ID. During the test time you will complete the questions inside the test script as directed by your tutors. At the conclusion of the test, hand your script in to your tutor. Please note, any test scripts that leave the room will be invalidated.

Late Submission

Late submission is permitted for some assessment items for this course.

It is ANU policy not to accept late submission for take-home examinations and as such, late submissions are NOT accepted for this assessment.

For the remaining assessment tasks, late submission is permitted following ANU policy: Late submission of assessment tasks 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.

To learn more, 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
  • Online test scripts and feedback will be returned via Wattle when all class members have completed the test.
  • Hard copy test papers will be scanned for record keeping purposes and returned to you when all class members have completed the test.
  • Take-home exam scripts and feedback will be returned digitally through the Turnitin Feedback Studio

Extensions and Penalties

Extensions and late submission of assessment pieces are covered by the Student Assessment (Coursework) Policy and Procedure. Extensions may be granted 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 assessments 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
02 6125 3362

Research Interests

Dr Stacey Ward

By Appointment
By Appointment
Dr Stacey Ward
02 6125 3362

Research Interests

Dr Stacey Ward

By Appointment
By Appointment
Dr Clare McFadden
02 6125 5331

Research Interests

Dr Clare McFadden

By Appointment
Dr Laura Wilson
02 6125 8226

Research Interests

Dr Laura Wilson

By Appointment

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