• Class Number 7205
  • Term Code 3360
  • Class Info
  • Unit Value 6 units
  • Mode of Delivery In Person
    • Dr Stacey Ward
    • Dr Stacey Ward
    • Christine Cave
  • Class Dates
  • Class Start Date 24/07/2023
  • Class End Date 27/10/2023
  • Census Date 31/08/2023
  • Last Date to Enrol 31/07/2023
SELT Survey Results

This course offers students a broad introduction to 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 and analyse 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.

Research-Led Teaching

Lectures in this course are given by experts in their respective fields and draw on their research and forensic case work experience to give an authentic introduction to the many facets of forensic science.

Field Trips

  • A mock crime scene excavation is being held on campus for the first two days of Week 6 (28th and 29th of August). Excavation sessions will be four hours long and will run from 8am-12noon and 1-5pm on these days. It is mandatory that you attend ONE four hour long excavation session. If you have an EAP condition that will prevent you attending the dig, please contact the course convenor.
  • Each excavation session will be related to one lab group: Students attending Lab Group 1 (10am Wednesdays) should register for Excavation Session 1 (8am Monday 28th August); Lab Group 2 (11am Wednesdays) should register for Excavation Session 2 (1pm Monday 28th August); Lab Group 3 (1pm Wednesdays) should register for Excavation Session 3 (8am Tuesday 29th August); Lab Group 4 (2pm Wednesdays) should register for Excavation Session 4 (1pm Tuesday 29th August). Extra sessions may be offered on Wednesday the 1st of September depending on class numbers.
  • Excavation registration will be available in MyTimetable from Week 2 of the course.
  • Each Lab Group is repsonsible for collecting their own excavation data (e.g., filling out context sheets) and will be excavating different sets of evidence. It is therefore strongly recommended that you attend the excavation session associated with your lab practical group, and that you do not switch labs throughout the second half of the semester to ensure you are working the same set of evidence for your Crime Scene Report.
  • 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:

Lab Equipment:

  • Lab coats show respect to the dead and also protect both you and your clothes in the lab.
  • You must wear a clean white labcoat to all in-person lab sessions. No lab coat, no entry.
  • For those of you who need to purchase a lab coat, ANU lab coats can be purchased through the Harry Hartog bookshop (online or on campus) for $30.
  • Non-branded coats may also be purchased from any workwear or uniform supply shop (e.g., The Lab Coat Company, uniforms.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

You will receive the following feedback on assessments:

  • Written feedback will be provided digitally for all assessments 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 at the start of lectures and/or labs as necessary.
  • Individual verbal feedback and marks sheets can be obtained by making an appointment to see Stacey or Christine.

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


  • You must attend one 60 minute lab a week as part of this course. Labs are on Wednesdays, with sessions offered at 10am, 11am, 1pm and 2pm. Please register for one lab session of your choice through My Timetable prior to labs beginning in Week 1. Please register early to avoid missing out on your preferred session.
  • Labs will be held in the Biological Anthropology lab on campus (Banks 2.39, Banks Building, 44 Linnaeus Way). Please wear a clean white lab coat to the lab.
  • Where possible you will be required to attend labs in person.
  • If you miss a lab, please indepedently complete the lab worksheet for that week using the learning materials and model answers provided on Wattle. If you still have questions after consulting the model answers, feel free to get in touch with any of the teaching staff.

Mock Excavation

  • A mock crime scene excavation is being held on campus for the first two days of Week 6 (28th and 29th of August). Excavation sessions will be four hours long and will run from 8am-12noon and 1-5pm on these days. It is mandatory that you attend ONE four hour long excavation session. Please see 'Field Trips' above for more information.

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 readings for each week are listed under 'Weekly Activites' 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: Course Introduction (Dr Stacey Ward); Lab: Introduction to the Skeleton
2 Lecture: Forensic Osteology in Australia (Dr Denise Donlon); Lab: Age and Sex Estimation
3 Lecture: Skeletal Trauma Analysis (Dr Stacey Ward); Lab: Skeletal Trauma
4 Lecture: Bloodstain Pattern Analysis (Ms Rosalyn Rough); Lab: Stratigraphic Drawing
5 Lecture: Excavating a Crime Scene (Dr Stacey Ward); Lab: Mapping a Crime Scene
6 Excavation Week: No Lectures or Labs Mock Conference Poster (25%) and Poster Presentation (10%) due 5pm Friday 1st September
7 Lecture: Repatriation of Australian War Casualties (Prof Marc Oxenham); Lab: Evidence Analysis Session 1
8 Lecture: Forensic DNA Analysis (Dr Georgina Meakin); Lab: Evidence Analysis Session 2 Lab Report 1 (5%) due 9am Monday 25th September
9 Lecture: Forensic Odontology (A/Prof Alex Forrest); Lab: Evidence Analysis Session 3 Lab Report 2 (5%) due 9am Monday 2nd October
10 Lecture: Forensic Anthropology in the United States (Dr Jade de la Paz); Lab: Evidence Analysis Session 4 Lab Report 3 (5%) due 9am Monday 9th October
11 Lecture: Forensic Taphonomy (Dr Eline Schotsmans); Lab: Evidence Analysis Session 5 Lab Report 4( 5%) due 9am Monday 16th October
12 Lecture Video: Analysis of Burned Human Remains (Dr Stacey Ward); Lab: Evidence Analysis Session 6 Lab Report 5 (5%) due 9am Monday 23rd October
13 Semester 2 Exam Period Begins Crime Scene Report (40%) due 9am Monday 30 October

Tutorial Registration

You must register for a lab session of your choice prior to labs beginning in Week 1. To register, please go to MyTimetable. This software enables students to view the timetable for their enrolled courses, browse, then self-allocate themselves to teaching activities / tutorials so they can better plan their time. If you need help with MyTimetable, please see this website. You must also complete one four-hour long excavation session in Week 6 (W/B 28 August) of the course. Excavation registration will open in My Timetable in Week 2 of the course. Please see 'field trips' below for more information on the excavation.

Assessment Summary

Assessment task Value Due Date Return of assessment Learning Outcomes
Mock Conference Poster 25 % 01/09/2023 18/09/2023 4, 5
Mock Conference Presentation 10 % 01/09/2023 18/09/2023 4,5
5 x Lab Reports 25 % * * 2,3
Crime Scene Analysis Report 40 % 30/10/2023 * 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.


  • Several lectures for this course will NOT be recorded as they involve sensitive content drawn from real forensic cases. You must attend these lectures in person OR 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 have missed the class due to extenuating circumstances such as illness and can document this, or have an EAP entitling you to lecture recordings, please contact the course convenor to obtain a copy of the lecture notes.
  • If you miss a lecture due to lack of organisation/sleeping in/forgetting to attend, lecture notes will NOT be provided. in this instance, 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 miss a lecture due to a lecture clash, you are encouraged to talk to your classmates to see if they will share a copy of their notes with you.
  • Unless they are sick or have other extenuating circumstances affecting their attendance, students are strongly encouraged to attend all lab sessions throughout the semester. Regular lab attendance is necessary for completing Assessment Tasks 2 and 3.


There are no formal examinations for this course.

Assessment Task 1

Value: 25 %
Due Date: 01/09/2023
Return of Assessment: 18/09/2023
Learning Outcomes: 4, 5

Mock Conference Poster

Students must produce a 500 word poster describing and evaluating a current issue/challenge in forensic anthropology. Students may pick their own poster topic or choose from the list provided. This list and detailed instructions on how to create a poster will be provided on Wattle.

Value: 25%

Due Date: 5pm Friday 1st September.

Estimated return date: 5pm Monday 18th September.

Assessment Task 2

Value: 10 %
Due Date: 01/09/2023
Return of Assessment: 18/09/2023
Learning Outcomes: 4,5

Mock Conference Presentation

Students must present a 10 minute long overview of their poster topic describing and evaluating a current issue/challenge in forensic anthropology. This presentation must have a clear structure (e.g., introduction of topic, literature review, discussion, conclusion and further directions) and be clearly and coherently presented. Presentations are to be recorded and submitted alongside the poster in Week 6. Detailed instructions for this assessment will be provided on Wattle.

Value: 10%

Due Date: 5pm Friday 1st September.

Estimated return date: 5pm Monday 18th September.

Assessment Task 3

Value: 25 %
Learning Outcomes: 2,3

5 x Lab Reports

Practical labs in Weeks 7-12 are dedicated to analysing the evidence recovered during the mock crime scene excavation. Students will write one 200 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 and a lab book template will be provided on Wattle.

Value: 25% (5 reports worth 5% each)

Due Dates: 9:00am Monday 25th September, Monday 2nd October, Monday 9th October, Monday 16th October and Monday 23rd October.

Estimated return date: 5:00pm Friday 29th September, Friday 6th October, Friday 13th October, Friday 20th October, and Friday 27th November.

Assessment Task 4

Value: 40 %
Due Date: 30/10/2023
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, information 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, and images. Detailed instructions and a report template will be provided on Wattle.

Value: 40%

Due Date: 9:00am Monday 30th October

Estimated return date: The results of this final assessment will not be released on Wattle as per Section 37 of the ANU student assessment policy. However, students will be most welcome to make an appointment to seek feedback on their reports following Semester 2 marks release on 30 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 assessment items without an extension is NOT permitted for this course. This means that if you miss a due date and you have not been granted an extension to sit the test at another time, you will fail this assessment (or portion of an assessment). To apply for an extension, please complete an application through the CASS Extension Request Portal on or before the assessment due date. Please note that you must provide documentation to support your extension request and that extensions cannot be granted after the due date unless you can demonstrate that you were unable to apply in time due to extenuating circumstances.
  • Instructions on how to use the application portal can be found here.
  • To learn more about how extensions work at the ANU, please see the ANU coursework extension Policy and Procedure.

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

Bioarchaeology Education, Social Inequality, Ancient Health, Prehistoric Southeat Asia, Spatial Analysis

Dr Stacey Ward

By Appointment
By Appointment
Dr Stacey Ward

Research Interests

Dr Stacey Ward

By Appointment
By Appointment
Christine Cave

Research Interests

Christine Cave

By Appointment

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