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The University of Southampton
Lifelong Learning

A Practical Study of Skeletal Remains in Archaeology

Human skeletal remains are one of the few classes of evidence which give archaeologists direct contact with people who lived in the past.

Human skull
Human skull

For this reason, human remains have the potential to tell us much about such vital topics as past lifestyles, diets, subsistence practices, and diseases. To understand the past we need, through the study of human physical remains, to understand and appreciate how our ancestors managed to adapt to their living environment.

Unlike most human bones, which are often recovered from sites in an ordered and systematic manner, animal bones may be found in any kind of feature in any area of a site.  Animal bones and teeth reveal important information about the economy and way of life of people in the past as well as helping us to understand the complex relationship between humans and animals.  Animals formed an important part of people's lives in the past and the bones from archaeological sites may provide information on not only diet, but also care, hygiene, climate, status, season of occupation, hunting and butchery methods, industries, trade and religion.

This course blends human and faunal archaeological remains and integrates them to think about past social behaviour.


Date: Wednesday evenings, starting 5 February 2014
Time: 7 - 9 pm
Duration: 12 meetings


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