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What have you learned so far?

This section summarises some of the key learning from this week and the course more generally.
A women wearing laboratory over-clothes holds up a human skull
© Durham University

This week has introduced you to some of the challenges that we face when applying forensic archaeology and anthropology in the real world. You will now have a much better understanding of the following:

a) Forensic archaeology and anthropology are not simply a series of scientific methods. The context of the bodies is crucial to interpretation and analysis, and each context presents a unique set of challenges.

b) Forensic work takes place within complex political situations and there can be external pressure which constrain activities. However, forensic archaeologists and anthropologists need to work impartially and collaboratively, and engage with the latest research and technical developments.

This week we have discussed:

  • The challenges associated with burned bodies and commingled graves.
  • How new methods are being developed to allow us to identify the dead in these challenging contexts.
  • Some current examples from around the world of where forensic archaeologists and anthropologists are having a positive impact.

The Course Overall

This brings us to the end of the course. We’ve provided you with an introduction to the subjects of forensic archaeology and anthropology, have discussed what happens to the body after death and burial, the processes of locating and excavating bodies, and analysing them in the laboratory using a range of different techniques. We have also included the latest research in the course activities, whilst also keeping the content accessible for all.

We hope that you’ve found it to be an engaging learning experience and that your knowledge of forensic archaeology and anthropology has been greatly improved. We’d love to hear some feedback from you.

If you are a forensic practitioner and have gained additional knowledge from the course that has helped your practice then PLEASE let us know by spending 5 minutes completing this anonymous online feedback survey.

If you’re a student, an interested party, or thinking of pursuing a career in forensic science, please let us know how you found the course and any impact that it’s had on your knowledge, understanding, or career path. Additionally, we’re happy to hear feedback regarding any improvements to the course. Please leave comments in the section below.

If you feel inspired to learn more about human skeletal analysis and to gain some hands-on experience in the lab you might be interested in our MSc Human Bioarchaeology and Palaeopathology at Durham University. This intensive lecture, seminar and laboratory-based MSc equips you with the in depth practical skills to analyse and interpret skeletal data. Register your interest.

© Durham University
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Forensic Archaeology and Anthropology

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