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The Archaeology of Death and Burial

Level 1 (CQFW Level 4), 10 Credits.

Available Dates:

Not Presently Available.
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Course Description

Death is a universal human experience, but the variety of responses is staggering. Over time, and in various regions of the world, people have been buried, cremated, exposed or eaten; they have been laid to rest singly or in groups, in elaborate tombs, simple graves, pots or boats; and accompanied with lavish grave goods or with nothing at all. How can we make sense of this diversity? This summer school introduces you to all aspects of burial archaeology, from the basic analytical techniques applied to human bone to the challenges in reconstructing the lives and beliefs of individuals and communities from funerary evidence.



Who is this course for?

This course is for anyone with an interest in archaeology and the enthusiasm to take that interest further. It operates as part of the Exploring the Past pathway, and will equip you with the knowledge, understanding and skills that will help you to study other courses in the pathway.

Learning and Teaching

The bulk of the teaching for this course will take place over a weekend school (three hours on a Friday evening, five hours on Saturday and seven hours on Sunday). These sessions will include short lectures, interactive workshops, class discussions and debates, and group exercises to develop your academic skills. In addition, there will be support both before and after the weekend school, facilitated via email contact and through Learning Central, the university’s Virtual Learning Environment.

Coursework and Assessment

Students will be expected to provide two pieces of assessed work: a 500 word review (with time given over during the weekend to complete this and receive detailed feedback) and a 1000 word essay (which will be expected to be submitted within two weeks of the weekend course). Advice and support will be provided for both assignments.

Reading suggestions

Alberti, S., Bienkowski, P. and Chapman, J. 2009. Should we display the dead? Museum and Society 7, 133-49.

Barley, N. 1997. Dancing on the grave. Encounters with death. London: Abacus.

Fowler, B. 2002. Iceman: uncovering the life and times of a prehistoric man found in an Alpine glacier. London: Pan.

Jupp, P.C. and Gittings, C. 1999. Death in England. An illustrated history. Manchester: Manchester University Press.

McHugh, F. 1999. Theoretical and quantitative approaches to the study of mortuary practice. Oxford: British Archaeological Reports.

Parker Pearson, M. 1999. The Archaeology of death and burial. Stroud: Sutton.

Roberts, C. and Manchester, K. 2005. The archaeology of disease. Ithaca: Cornell University Press.

Williams, H. 2003. Archaeologies of remembrance: death and memory in past societies. New York: Kluwer Academic.

Library and Computing Facilities

As a student on this course you are entitled to join and use the University library and computing facilities. You can find out more about these facilities on our website under Student Information, or by ringing the Centre on (029) 2087 0000.

Accessibility of Courses

Our aim is access for all. We aim to provide a confidential advice and support service for any student with a long term medical condition, disability or specific learning difficulty. We are able to offer one-to-one advice about disability, pre-enrolment visits, liaison with tutors and co-ordinating lecturers, material in alternative formats, arrangements for accessible courses, assessment arrangements, loan equipment and Dyslexia screening. Please contact the Centre on (029) 2087 0000 for an information leaflet.

Further Information

A range of further information can be found on our web site or in Choices.  This includes the times and dates of courses and an explanation of accreditation and credit levels.