Osteoarchaeology: The Truth in Our Bones
We are pleased to announce that on the 30th of September Dr. Andrea Waters-Rist from the Faculty of Archaeology of Leiden University (The Netherlands) will be launching a Massive Open Online Course (MOOC) all about human osteoarchaeology!
“Osteoarchaeology: The Truth in Our Bones” provides a basic introduction to human osteoarchaeology for people with no previous experience in this scientific field.
In this free online course, learners will explore the many things that can be learned about life in the past and present by studying the human skeleton. After starting with sex, age-at-death, and stature estimation from skeletal remains, other themes including disease and trauma, diet and infant feeding, activity patterns, and mobility and migration are discussed. Students will learn how to reconstruct the lives that past peoples were living from the clues that are contained in their bones and teeth.
This course is about what we can learn from examining the human skeleton, and how we can use this knowledge to reconstruct the lives of people who lived in the past. In archaeology and anthropology, human skeletal remains can provide unique insights into the past and the present; insights that cannot be gained otherwise.
These insights are explored in five main themes. First, it is shown how age-at-death, sex and stature can be estimated by the close examination of (archaeological) skeletal remains. In subsequent modules it is shown how human bones can provide information about the diseases and injuries that people suffered from and what they ate. Also, it is shown how the human skeleton provides information about the kinds of activities that people engaged in and about how they migrated and moved around their landscapes.
In this course, you will examine all aspects of the human skeleton that can provide us with information about these different facets of life. Together we will explore the scientific field that is known as human osteoarchaeology.
- Human, because it is about us and our ancestors,
- Osteo, because it is about our bones,
- Archaeology, because we use this information to better understand the behaviors and events experienced by past people.
During the course, you will decipher the clues left behind in the skeletons of past peoples with the methods and techniques that are presented. You may also discover some clues hidden in your own skeleton and what they reveal about the life that you are living.
Who is this course for?
This course is for anyone who is keen to learn about what human skeletal remains can teach us about life in the past. People with an interest in archaeology, history, anthropology, biology, medical sciences, and any other fields are all very welcome. No previous knowledge is needed to complete this course.