Anthropology 228: Forensic Anthropology
Class Time/Day/Location: 2.00-3.00 MWF – Geography 100
Instructor: Dr. Darlene Weston
E-mail: [email protected]
Office Hours: Wednesday 3.30-4.30, ANSO 1207, or by appointment.
Interest in the field of forensic anthropology has been heightened in the last
decade through the success of forensic-themed television shows and popular
novels. This course will introduce students to the field of forensic anthropology -
a scientific discipline that involves the application of methods from biological
anthropology and archaeology to the identification, recovery, and analysis of
skeletal remains from crime scenes, mass disasters and unexplained deaths.
Through lectures and in-class assignments, students will learn about the
methods for recognizing and recovering evidence that allows for the
determination of time since death, manner and cause of death and the
identification of individuals.
Course Aim and Objectives:
The aim of this course is to provide students with an introduction to the field of
At the end of this course it is expected that students will be able to:
1. critically assess the strengths and weaknesses of field and laboratory
methods in forensic anthropology;
2. understand the ethical issues that arise when working with human remains
from a medico-legal context.
SN. Byers. Introduction to Forensic Anthropology, 4 th edition. Pearson
Education, 2011. ISBN-10: 0205790127; ISBN-13: 9780205790128. Evaluation Profile:
% of Grade
In-class assignments 5 @ 5 marks each 25
Midterm 1 25
Midterm 2 25
Final exam 25
Week Date Lecture Topic Readings
1 Sept 5 Introduction to the Course
Sept 7 Introduction to Forensic Anthropology: Byers Ch 1
The CSI Effect
2 Sept 10 Human Bones, pt 1 Byers Ch 2
Sept 12 Human Bones, pt 2, Human Teeth. Byers Ch 2
Sept 14 Film: Written in Bone anthropology.si.edu/
3 Sept 17 Establishing Forensic Context Byers Ch 3
Sept 19 Recovery Methods Byers Ch 4
Sept 21 Film: LA County Coroner
4 Sept 24 Estimating Time Since Death – pt 1 Byers Ch 5
Sept 26 Estimating Time Since Death – pt 2 Byers Ch 5
Sept 28 Film: Crime Scene Critters pbs.org/wnet/nature/
5 Oct 1 Midterm Exam 1
Oct 3 Initial Treatment and Examination Byers Ch 6
Oct 5 Sex Determination Byers Ch 8
6 Oct 8 Thanksgiving – No Class Oct 10 Assignment 1 – Estimating Sex Byers Ch 8:
Oct 12 Finding Anastasia channel.nationalgeographic.
Assignment 1 due. com/series/explorer/3109/
7 Oct 15 Age Determination - Juveniles Byers Ch 9
Oct 17 Age Determination – Adults Byers Ch 9
Oct 19 Assignment 2 – Estimating Age Byers Ch 9
8 Oct 22 Stature Determination Byers Ch 10
Assignment 2 due.
Oct 24 Assignment 3 – Estimating Stature Byers Ch 10
Oct 26 Ancestry Determination: a Historical Byers Ch 7
Assignment 3 due.
9 Oct 29 Ancestry Determination: Anthroposcopic Byers Ch 7
and Osteometric Methods
Oct 31 Assignment 4 – Estimating Ancestry Byers Ch 7
Nov 2 Film: The Perfect Corpse pbs.org/wgbh/nova/bog
Assignment 4 due.
10 Nov 5 Midterm Exam 2
Nov 7 Cause and Manner of Death I: the Byers Ch 11, 12
Basics of Bone Trauma and Projectile
Nov 9 Cause and Manner of Death II: Blunt Byers Ch 13, Ch 14
and Sharp Force Trauma
11 Nov 12 Remembrance Day – no class
Nov 14 Ante-mortem Skeletal Conditions: Byers Ch 15
Pathology and Skeletal Anomalies.
Nov 16 Post-mortem