Human Osteology


During this one-week hands-on beginners course, we aim to

  1. provide participants with a working knowledge of human osteology;
  2. provide an ethical framework for dealing with human remains;
  3. provide an overview of the informational value of human remains for different fields, including a brief introduction to biomolecular methods;
  4. provide hands-on experience with human remains;
  5. familiarize them with the relevant tools and resources for them to subsequently broaden as well as deepen this knowledge;
  6. put them in contact with a network of biological anthropologists.

The following topics will be covered:

  • the human skeleton (overview)
  • ethical framework
  • basic bone biology
  • anatomical terminology
  • cranial anatomy
  • postcranial anatomy
  • common anatomical variation
  • macroscopic ways to determine whether bone is human or animal
  • basic osteobiographical techniques for age and sex estimation (introduction)
  • basic pathology: how to recognize pathological lesions (introduction)
  • basic biomolecular sampling techniques

Learning outcomes

Participants who have successfully completed this course

  • can distinguish human from animal bone;
  • can reconstruct al human skeleton;
  • are actively aware of the complexity of the human skeleton;
  • are actively aware of what parts are located where in the human body;
  • can correctly identify the most important human bones and determine the side (left / right);
  • can also correctly identify the smaller, more complex bones;
  • are actively aware of the presence of more skeletal parts in the remains of immature individuals;
  • have a basic knowledge of the techniques for determining age and sex, and know where to find more information about this;
  • have a basic knowledge of pathological features on the human skeleton;
  • have a basic knowledge of biomolecular techniques and possible sampling;
  • have insight into the proper ethical handling of human remains.


  • Monday 4th September to Friday 8th September 2023
  • Monday – Thursday: 9.30am – 4.30pm: 1,5h lecture followed by 4,5h practical (individual as well as small groups (2-3 persons) with complete skeletons as well as loose fragements, examples of age and sex, pathological elements, and animal material for comparison)
  • Friday: 9.30am – 4.30pm Study time and evaluation
  • Gent, Campus Rommelaere
  • max 15 participants
  • Syllabus
  • Certificate of evaluation
  • Language: English

For Whom?

This course is aimed at

  • professionals working in medicolegal fields, rescue services, field archaeology, museums;
  • (PhD) students in history and archaeology looking to gain a better understanding of osteology in archaeological contexts;
  • anyone who has an interest in learning more about human skeletal anatomy.
  • No prior knowledge or experience required

Registration fee

  • €975 standard registration fee
  • €775 for (PhD) students and job seekers
  • At checkout, you can indicate whether you are eligible for a discount.
  • Are these prices not feasible for you? Contact us. Together we will look for a solution.

Need help?

Deze opleiding is een initiatief van het ArcheOs laboratorium van de vakgroep Archeologie, UGent.

Schrijf je hier in

Human Osteology

Laatste plaatsen
  • Zijn deze prijzen voor jou niet haalbaar? Contacteer ons.
  • Plaatsen voor UGent'ers zijn beperkt. Ben je UGent'er en wil je deze opleiding volgen? Contacteer ons.