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FNSC5614 Forensic Archaeology—Theory and Method

6 points
(see Timetable)
Semester 1UWA (Perth)Face to face
This unit comprises a combination of lectures and practical sessions covering the following: (1) the evolution of, and the role and importance of archaeological theory and method in a forensic investigation of a crime scene; (2) fundamental principles (including tools and equipment used) in forensic archaeology; (3) artefact collection and preservation; (4) case study in forensic archaeology; (5) advanced surveying (including surface and geophysical searching); (6) advanced spatial controls (establishing grids, total station); (7) advanced site recording (photo modelling, site illustration); (8) legislation and ethical considerations relevant to the forensic archaeologist; (9) practical experience in excavation techniques; (10) artefact preservation and soil profiling; (11) archaeological chemistry; and (12) reconstruction and interpretation of events that have occurred at a crime scene.
Students are able to (1) understand the archaeological terminology and its importance in forensic investigation; (2) apply appropriate artifact recovery and handling techniques; (3) develop practical experience in the application of appropriate methods for documentation of forensic scenes; (4) apply appropriate site recording techniques and methods; (5) apply appropriate excavation techniques depending upon local conditions; (6) understand the importance of flexibility in the approach to forensic archaeological recovery involving human remains; (7) identify and apply appropriate statistical methods in forensic archaeology; (8) be competent in undertaking photography and measurement of grave sites; (9) discuss the role of remote sensing in finding clandestine graves; (10) explain the role of forensic archaeology in disaster victim identification (DVI); (11) be familiar with current developments in basic forensic sciences and particularly those medical and social sciences which are of direct relevance to the application to forensic archaeology; and (12) work competently as an individual and within groups.
Indicative assessments in this unit are as follows: (1) research essay; (2) practical work; and (3) end of topic and final exams. Further information is available in the unit outline.
Unit Coordinator(s)
Associate Professor Daniel Franklin and Ambika Flavel
Unit rules
enrolment in the Graduate Certificate in Forensic Anthropology (72280) Graduate Diploma in Forensic Anthropology (72380) or Master of Forensic Anthropology (72580)
Contact hours
lectures/tutorials/practicals/a final examination: 50–60 hours
  • The availability of units in Semester 1, 2, etc. was correct at the time of publication but may be subject to change.
  • All students are responsible for identifying when they need assistance to improve their academic learning, research, English language and numeracy skills; seeking out the services and resources available to help them; and applying what they learn. Students are encouraged to register for free online support through GETSmart; to help themselves to the extensive range of resources on UWA's STUDYSmarter website; and to participate in WRITESmart and (ma+hs)Smart drop-ins and workshops.
  • Unit readings, including any essential textbooks, are listed in the unit outline for each unit, one week prior the commencement of study. The unit outline will be available via the LMS and the UWA Handbook one week prior the commencement of study. Reading lists and essential textbooks are subject to change each semester. Information on essential textbooks will also be made available on the Essential Textbooks. This website is updated regularly in the lead up to semester so content may change. It is recommended that students purchase essential textbooks for convenience due to the frequency with which they will be required during the unit. A limited number of textbooks will be made available from the Library in print and will also be made available online wherever possible. Essential textbooks can be purchased from the commercial vendors to secure the best deal. The Student Guild can provide assistance on where to purchase books if required. Books can be purchased second hand at the Guild Secondhand bookshop (second floor, Guild Village), which is located on campus.