Department of Archaeology and Ancient History

Osteology

Osteology means the study of bones and comprises studies of both human and animal material. At the beginning of your studies in osteology, students learn the different parts of the skeleton, the structures of bones and their names (anatomy and morphology). Students also learn different methods to make estimates of sex, age and size, and identify and analyse cremated bones from humans and animals. Training also includes learning to recognize different illnesses and damages that affect the skeleton, and receives basic training in archaeogenetics.

Osteological material forms the largest amount of finds at archaeological excavations, regardless of the site contains burials or settlement structures. Osteological competence is necessary during an excavation in order to identify and process bone material on site.

Gotland's soil is calciferous, meaning that skeleton material is well-preserved. Bone finds from the excavations of the department's field seasons and research excavations are available to the students for thesis writing. Students may also write their dissertations within department projects, such as Osteoporosis och osteoarthritis då och nu. By doiong so, the students contributes to new and improved knowledge on health, dietary habits, fauna and environment throughout history.

Students have close contacts with their teachers not only in the lecture halls but also in the Osteological laboratory, where all practical supervision occurs using both reference material and archaeological collections.

Trained osteologists work in the culture sector, museums and in field archaeology. Students interested in forensic medicine can continue their study in this area.