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Bioarchaeology is an exciting and fast-advancing field which combines archaeology with branches of the natural sciences to study key topics such as past health and well-being, diet, ecology, subsistence strategies and environmental impacts. Read more
Bioarchaeology is an exciting and fast-advancing field which combines archaeology with branches of the natural sciences to study key topics such as past health and well-being, diet, ecology, subsistence strategies and environmental impacts.

The MSc in Bioarchaeology aims to develop a broad understanding of these issues through the study of human remains. Students on this programme will also have the opportunity to study animal remains, as well as floral and faunal evidence.

The programme develops advanced practical skills in skeletal analysis, making use of the department’s well-provisioned specialist laboratories and reference collections. A particular strength of our provision is that we are able to address the bioarchaeology of both the New and Old Worlds. Those completing the Course acquire the skills necessary to continue into academic research or employment, as an osteologist in field units, museums or Cultural Resources Managament companies.

The programme allows you to specialise in one of two named pathways: Human Osteoarchaeology (physical anthropology and funerary archaeology) or Zooarchaeology (animal bones and other faunal remains).

Learning and teaching

Most of the formal classes that you attend will be based on a mixture of lectures, seminars, and workshops. The precise mix will vary between modules. These aim to outline the principal issues of the module, to explore some detailed issues, and, where relevant, to give you experience of working with a particular technique or data set.
All members of staff are actively engaged in research, both in Britain and abroad, and regularly attend conferences, symposia and workshops. It is through this active engagement in the discipline that we are able to supply top quality teaching by experts in their field and as a result we have a 24/24 grading for our teaching from the Quality Assurance Agency.
In addition to our established palaeobotany, experimental archaeology, and microscopy laboratories, we have a new bioarchaeology lab dedicated to the study of anatomical variation, palaeopathological conditions, and the funerary context of human and animal remains. The laboratory, accompanied by a designated store for the Department's collection of human remains, provides facilities for use by researchers and students for examining skeletal remains recovered from archaeological sites. Equipment includes anatomical casts and demographic reference standards used to determine the sex, age-at-death, stature and body proportions from human remains.

Research areas

Bioarchaeological research at Exeter combines the study of archaeology with branches of the natural and physical sciences to address questions of health and well-being, diet, ecology, subsistence strategies and natural and human-induced environmental impacts in the past.

Our approach is holistic and inter-disciplinary, drawing its inspiration from both definitions of ‘bioarchaeology’: as a study applied to human remains (human osteoarchaeology) and, as originally defined by Grahame Clark, as related to the integration of environmental archaeology, floral and faunal evidence – archaeobotany and zooarchaeology – in archaeological research.
Active field research programmes in North and South America and Eurasia link with extensive laboratory research to address questions of social structure and social organisation, the process of animal and plant domestication, the development of social inequality and power relations, violence and warfare, the rise of élites and craft specialists, and division of labour.

Programme Structure

This programme includes 135 credits of compulsory modules and 45 credits of optional modules.

Pathways

The two available pathways are; Human Osteology (http://www.exeter.ac.uk/postgraduate/taught/archaeology/bioarch/humanosteology/) and Zooarchaeology
(http://www.exeter.ac.uk/postgraduate/taught/archaeology/bioarch/zooarchaeology/)

Compulsory modules

The compulsory modules for each of the pathways can include the following; Research Methods and Archaeological Theory; Musculo-skeletal Anatomy; Advanced Zooarchaeology; Advanced Human Osteology; Zooarchaeology (Masters level); Bioarchaeology Dissertation and Bioarchaeology Dissertation Zooarchaeology.

Optional modules

The following is a list of the possible optional modules; Advanced Project; Experimental Archaeology in Practice; Field Study; Landscape Archaeology: Understanding the historic environment; Material Culture; Advanced Human Osteology; ;Zooarchaeology (Masters level); Palaeobotany (Masters level); Funerary Osteoarchaeology (Masters level); Musculo-skeletal Anatomy and Researching the Historic Environment Online.

The modules listed here provide examples of what you can expect to learn on this degree course based on recent academic teaching. The precise modules available to you in future years may vary depending on staff availability and research interests, new topics of study, timetabling and student demand

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Deepen your knowledge and experience in a rigorous biology graduate program customized to you and your research interests. At Acadia, you will be part of one of the most vibrant and community-focused departments in the region. Read more
Deepen your knowledge and experience in a rigorous biology graduate program customized to you and your research interests. At Acadia, you will be part of one of the most vibrant and community-focused departments in the region.
In Acadia's Master of Science in Biology you will enhance your expertise in modern research methods in biology and deepen your knowledge in your chosen area of study. Although we have a wide variety of research areas to suit your interest, you will benefit from a small school experience, working closely with your supervisor and others in the same research group, and developing a close relationship with your fellow graduate students.

Within our graduate program emphasis is placed on research rather than coursework. You will work with your supervisor and advisory committee to determine an individualized program of study suited to your research interests. Through many of our research programs you will also gain experience working with individuals and organizations in the local community.

Be Inspired

Acadia is located near the tidal mud flats of the Bay of Fundy (named one of the Seven Natural Wonders of the World) and within the Annapolis Valley, so our location provides you with access to a variety of ecosystems including, aquatic, wetland, farm, and forest. These habitats are used in field-based research work to give you a balance of outdoor and indoor learning experiences throughout the program.

We have also taken leadership roles in some of the largest projects in the Atlantic region. Acadia, through the Acadia Tidal Energy Institute, is actively involved in tidal power initiatives in the Bay of Fundy. Acadia is a partner with Ducks Unlimited Canada in waterfowl and wetlands conservation projects. Watershed management and estuarine systems are studied through the Acadia Centre for Estuarine Research, the only centre of its kind in Canada.

Research Interests

-Animal movement and its relationship to population dynamics and conservation
-Cancer immunology
-Coevolution of parasites and hosts
-Conservation biology
-Developmental biology, and its relation to evolutionary change
-Ecology and health of coastal habitats
-Fungal endophytes of coastal and marine plants
-Immune cell developmental pathways
-Impacts of anthropogenic disturbances in coastal ecosystems on fish
-Insect pheromone processing and behaviour
-Interaction between parasites and host ecology
-Management and recovery of species at risk
-Molecular evolution and molecular systematics in bivalves and mammals
-Natural history of beetles and birds in forested and agricultural landscapes
-Floral character evolution in family Rosaceae and genus Vaccinum
-Pest management in forestry and agriculture
-Plant ecology
-Plant systematics, phylogeny and evolution
-Population dynamics
-Role of relaxin family peptides and their receptors in neuroprotection
-Tidal energy and its impacts
-Watershed management

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