Kies op maat

Inloggen Menu

Forensic Taphonomy

During the minor Forensic Taphonomy you will follow courses in decomposition, and specifically on the application for forensic science. The focus lies on the decomposition of human remains. However, the acquired knowledge will be applied in the field, at the Forensic Anthropological Outdoor Research Facility in Den Ham (NL), on cadaveric material from pigs (Sus scrofa dom.). You will study the decomposition of cadavers over the course of twenty weeks, analyze your data and write a field analysis report.

During the first part of the minor you will have to collect literature on a sub-topic of your own choice, write an annotation and you will present this topic to the class. Finally you will write a research proposal for an applied taphonomic study on an identified knowledge lacunae.

The second part of the minor consists of a taphonomic experiment to fill in a knowledge lacunae. You will set up the experiment yourself. The knowledge lacunae can be based upon your own research proposal. The second part is completed with a research thesis.



After this course the student has/is able to:
• Insight in the value and complexity of taphonomic studies.
• Knowledge of the process of decomposition of the human body.
• Knows the effects of in- and external variables on the process of decomposition.
• Describe the process of decomposition objectively, document it according to the guidelines, analyze and interpret changes.
• Determine the state of remains based on internationally accepted models.
• Identify possible knowledge lacunae in literature, based on acquired knowledge, and write a research proposal.
• Set up a taphonomic experiment, execute it and report the results.
• Make microscopic slides from bone.

Aanvullende informatie

In case of a low number of applications for the minor, the minor may not be offered. After closing the registration period, you will be informed as soon as possible (no later than 20 December 2019).


Propaedeutic certificate achieved.

Biomedical science, biotechnology, forensic science, archeology, biology.

Provide documents for entry requirements: Propedeutic diploma.


• Field analysis report, individual essay.
• Research proposal, individual essay
• Exam Taphonomy, individual exam, closed book

Rating scale: Grade (one decimal)


• Forensic Taphonomy, the post-mortem fate of human remains, by William D. Haglund & Marcella H. Sorg.
• Manual of Forensic Taphonomy, by James T. Pokines & Steven A. Symes.(2014)
• Proper work clothing and gear.


Lectures: 46 hours
Self-study: 150 hours
Presentation: 10 hours

Field study: 70 hours
Workshops: 32 hours
Field analysis report: 112 hours

Research proposal
Annotation: 20 hours
Literature study: 140 hours
Report: 64 hours

Literature study: 66 hours
Methodology: 12 hours
Execution: 80 hours
Report: 32 hours
Presentation: 6 hours