Summer 2023 - ARCH 200 D100

Special Topics in World Prehistory (3)

S -Secrets of the Bones

Class Number: 4192

Delivery Method: In Person


  • Course Times + Location:

    May 8 – Jun 19, 2023: Mon, 9:30 a.m.–12:20 p.m.

    May 8 – Jun 19, 2023: Fri, 9:30 a.m.–12:20 p.m.



Non-specialized introductory summaries of selected regional topics in world prehistory. Breadth-Social Sciences.


After we die, our bones are all that is left of our bodies. There is a great deal we can decipher and learn from the bones of those who have died, either in the recent or distant past. This course is an examination of what and how science can tell us what we can learn from our ancestors and from the dead – more specifically about who they were, how they lived, and how they died. It explores how human remains are the most tangible and direct source of information about the lives and deaths of individuals and peoples in the past, from our prehuman ancestors millions of years ago to contemporary forensic investigations. The course relies strongly on the instructor’s own work experience and is grounded on an ethical reflective practice. 


  • Term Project 25%
  • Class assignments (X10) 75%



Course materials will be posted on SFU's learning management system, CANVAS (, on a weekly basis.

Lectures will contain respectful and educational depictions of the dead human body, mummies, human bones, ancestral remains, crime scenes, cemeteries, burial grounds, funerary monuments and objects, both ancient and recent. Students taking this course are required to behave respectfully towards the learning materials at all times, and are recommended to use appropriate cultural protocols and self-care practices in preparation to or while attending class. 


Paul G. Bahn (Editor). Written in Bones: How Human Remains Unlock the Secrets of the Dead. Firefly Books, 2nd edition (2012) 

Additional readings will be assigned for most lectures


Your personalized Course Material list, including digital and physical textbooks, are available through the SFU Bookstore website by simply entering your Computing ID at:

Department Undergraduate Notes:

Students with hidden or visible disabilities who may need class or exam accommodations, including in the context of remote learning, are advised to register with the SFU Centre for Accessible Learning ( or 778-782-3112) as soon as possible to ensure that they are eligible and that approved accommodations and services are implemented in a timely fashion.

Deferred grades will be given only on the basis of authenticated medical disability.

Registrar Notes:


SFU’s Academic Integrity website is filled with information on what is meant by academic dishonesty, where you can find resources to help with your studies and the consequences of cheating. Check out the site for more information and videos that help explain the issues in plain English.

Each student is responsible for his or her conduct as it affects the university community. Academic dishonesty, in whatever form, is ultimately destructive of the values of the university. Furthermore, it is unfair and discouraging to the majority of students who pursue their studies honestly. Scholarly integrity is required of all members of the university.


Students with a faith background who may need accommodations during the semester are encouraged to assess their needs as soon as possible and review the Multifaith religious accommodations website. The page outlines ways they begin working toward an accommodation and ensure solutions can be reached in a timely fashion.