Informatie over minors
Forensic TaphonomyMinor


Study unit code 



Forensic Taphonomy  

Study programme




Experimenting, level 2. 


Learning outcomes 


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.  



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.  


Majoreducation unit  


Target groups

Students from Biomedical Sciences, Biotechnolgy, Forensic Science, Archaeology and Biology.  

Added value 

Taphonomy is a sub-discipline of mainly archaeology and forensic sciences, it is considered to be a niche. This minor offers students with either an archaeological or biological background, and an interest in forensic science, hands-on experience and knowledge on the taphonomic changes that cadaveric material undergoes. This minor is unique in that students participate within a larger research group and are able to set-up their own experiment, further international education on this topic is limited, especially of this volume (30ects).  

Teaching methods and student workload. 



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  


Rating scale 

Grade (one decimal)  


Field analysis report, individual essay.  

Research proposal, individual essay.  

Exam Taphonomy, individual exam, closed book. 

Research thesis, individual essay.  

Mandatory literature

  • ForensicTaphonomy, the post-mortem fate of human remains,byWilliam D.Haglund& Marcella H.Sorg.  

  • Manual of ForensicTaphonomy, by James T.Pokines& Steven A.Symes.(2014)  

  • Proper work clothing and gear.  


X STD standard module 


Contactpersoon informatieverzoeken* 





Type of education

Full time 

Offered in terms

Terms 3 and 4 

Start registration period* 


End registration period



Mandatory contact hours


Entry requirements VHL-students

Propaedeutic certificate achieved 

Biomedical science, biotechnology, forensic science 

Entry requirements external students 

Propaedeutic certificate achieved 

Biomedical science, biotechnology, forensic science, archeology, biology 

Documents to be submitted before entry

Propaedeutic certificate 


Max 25 students 


To be able to follow a minor, you as a student need official permission from the examination committee of your study program. For the programs (or majors) below, this minor has been approved in advance by the relevant examination committee. If your study program is listed here, you no longer need to request approval from your examination committee to be able to follow the minor. 


03-02-2020Duur 1 semester
Contactpersoon T Krap (tel: 0582846253, email:
Coordinerend onderdeelVan Hall Larenstein
Minor Forensic Taphonomy 2015
Minor Forensic Taphonomy 2018
Minor Forensic Taphonomy 2019