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Preservation & Decay

Preservation & Decay

Are you interested in learning about how fossils are formed and preserved?

This course aims to provide a holistic introduction to the science of taphonomy; how organismal remains decay and enter the archaeological and palaeontological record.

You will be introduced to the core principles of the science, pathways to preservation, destructive processes, investigative approaches and experimental practices all involved in incorporating taphonomic information in forensic, archaeological and palaeontological studies.

The course will be delivered through a series of online lectures and 2 days of practical workshops out in the field. There will be discussions and the opportunity to share information, and develop good communication skills.

Learning materials such as articles and videos will be made available online.

What you will study

• The principles of taphonomy – decay and pathways to preservation
• History and current state of the science
• Taphonomy in deep time
• Palaeontological considerations
• Mineralogical preservation
• Destructive processes
• Interpreting organismal remains Signals and noise in the fossil record
• Taphonomy in archaeology
• Perimortem/postmortem processes
• Soft vs. Hard part preservation
• Experimental taphonomy
• Biases


You will produce a portfolio of material linked to the aspects of preservation and decay covered throughout the module. This portfolio will include:
• A short written piece (maximum of 1000 words) explaining taphonomic principles
• Records of assessments of biological remains and experimental observations
You will also be assessed on other supporting evidence gathered from workshops and practicals undertaken across the module.

Course dates 

Online learning materials will be available from 17th May 2021. This will be followed up with 2 days of practical on-site sessions. Please select one set of dates when you book:
Wednesday 9th June 2021 and Thursday 10th June 2021
Saturday 12th June 2021 and Sunday 13th June 2021


Online and 2 days of practical at Brymbo Heritage site in Wrexham


Full price: £95

Current WGU students / staff and Brymbo volunteers: £55

To book

To book onto this course, please visit the online store.

The closing date for this course is 21st May 2021.

Wrexham Glyndwr University Open DaysOpen Evenings 2021