This module can be taken as a Short Course for Credit or a Standalone Short Course.

Please go to the 'Upgrade to a professional qualification' section for more information.

Electives may not run if there is limited student uptake. However, alternatives will be offered.

This course introduces the role of the forensic archaeologist within the context of major crime investigation, specifically in the UK. The module aims to describe and discuss all aspects of this role, including project design, wide area search techniques, grave location techniques, excavation, evidence recognition and handling, grave and scatter scene interpretation and the production of specialist reports for court.

At a glance

  • Dates
    • 21 - 25 Oct 2024
  • Duration5 days
  • LocationCranfield campus
  • Cost£2,350 - Short Course for Credit fee

    £2,100 - Standalone Short Course fee Concessions available

Course structure

One course per year. Each course lasts for 5 days. 1 week intensive delivery comprising taught lectures, presentations, desk-based exercises and outdoor practical simulated examinations.

What you will learn

 On successful completion of this module a student should be able to:
  • Evaluate and critically assess the development of forensic archaeology and its current application on UK and international crime scenes
  • Critically assess the main techniques used in the location of buried objects and evaluate their usefulness in different terrains and against different target types
  • Summarise key aspects of stratigraphy, soil characteristics/properties and their impact on both the archaeological record, context and the excavation techniques
  • Critically assess the main techniques used in excavation, documentation and recovery of buried remains and evaluate their usefulness in different soil contexts
  • Plan and implement the practical aspects of a forensic excavation and its documentation.

Core content

  • The development of Forensic Archaeology in both UK and international contexts
  • Perpetrator behaviour
  • Search and location
  • Grave digging practical
  • Principles of geophysics
  • Principles of surveying
  • Stratigraphy
  • Scene documentation and recording
  • Assessing soils
  • Running a forensic excavation

Upgrade to a professional qualification

This course will be taught at Masters standard as it is one of the modules that comprise the postgraduate Forensic Modular Masters Programme. Registering for this Short Course for Credit and successfully passing the associated assessment will gain you 10 Cranfield credits. These could then be used to apply for a transfer towards a PgCert/PgDip or MSc in the Forensic Programme should you wish to complete one of these courses within 5 years.

Find out more about short course credit points.

Who should attend

Anyone whose current role involves the investigation of major crime or the examination of such scenes, or who is seeking to develop their career in forensic scene examination would benefit from this course.


The course is a module of the Forensic Modular Masters Programme, which is accredited by  The Chartered Society of Forensic Sciences.



Concessions are available for Cranfield alumni and multiple bookings from the same organisation, please contact us to discuss.

Accommodation options and prices

This course is non-residential. If you would like to book accommodation on campus, please contact Mitchell Hall or Cranfield Management Development Centre directly. Further information about our on campus accommodation can be found here.  Alternatively you may wish to make your own arrangements at a nearby hotel.

Location and travel

Situated close to Milton Keynes and Bedford, the Cranfield campus is situated in Wharley End, very close to Cranfield village, and is about 10 minutes from the M1 motorway.  There is rail and road access to most major airports as well as coach and train stations. Cranfield campus also has its own airport for private executive business travel.

Download a visitor guide including map, directions and health and safety information.

Campus address

College Road
MK43 0AL

Read our Professional development (CPD) booking conditions.