17: Forensic Archaeology and Anthropology
Published:30 Jun 2016
This chapter discusses the historical development and current methodology of the two closely related and complementary disciplines, forensic archaeology and forensic anthropology, as well as the educational requirements and certification processes for practitioners of both. Forensic archaeology involves search, location, excavation and body recovery. Forensic anthropology encompasses identification of remains as human, estimation of the minimum number of individuals, the biological profile, time since death and trauma interpretation. Practitioners of both disciplines may be asked to assist investigators of homicides, suicides, accidental deaths and, in the case of forensic archaeology, no-body murders. In an international setting, both forensic archaeologists and anthropologists work to locate, recover and analyse human remains in mass killings (in post-conflict zones and/or concerning acts of terrorism), political disappearances, natural disasters and transportation disasters. As for disciplines within forensic science, forensic archaeologists and anthropologists must be prepared to present and defend their evidence in a court of law.