Services > AAE > Bones ID

Bones ID

See also:
Forensic Anthropology Forensic Archaeology Search Assessment and Mapping Service UAVs Walkover Survey Archaeological Excavation 3D Crime Scene Modelling Diatoms 3D Digital Body Reconstruction Entomology Soil Botany Pollen


We are frequently asked if bones or fragments of bone are human and if they are likely to be of recent origin, and therefore of potential interest to the police. We operate a rapid and responsive bones ID service for law enforcement, in hours 8am to 6pm (weekdays). We also provide an out of hours between 6pm and 8pm (weekdays) and 8am to 8pm (weekends and bank holidays) bones ID service. Simply send images of the bones to for quick identification.

If you need to take advantage of the service outside of these of hours, please call us on 01235 552300. The service will be chargeable. If necessary, the enquiry can be followed up by scene attendance or submission of items for further analysis.

Monday to Friday 8am - 6pm (excluding Bank Holidays) In Hours Service Email us at with your images
Monday to Friday 6pm - 8pm (excluding Bank Holidays) Out of Hours Service
Saturday to Sunday and Bank Holidays 8am - 8pm
All Other times Call us on 01235 552300


Before sending your images. . .

For bones still in original position (in situ), we would advise initially leaving them in situ in order to photograph.  Should there be a necessity to move the bone(s), we would recommend consulting our forensic anthropology team for advice on this.

The images must ideally;

  • Be in focus
  • Show as much of the bone as possible, given the limitations outlined above
  • Contain a scale (if there is no scale / ruler / tape measure etc. available, include something to provide an indication of scale, e.g. pen or coin)

If the bone(s) have been moved from their original position, then the above applies and, in addition:

  • Take a number of images showing multiple surfaces of the bone, including the ends, particularly useful are images of any joint surfaces or cross sections of broken parts of the bone(s)
  • Ensure the bone is on a plain, contrasting background, with the scale close to the bone

Include in the email the name and contact number of the person dealing with the case.

If we receive images that are not suitable for assessment, we may request additional images and alongside our request, provide feedback and appropriate advice.

We will assess multiple images if they provide additional information that helps us to assess the bone more easily in order to provide you with an opinion. The Bones ID service is available to help forces establish whether or not there is a scene. If a scene is established and bone identification is required, this may sit outside the Bones ID service. However, we can still assist with your investigation, please contact us directly to discuss.