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Forensic Archaeology

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


Archaeology is the study of the human past through its physical remains. It can enable us to understand the activities associated with a crime, such as digging and backfilling a pit or grave, concealing a body (or other items) in a pre-existing hollow, or concealment under concrete floors or other parts of a structure.

Multiple phases of activity can be represented at a crime scene: one person might dig a pit but, many weeks or months later, another person might deposit something within it. Evidence can be deliberately or accidentally deposited during each phase of activity, such as weapons, items relating to identity, travel tickets, gloves or clothing.

Forensic archaeology can identify indications of human and natural activities, interpret them, reveal the sequence of these events, and attribute evidence to the correct phase of activity. It can also help to understand how much time has passed since an activity, such as burial, occurred.

Cellmark’s forensic archaeological approach comprises four main stages that can be used together or individually. They progress from non-intrusive methods to archaeological excavation:

Search Assessment and Mapping Service (SAMS)

Helping to define the search area or to understand the scene prior to attendance.

More on SAMS

Aerial remote sensing

The use of drones to capture specialist data

More on Aerial remote sensing

Walkover survey

Ground-level inspection to look for indications of disturbance, e.g. burial.

More on Walkover survey

Archaeological excavation

Comprehensive examination and recording of anomalies or overall search area

More on Archaeological excavation

Archaeologists often work in collaboration with other specialists to ensure the most effective approach for a search or scene examination is undertaken. This commonly includes: