79 Photos - Jul 13, 2012
Photo: FSU Anthropology offers a forensic anthropology class (fall 2012) and coordinates in teaching a similar class for the Institute of Police Technology and Management in Jacksonville.Photo: Forensic 'archaeology' is increasingly important in scenes involving 'well decayed' bodies (skeletonized).Photo: Photo: We emphasize controlled searches to find surface skeletons and buried bodies.  Mock scene in Jacksonville.Photo: Surface scatters of bone are not unusual in heavily forested areas.  Bodies are often 'dumped' in the woods rather than buried.  It is quicker and more common than burial in Florida.Photo: Mark off the core area where the bulk of the skeletal material is.  Flag and don't step on anything!Photo: Careful clearing of vegetation reveals the pattern of the distribution of the remains.  It also helps identify what might be missing.Photo: When law enforcement personnel finish this class they know the basics of field and lab techniques (all field items are plastic skeletons).Photo: Both bone and 'evidence' is left in place and photographed and mapped before anything is ever picked up.  A clear application of basic archaeological field techniques.Photo: Scales, north arrow and log - part of the documentation process.  Just like field archaeology.Photo: Finger prints can survive a long time in some situations - knife handle might have some.  Blood residues?  DNA analysis?  All are possibilities.Photo: A right scapula.  Skeletal material can tell us about ethnicity, sex, age and trauma.  It is a treasure trove for law enforcement (and for archaeologists and anthropologists).Photo: Shoe tracks are of forensic interest for a variety of reasons. A shoe should contain the wearer's DNA.Photo: Field sketch of surface skeleton. Recording is critical. Sometimes we also deal with mixed materials of multiple people which can present challenges http://www.anthro.fsu.edu/pdf/adamscomming2006.pdfPhoto: Burial does take place but in Florida more bodies are dumped rather than buried.Photo: Probing around a suspect grave.  Grave fill is softer  than undisturbed soil and can be 'felt' by probing.Photo: Metal detectors help find tiems on the crime scene. Marked with a metal dowel.  Projectiles also are readily identified with a metal detector (bullets and casings).Photo: Heavy leaf fall obscures the grave.  It has been in the ground for 1 year.Photo: Careful leaf and vegetation removal begins to show the disturbed soil and buried  leaves that are characteristic of a grave.Photo: In this area there is a heavy natural root mat at the surface and when you dig a grave you go through it.  This makes the grave pretty visible.  All we have done is clear the loose vegetation to reveal the burial pit.Photo: Removing the soil from the grave.  Careful excavation can reveal all sorts of evidence which you ideally want to find 'in situ' - in place in the grave.Photo: All sorts of things get thrown in the grave.Photo: Recording depth below ground surface is basic archaeological practice.Photo: Usually the first thing to appear in the grave is the skull or the innominates (hips).Photo: Everything gets screened.  You don't want to miss anything that might help identify the person or items that are associated with the body.Photo: Smokers almost always throw their butts in the grave fill.  Filters survive a long time because they are 'synthetic' material.  DNA and other biomolecule analysis has a contribution to make in these cases.Photo: Excavation with care, photography and documentation are critical.Photo: A hat that cumulatively has been in the ground about 6 years.  Different materials survive different lengths depending on composition and soil conditions.Photo: Left femur.  The long bones can provide an estimate of living stature.Photo: Mock 'cause of death'  - stranger things have happened in real life - trust me.Photo: Basic inventory is essential in forensic work.Photo: Inventory is the last step before backfilling the grave and moving to the lab.  Generally skeletonized material will go to an anthropological osteologist.Photo: Good field sketch of a mock burial.Photo: Meridth Hardy and Rachel Wentz participating in a forensic training exercise.  Both now have Ph.Ds and are employed respectively by the National Park Service and the Florida Public Archaeology Network.Photo: Searching for a grave that has been in the ground for a year.Photo: Can you see the disturbed soil and difference in vegetation density?  Possible indicators of a grave.Photo: Regulating the water for screening.  A bit more volume than we needed!Photo: Field teams excavating mock graves (near Tallahassee).Photo: Photo: Trajectory of projectiles  through a car, a body or bone can be studied and provide a lot of information.  These shots were all coming from the front.Photo: PORT DE PAIX, HAITI - SEPTEMBER 8:  (EDITORS NOTE: IMAGE RELEASED BY U.S. MILITARY PRIOR TO TRANSMISSION) In this handout image provided by the U.S. Navy, homes remain flooded after four storms in one month have devastated the area and killed more than 800 people September 8, 2008 in Port De Paix, Haiti. The amphibious assault ship USS Kearsarge (LHD 3) has been diverted from the scheduled Continuing Promise 2008 humanitarian assistance deployment in the western Caribbean to conduct hurricane relief operations in Haiti. (Photo by Emmitt Hawks/U.S. Navy via Getty Images).  FORENSIC ANTHROPOLOGY ALSO HAS APPLICATION IN CASES OF MASS DISASTERS LIKE THIS - FLOODING, AIRPLANE CRASHES ETC.Photo: Fire destroys homes along the beach on Galveston Island, Texas as Hurricane Ike approaches Friday, Sept. 12, 2008. (AP Photo/David J. Phillip).  Bodies in warm climates are usually reduced to skeletons in only a few weeks and special analysis is required for identification.Photo: An overturned car sits in floodwaters from Hurricane Ike September 14, 2008 in Gilchrist, Texas. Floodwaters from Hurricane Ike are reportedly as high as eight feet in some areas causing widespread damage across the coast of Texas.   AFP PHOTO/POOL/David J. Phillip (Photo credit should read DAVID J. PHILLIP/AFP/Getty Images)Photo: GILCHRIST, TX - SEPTEMBER 14:  A home is left standing among debris from Hurricane Ike September 14, 2008 in Gilchrist, Texas. Floodwaters from Hurricane Ike are reportedly as high as eight feet in some areas causing widespread damage across the coast of Texas.  (Photo by David J. Phillip-Pool/Getty Images)Photo: The entrance to the 'Body Farm'Photo: Body being processed at the University of Tennessee, Anthropology,  'Body Farm'.  UT researchers have provided us with excellent information on details of decomposition.Photo: Decomposition processes help us understand and estimate the time interval the body has been in the field or in the ground.Photo: Soil conditions can have a big impact on decomposition.Photo: Surgery and 'repair' helps make a body 'unique' and aids in identification of the deceased.  Normally we are dealing with Jane and John Does.Photo: Comparative skeletal material is valuable in understanding the process of aging, health and disease among other things.Photo: Each skeleton has a story to tell - we just have to learn to read that story.Photo: Classic clay facial reconstruction. No one will recognize a person's skull. Lots of effort goes into making positive identifications and facial reconstruction is one approach.Photo: Items associated with the body may prove useful in estimating the time of death and may aid in identification.Photo: Construction site where human skeletal material was discovered.  As it turns out, it was a historic burial (circa 1880).  Not a forensic case in the strictest sense of the word.  But unmarked graves require a forensic approach.Photo: Construction turned up human skeletal material in Leon County and every agency seemed to have a presence in the field.Photo: Part of the skeleton had been discovered by a backhoe.  Field team is excavating the undisturbed portion(s) still in the ground.Photo: Getting ready to screen the soil.Photo: Excavation, documentation, inventory, etc.  - all are critical in forensic work.Photo: Forensice or archaeological?  Same analysis techniques are required.  This individual has very worn teeth and is prehistoric.Photo: Cause of death?  Broadsword to the front of the skull.  York, England.Photo: Implants and prosthetics aid in making positive identifications of individuals.  Knee replacements are becoming quite common.Photo: Wear on teeth varies dramatically but this is what you would expect of a 'modern' person of forensic interest.  Wear is much more extreme in prehistoric material and early historic individuals.Photo: A wonderful feature of individuation that would allow absolute positive identification.Photo: You won't see this very often.  Each individual is unique in different ways, sometimes spectacularly so.  All this helps in forensic work.  Yes, you counted correctly, eight on each foot.Photo: Another great feature of individuation.  Quite impressive humerus fracture (shatter).  It is indicative of a lot of kinetic energy - motocycle crash in this case.  This fracture and subsequent plate implant will last the life of the individual.Photo: Photo: Is it human?  You are looking at a femur, tibia and fibula.  Mostly decomposed and obvioulsy incomplete.  It is close to human size but is in fact not human, thus it is not a forensic case.Photo: Once the material is out of the field, laboratory analysis begins.  Fragmentary skeletal material requires special training for proper analysis. This is something human osteologists in anthropology departments are expert at.Photo: Osteology also addresses issues of  sex, age, injury/evidence of trauma, and population affiliation.Photo: Even small elements may be important in identification of the deceased.  Even fingers and toes can be used to make stature estimates.Photo: Ribs, innominates,  and the crania can provide information about age-at-death.  We are constantly improving our aging accuracy.Video: Possible grave identified by probing around the grave margins. There are some efforts to conceal the grave but that is hard to see in this video.Video: Metal detectors help identify small and not-so-obvious metal materials possibly associated with the case.Video: Clearing surface vegetation from the mock grave.  The 'grave' has been in the ground for one year.  FSU Anthropology faculty (Doran) has co-taught the course with Florida Deparment of Law Enforcement staff for over 30 years.  It is offered as a full semester course at FSU.  The Jacksonville class is a one week, intensive 'crash course'.Video: Removing soil from the 'natural' soil surrounding the mock grave. Sharp metal tools are never used around skeletal material. Hundreds of students have attended the class.  Ms. Karen Cooper (FDLE) co-instructor commenting on the soil coloration and compactness.Video: Plastic skeleton along with 'evidence' to simulate a real 'forensic' case.  Application of archaeology and osteology to crime scene settings.  The FSU/IPTM course is the longest running forensic field course in the country.Video: Fingerprints might survive on the water bottle.  Planning ahead is critical in forensic cases.Video: If the grave is too deep a 'neighbor grave' can be dug to allow excavators to get closer to the work area.Video: Metal detectors come in handy.  The 'skeleton' has been removed and they are simply checking below where the burial was.