Forensic Archaeology

From the lectures in our Anthropology 246 class we have learned that archaeologists have had huge impacts on our past and will have huge impacts on our futures. Archaeologists spend most of their time analyzing sites and trying to discover new landmarks, artifacts, and remnants of architectures.  Sometimes archaeologists even find remnants of dead bodies which most of the time give them hints to what used to be at or what used to happen at that site. According to the lecture a site can be defined as a place where past human activity was preserved. So if archaeologists discover human bodies or parts of human bodies that is the best way to get facts about the history of the sites. Discovering and investigating of human bodies is something very similar to Forensic Science.

Something called Forensic Archaeology has become a common interest in the past two years. So not only is archaeology discovering different kinds of rocks, buildings, and architecture, it has helped solved crimes around the world. Archaeology includes the process of collecting evidence from all different types of sites. Collecting evidence is also a process that police officers take part in as well. Forensic Archaeology has a lot more to offer to police work and forensic work than we think. Archaeologists spend a great deal of time examining and excavating sites for clues using a trowel, soil brushes, and shovels to discover what is underneath the surface. Police officers do this very infrequently. Archaeologists have to do an extended amount of research and recording of evidence before the site is even considered for digging and excavating.  Because once you start an excavation, you only have one chance to get everything you want from that site because excavation is extremely destructive. Therefore, if there is an assumption that a crime has happened and the body is buried underneath the surface, the archaeologists have to prepare the site before the forensic and police force can even think to start digging for evidence. The archaeologist’s evidence is the first step to start the investigation.  According to our lectures there are lists of nondestructive steps that must be done before the expensive stages of excavation. There is survey, aerial, geophysics, magnetometry, and field walking.  Once completed with these steps the archaeologists are allowed to move onto the next phases. This includes recovering the evidence and allowing the police officers and the forensic science team join them and try and discover evidence that might link to the crime and permit them to finding the criminal that is responsible for, most likely the murder of the body buried at the site.

So as you can see archaeology always will have an impact on our future and in the case of Forensic Archaeology it might even allow us to make the world a safer place to live.

Madison Wallock