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ANT205 - Oct 17 (Is it Human; Is it Significant).docx

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Carolan Wood

Is it Human; is it Significant? - Mapping Scattered Remains o Baseline method  Measuring tape through middle of scene (compass direction)  Measure at right angle from tape  How far and direction o Triangulation  Use 2 fixed points as reference  Record distance of object from each point o Compass sighting and measurement from fixed point - Total station, laser station, transit - Mapping concentrated remains – set up grid along compass direction o Area in question is divided up into even squares and then use triangulation from 2 stakes o Purpose of the squares (grid) to label a, b, c to indicate where the items were found - Summary – surface finds o Photograph area  Before, during, after  Videotape entire process o Search for and flag exhibits o Photograph and map o Inventory skeletal elements o Bag and label evidence o Remove evidence - After the evidence is removed o Trowel 20-30 cm below body level o Save soil for screening and flotation o Search site with a metal detector o Soil samples for chemical analysis o Collect and document everything that you do - Buried remains o Information obtained from graves o Location, size and depth of hole o Time of year – severed roots, disrupted vegetation o Evidence of digging tools – metallic fragments, rust stains, imprint - Information obtained from graves o Grave floor – foot, knee or handprints o Mixed soil – dug by two or more people? o May contain fibres from suspect - Excavation o Set up the burial perimeter  See where the back dirt is, and the limits and set up perimeter o Set up grid and delineate the grave and bisect the grave in half o Grid and remove leaf litter and send it for screening o Excavate from midline to grave wall o Keep working on a horizontal surface, don’t dig straight down; layer after layer, inch by inch o Pedestal remains and exhibits o Document, photograph, and map - Crime scenes are unique o Every case offers unique challenges o No fixed protocol o Forensic anthropologists use experience and judgement o SYSTEMATIC o CONTEXT - Forensic Significance o Role to play in medico-legal investigation o Skeletal remains  Usually human o Animal remains  Poaching  Case from BC - Human vs Animal Remains o Doug Ubelaker (Smithsonian)  10-15% animal o Bill Bass (U of Tennessee)  25-30% nonhuman o Dr. Rogers’ cases n= 70  Animal = 27%  Archaeological = 13%  Historic = 5%  Human  Not forensic = 9%  Human  Forensic = 46% - How do you tell human vs animal bone? Textbooks recommend: o Know the human skeleton in detail o Complete bones  Not difficult to determine o Recommendation  Faunal archaeology (animal bones) ANT415 in UTM - Animal vs Human bone o Size  Within normal adult range consider  Shape, angle of joint surfaces - Child vs small animal o Within normal child range consider  Epiphyses (ends)  Child = unfused - Animal bones most similar to humans o Nonhuman primates o Most similar in infancy o Similarity decreases with age o Luckily not common in forensic cases here - General considerations o Animal bone more dense o Heavier for size o Well defined surfaces, edges o More angles and ridges - Skull o Human  Bulbous forehead  Fragments uniformly curved o Animal  Fragments
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