From conducting Disaster Victim Identification (DVI) in war zones, scenes of crime and mass fatality incidents to being an Expert Advisor in forensic anthropology and archaeology for the National Crime Agency (NCA), our Company Scientific Advisor Dr. Julie Roberts is a highly regarded expert and has made quite the name for herself in the field of forensics. Here, she offers some encouraging advice for aspiring archaeologists and anthropologists looking to break into the industry and reflects on her most memorable cases to date – including overseas deployments and the 2005 London bombings.
Animal scavenging is a major taphonomic process responsible for damage to bones and alternations to post-mortem interval estimates (Hiram-Cantu, 2014). While this is the most well-known fact about animal scavenging within the scientific community wild animals are also responsible for the dispersal of human remains. As a result, animal scavenging can have huge implications for forensics and crime scene investigation (CSI).
World Soil Day (WSD), held annually every December 5th, is a global initiative set up by the United Nations to raise awareness of the importance of healthy soils and to advocate for the sustainable management of soil resources. This year’s focus was on salt-affected soil and the impact of sustainable soil practices to prevent salinization.
Our expert ecologist Dr. Rosie Everett recently chaired a roundtable at the United Nation’s 2021 Climate Change Conference, with the focus of the discussion on the main ecological issues concerning climate change today. In relation to forensic ecology this considers how climate change could affect the analysis that ecologists do to provide support for major crime investigations, with one of the main points from Dr. Everett’s seminar being the impact of changes in soils associated with flooding.
Plant science and its applications have been studied for thousands of years, first being explored by naturalist Ulisse Aldrovandi (1522-1605) who was considered the father of natural history with his research including the study of plants. In 1665 polymath Robert Hook discovered cells in cork, and later on in living plant tissue. However, what many people are surprised to hear is how plant science, known in the forensic setting as forensic botany, can be used to help solve modern-day crimes.
Archaeology has many different functions in the field of forensics. The application of archaeological techniques within forensics enables forensic archaeologists to make connections between objects, human remains and the burial/deposition environment. In addition, forensic archaeological recording techniques can provide accurate data capture, which can then be used to assist vital reconstruction of a scene.
Crime Scene Investigation (CSI) involves the complex and rigorous examination of evidence which ultimately ends with a criminal prosecution. This work is carried out by Crime Scene Investigators who are trained in the identification, recovery and recording of evidence from a multitude of different crime scenes – including buildings, people (be that victim, suspect or witness), transport or areas of land or water.
The following article is based on research by G. T. Cook, L. A. N. Ainscough and E. Dunbar.
Radiocarbon dating can be particularly useful in establishing the age of a sample rich in carbon, including hair, bone, blood residue, textiles, fabrics, wood, charcoal, plant fibres, and pollen. Traditionally, it is most frequently used to determine whether human remains or evidence items are of archaeological or forensic significance.
Forensic Access Group has recently completed the acquisition of Faraday Forensics. This is the latest acquisition by the Forensic Access Group, building on the success of Forensic Access and following the recent acquisition of IntaForensics and Alecto Forensic Services, all of which supports an ambitious growth strategy aimed at creating a leading international forensic and criminal justice services organisation.
Diatom analysis, as a forensic investigation technique, is a fairly niche tool. It has many applications in forensic investigations, such as direct environmental analysis in soil and water samples, alongside being present in human tissue, hair, and material adhesion. This particular form of evidence evaluation sees species identification merge with ecological interpretation.
Digital imaging has many uses in the field of forensics, encompassing a broad spectrum of disciplines from body reconstruction and visualisation to crime scene reconstruction and injury mapping. We caught-up with Alecto Forensics’ digital imaging specialist David Harrison to discuss how forensic imaging can be used to help build a case.