Bridging the Gap: Bringing Archaeology into the Forensic Forum

Author(s): Dana Kollmann

Year: 2016


Archaeological excavations are much like crime scene investigations in that to study them, is to destroy them. Consequently, full-scale documentation, cataloguing, and proper packaging techniques are critical components of archaeological and forensic fieldwork. Archaeologists have the additional benefit to law enforcement of being trained to conduct line and grid searches, interpret soils for evidence of disturbance, and perform exhumations using standardized excavation techniques. Law enforcement; however, tends to operate as a closed system and has the propensity to draw upon resources available in their department or those in other regional law enforcement agencies. Arguments for this insular practice tend to revolve around issues of confidentiality and chain of custody. Drawing on case studies, this paper explores avenues for forensic archaeologists to break through the seemingly impenetrable walls of law enforcement and apply their skills to cases involving surface searches and/or the identification and exhumation of clandestine gravesites.

Cite this Record

Bridging the Gap: Bringing Archaeology into the Forensic Forum. Dana Kollmann. Presented at The 81st Annual Meeting of the Society for American Archaeology, Orlando, Florida. 2016 ( tDAR id: 402969)

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Spatial Coverage

min long: -84.067; min lat: 36.031 ; max long: -72.026; max lat: 43.325 ;