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Lessons Learned from the Courts: Forensic Archaeology and Anthropology in Recent United States Jurisprudence

Author(s): Ryan Seidemann ; Christine Halling

Year: 2016

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Summary

Unlike many other aspects of archaeology, forensic archaeology and anthropology is, in part, only as effective as the courts believe it to be. While peer review is the gold standard for assessing the integrity and viability of the scientific aspects of forensic archaeology and anthropology, passing muster in a court of law can be a different—and sometimes counterintuitive—standard. Although some recent research in this area has examined the impact of court attempts to “police” the integrity of science in forensic anthropology expert testimony, this presentation casts its net wider. We examine broadly the treatment and discussion of forensic archaeology and anthropology in the jurisprudence not to divine expert standards, but rather to assess overall reception of these areas of inquiry by the courts. Through this presentation, we review several years-worth of jurisprudential commentary on forensic archaeology and anthropology with an eye towards providing guidance for practitioners to assist them in navigating potential pitfalls of operating within the legal system in the United States.


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Lessons Learned from the Courts: Forensic Archaeology and Anthropology in Recent United States Jurisprudence. Ryan Seidemann, Christine Halling. Presented at The 81st Annual Meeting of the Society for American Archaeology, Orlando, Florida. 2016 ( tDAR id: 402976)


Keywords


Arizona State University The Andrew W. Mellon Foundation National Science Foundation National Endowment for the Humanities Society for American Archaeology Archaeological Institute of America