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Artifact or Evidence? The Role of Material Culture at War-Related Forensic Recovery Scenes

Author(s): Sabrina Ta'ala

Year: 2017

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Artifact collection and analysis is a foundation of all archaeological research, and the methods used to record and draw meaning from the material culture we encounter on archaeological sites are generally standardized across subdisciplines.  But field decisions about what to keep, what to disregard, and how to record and quantify it all are invariably informed, to some extent, by our research goals.  When it comes to war-related sites excavated by U.S. Department of Defense teams with the primary goal of recovering and identifying the remains of missing service members, material evidence collection and analysis protocols are dictated by both archaeological and forensic standards.  There is a great deal of overlap between forensic evidence and archaeological artifact handling methodologies; however, some key distinctions exist.  This paper will examine the unique treatment of artifacts as evidence gathered from sites excavated by Defense POW/MIA Accounting Agency (DPAA) teams around the world.

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Artifact or Evidence? The Role of Material Culture at War-Related Forensic Recovery Scenes. Sabrina Ta'ala. Presented at Society for Historical Archaeology, Fort Worth, TX. 2017 ( tDAR id: 435116)


Temporal Keywords
20th Century

Spatial Coverage

min long: -129.199; min lat: 24.495 ; max long: -66.973; max lat: 49.359 ;

Record Identifiers

PaperId(s): 582

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