Use and usefulness of forensic archaeology and forensic anthropology in Great Britain
Sinfield, Laura Nancy
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This thesis explores the extent to which forensic archaeology and forensic anthropology are utilised within Great Britain and to what extent they aid, or do not aid, medico-legal investigation of death. Chapter One introduces the topic and considers the need for an exploration of these issues. In Chapter Two, the differences between the American and British situations are examined and an explanation for the differences proposed, based on the development of the academic ‘parent’ disciplines during the last century. Chapter Three explores issues around accreditation and registration in the UK. The role of the courts in maintaining standards of expert evidence is examined. National and European schemes are considered. After considering the practitioners in this way, Chapter Four looks at the methods, and how the practitioners’ experience informs their choice of method. One specific topic for each discipline is discussed in depth and the complexity of choice illustrated. The difficulty in assessing the full scope for use of forensic archaeology and forensic anthropology are detailed in Chapter Five, with the marked lack of available research data. The problems inherent in media-derived data are considered. The scope for use of the two disciplines is discussed and illustrated with examples from the Media Derived Case List In Chapter Six, a complex multiple-burial multiple-murder case is discussed; and interviews across one police force area are discussed. These illustrate the use and usefulness of forensic archaeology in practice. Conclusions are drawn in Chapter Seven, and radical recommendations are made.