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date: 01 June 2020

Abstract and Keywords

Forensic archaeology, the application of archaeological methods in a criminal framework, has undergone a rapid process of acceptance and development. From the initial occasional involvement of archaeologists in the search for and recovery of murder victims in the late 1970s, to the general acceptance of archaeological methods, such as shallow level geophysics, this chapter provides a brief history of forensic archaeology in the United Kingdom and beyond. It outlines the ways in which an archaeologist’s understanding of formation processes and skills in the interpretation of human behaviour from physical alterations to the landscape can be of benefit to different stages and types of investigation. Discussing the way in which the archaeologist can usefully contribute to the investigation of a crime, the chapter looks at the methods which have been successfully applied in a number of high-profile cases and the considerations which the forensic archaeologist must make which are not an issue for ‘traditional’ archaeology. In a discipline which has reached a critical point in its development with the acknowledgement that archaeological skills should regularly form an integral part of crime scene investigation and an increase in professional training, the authors explain how forensic archaeology is now moving to increased standardization and attempts at quality assurance.

Keywords: forensic archaeology, stratigraphy, search, excavation, recovery, forensic anthropology, methodologies, taphonomy, standardization

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