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Forensic Archaeology Essay

1075 words - 5 pages

Case study Rwanda 1996. And Kosovo
One of the biggest problems with analysing techniques and methods used by forensic archaeologists, in non-historic mass graves excavation, is the fact that almost all data is hidden under the veil of secret. This raises many ethnical questions and concerns. Despite this makes no sense, it is the reality according to Steele (2008). In her work for Journal of the World Archaeological Congress, she pointed out that due to the importance of these excavations and evidence collected for the criminal trials, everything is kept far away from the eyes of the general population and even scholars. No one is saying that mass graves that date before the Second World ...view middle of the document...

(Haglund et al, 2001)
Hodo (2012), wrote a research paper on mass graves found in Kosovo that are the consequence of the war, fought between 28 February, 1998 and 10 June, 1999.He argues that information about mass grave sites can be a common knowledge to the local people, or they can be discovered utterly by chance . There were cases when people would have found these sites when waking a dog or while the preoperational works were conducted for a new highway. When a mass grave is newly found, usually law enforcement goes to the site firstly. Only after that would forensic archaeologists visit it for initial survey and general observation. From them point the process went on, it was photographed, and samples of plant and insect matter were taken for further testing, in the laboratory of course. Then was the turn to start digging. The remains excavated were then additionally photographed and removed by experts. Then the remains were transferred to the lab or mortuary, depending on the mass grave site, so that forensic anthropologists and medical pathologists can proceed with the examination. All this is conducted with a goal of identifying remains in order to be returned to the families and not to forget to determine the cause of death. (Hodo, 2012).
So, apart from all the archaeological methods applied initially, before the digging was even conducted in these case studies, and before the remains were transferred to the lab there was something else forensic archaeologists did. Thanks to their knowledge of osteology they could give some prior information about the remains that were dug up. (Hodo, 2012. and Haglund et al, 2001) Forensic osteology, based on the definition found on is ˝the science of determining the causes and circumstances of human death from the features, composition, and context of bone remains˝. Before the DNA or some other test was done and before the identification was completed, thanks to the forensic archaeologists they were able to get insight on how many females, mails or children were in the mass those graves. Also forensic archaeologists on the site were able to provide initial information about the nature of death. In some cases, they could say with some degree of certainty whether or not the victims were violently executed, and...

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