The Forensic Taphonomy Course provides students with an in-depth, hands-on workshop that focuses on the field investigative techniques of collecting, processing, and analyzing taphonomic evidence for the purposes of estimating time since death, interpreting the circumstances surrounding death, and the location of scattered or buried human remains. Emphasis is placed on collecting, preserving, and interpreting insect evidence, plant and soil evidence, and the search and recovery of human skeletal remains.
Students learn how to manage an outdoor crime scene, properly collect and preserve insect evidence, document and collect any associated physical evidence, strategically search for buried bodies, and properly exhume human skeletal remains.
This course is taught by both a forensic anthropologist and a forensic entomologist. It also involves hands-on group activities, mock outdoor death scenes, and mock burials.
Upon successful completion of this course, students will demonstrate the ability to survey and process an outdoor death scene, identify taphonomic evidence of forensic importance, search and recover insect and human skeletal evidence, as well as display the ability to work as a team and properly collect and package evidence to be analyzed by a forensic entomologist or forensic anthropologist.
Defining forensic taphonomy. Students will learn insects of forensic importance, basics of forensic botany and environmental changes after death, and learn the importance of forensic anthropology at a death scene.
Afternoon - (12:30pm-4:30pm) Field training
Finish classroom introduction of forensic taphonomy topics.
View pigs for insect activity to estimate relative time since death and learn proper procedures for approaching, documenting, and processing an outdoor scene.