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Start of European Cooperation in Forensic Archaeology

Published: Thursday, August 15, 2013
Last Updated: Thursday, August 15, 2013
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Scientists have agreed to cooperate at the European level to improve the use of forensic archaeological theories, principles and methods in criminal investigations.

On the initiative of the Netherlands Forensic Institute (NFI), a Project Group has been formed for that purpose.

The Project Group is part of the European Network of Forensic Science Institutes (ENFSI) and follows from the first European meeting of forensic archaeologists, other forensic scientists and Scene of Crime Officers that was organized at the NFI in August 2012.

Forensic archaeology

Forensic archaeology combines archaeological, pedological, osteological, ecological and criminalistic expertise at a crime scene to systematically and verifiably document and interpret finds and features in or on the soil, and to secure items for further follow-up analysis. On the basis of material remains, such as bones, plants or soil disturbances, forensic archaeologists collect research data that can be used in a judicial investigation of a possible crime. They do this, for example, during the search for clandestine burials or buried objects, during the recovery of fragmented human remains and related finds from the surface, during the excavation of clandestine burials or buried objects and related finds, and through the interpretation of features and the dating of objects found on the scene or buried skeletonised human remains.

The objective of the European Forensic Archaeology Project Group is to launch a platform for European forensic archaeology, to explore the feasibility of a permanent ENFSI Forensic Archaeology Working Group in the near future, and to examine how forensic archaeological theories, principles and methods can be used best in criminal cases in the different European countries.

The Project Group furthermore aims at knowledge exchange, the organisation of courses and training sessions, and the coordination of research and development at the European level. The formation of the Forensic Archaeology Project Group fits within NFI’s strategy to play a pro-active role in the development of forensic archaeology in Europe.

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