This month saw our PhD student and resident lover-of-puns, Sam Griffiths take his viva. Readers of our old blog will remember that Sam has spent a number of years investigating the effect of submersion of bone in water. It was a complex piece of research which sought to bring together a range of analytical methods. He did experimental work, field work, scanning, all sorts. Wonderfully, he aced his viva, and is now Dr Sam Griffiths! Sam was based primarily at the National Oceanography Centre, Southampton,…Continue Reading “Sibling Rivalry…”

This weekend has seen over 100 osteology nerds descend onto the unsuspecting city of Liverpool for the 3-day British Association for Biological Anthropology and Osteoarchaeology 2017 conference! BABAO runs an annual conference in September which roams around the country, settling at host universities too slow to take a step back when volunteers are asked for. This year it was Liverpool John Moores‘ turn. No bad thing, as Liverpool is a lively, fun city to visit and steeped in history. I guess, though, that this is…Continue Reading “I couldn’t think of a clever title for this post, so my son suggested “Bits and Bones” and actually that’s pretty spot on…”

It seems a little churlish to criticise a programme for how realistic it’s dragons are, and yet here we are… First of all let me say that I love Game of Thrones. It’s dramatic, exciting and funny and the whole production is so good that I’ve even forgiven them for the under-use of the Sand Snakes. It also has something to offer those of us who are interested in teaching. I’ve used it as a basis for some of my Forensic Medicine lectures to explore…Continue Reading “Mother of Dragons vs Father of Pedants…”

A couple of weeks ago, the University ran it’s annual conference on Learning & Teaching Enhancement. It’s a great event, where staff and students can showcase some of the great work and innovations that they’ve been implementing during the year. This year, for the first time, the organisers had arranged for a few ‘Provocation’ sessions on a range of L&T subjects. Including one on the linkages between research and teaching. Now, I’m not one to shy away from being provocative and like to shake the…Continue Reading “Finding the line between controversy and getting fired…”

The Chartered Society of Forensic Sciences has been working hard in recent years to improve the standing of forensic science research. A few months ago they ran a free day event for early career researchers on getting published, they have been working to support a coordinated approach to undergraduate research projects, and continue to support their peer-reviewed academic journal, Science & Justice.  One of the other things the Council has been trying to do, for a number of years actually, is get forensic sciences recognised…Continue Reading “Forensic Science and the forthcoming REF”

Working with my excellent ex-PhD student, Dr Sarah Ellingham (who, I’m proud and delighted to say, now works for the ICRC), we’ve put out a paper which presents a quick and affordable way of determining whether bone has been burned by using an SEM. One of the problems with the march of science, is that said science can be expensive to do, and therefore limits the countries and contexts in which is can be used. This is something that I’ve discussed before as a limiting…Continue Reading “It’s all SEM-antics, really…”

I’m very excited to say that The Analysis of Burned Human Remains, 2nd Edition, edited by Christopher W. Schmidt and Steven A. Symes, received an Honorable Mention in the Biomedicine and Neuroscience category at the recent PROSE awards. The PROSE Awards are an annual competition which seeks to recognise and award the very best in professional and scholarly publishing in books and journals. Not only is the book a fantastic addition to the growing publications in the field of cremation and burned bone studies, but chapter 18…Continue Reading “The Analysis of Burned Human Remains Wins PROSE Award”

Don’t you just love making new terms! I know I do! Partly we do it because we have egos that need massaging, but mainly it’ because we do cross-disciplinary work and when you’re working at that junction of subjects, sometimes there isn’t the language to help you. So, forensic ecogenomics. In essence we’ve been thinking about how forensic practitioners can tell if a grave has been used at all, if a body was once there and has since been moved, or perhaps how long the…Continue Reading “Forensic Ecogenomics”

I’m really pleased that the Second Edition of the extremely useful Encyclopedia of Forensic and Legal Medicine is now out! And even more exciting is that I have four sections in it – all of them are in the ‘A’ section! I’ve whipped up a section on accreditation of forensic science with Brian Rankin, ancestral assessment of the skeleton with Popi Chrysostomou, animal attacks and marks on bones with David Errickson, and anthropological issues surrounding cremation. The book itself is huge and will no doubt be…Continue Reading “Encyclopedia of Forensic and Legal Medicine (Second Edition)”

It’s finally here! I’ve been wanting to pull together a book on cremations since I was in the midst of my PhD. Back then, I got pipped to the post by a couple of new books so decided to leave it for a while. But it was probably for the best, because in the intervening years I’ve learned a lot more about burned bone and publishing in general, and gained so many more colleagues. This has meant that the book is something that I’m very…Continue Reading “The Archaeology of Cremation”