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”

Ellingham S, Thompson TJU, Islam M and Taylor G. (2015) Science & Justice 55: 181–188. Forensic anthropologists are frequently confronted with the need to interpret burnt bone. Regardless of the context, one of the key factors for the correct interpretation of the remains and a reconstruction of the incidents leading to incineration is the estimation of the maximum exposure temperature. The recent years have seen an influx in experimental research focusing on temperature estimation, spanning from colour assessment, mechanical strength measurements, histology and structural observations, biochemical…Continue Reading “Estimating temperature exposure of burnt bone — A methodological review”

An enhanced stipend of £15,000 per annum is offered to a strong candidate for this full time PhD scholarship in the Technology Futures Institute at Teesside University. Episodes of mass violence occur for many reasons, but the treatment of the deceased is often used as a means of humiliating and threatening the victims, their relatives and the groups to which they belong. Forensic investigation of contexts of mass violence is often hampered by the challenging nature of the graves and deposition sites themselves. These may…Continue Reading “Degraded and degrading: understanding diagenetic processes in commingled graves from contexts of mass violence”

I’m delighted that today the first issue of Science & Justice that I compiled as the new Editor-in-Chief is out – and it’s a bumper issue! 16 academic peer-reviewed papers from all over the world feature, with topics ranging across chemistry, biology, drugs, taphonomy, DNA and paintings. You can check it out by following this link to the Science & Justice website.

It’s graduation week this week – which is always a wonderful time in the academic year. All those students wandering across the stage to shake the VC’s hand, trying not to topple of those insane heels, have worked so hard for so long; it’s a real pleasure to see them again. This year is doubly special though, as Mark Butler graduates with his PhD. Mark is one of us, a member of staff, who has worked tirelessly over 5 years to gain his award –…Continue Reading “Mathematical!”