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Forensic archeology is the specialist use of archaeological techniques to find and recover evidential materials from scenes of crime. The evidential materials mainly involve human remains found on the ground or exhumed. Besides, it consists of the use of archaeological techniques to locate, recover as well as interpretation of evidence for the past cases within the disputes of the criminal justice system. Kelly, Robert, and Thomas (135) hold that forensic archaeology employs field and laboratory knowledge in the investigation serious crimes, a mass disaster like outbreak of fire, human rights cases and cases of missing persons. The knowledge and skills learned in forensic archeology range from looking for and excavating graves to the international investigation of crimes against humanity. Forensic archaeology offers knowledge needed for criminal investigation and human identification cases. It is essential in locating and recovering buried human body remains. Therefore, the paper seeks to discuss forensic archaeology and how it impacts crime and helps analysis of both severe and minor crimes.
Forensic archaeologists are also known as forensic anthropologists, and they use their archaeological or anthropological knowledge to identify human body remains. Forensic archeologists utilize archeological techniques to helps them in the excavation of human remains. Arguably, forensic archeologist assists in identifying deceased persons whose remains are rotten and decomposed or burned beyond recognition. A forensic archeologist is instrumental in investigating plane crash accidents to identify deceased individuals. Investigation of mass graves, as well as documentation of genocide cases, use the forensic archeology knowledge. Serious crimes require expert witnesses like a forensic archeologist to testify in courts. The cause of death and past trauma like broken ribs or rather a forensic archeologist through medical examination of skeletal abnormalities determines bones.
In our contemporary world, forensic archeology is a well-developed discipline within the forensic field to equip students with required knowledge in an investigation of modern crimes prevalent in the society. A forensic archeologist is needed to carry out investigations on remains and to assist in identifying people from bones when other physical features which could be employed to determine a human body remain is not available. Moreover, forensic archeologists help in investigating war crimes and mass disaster investigations. Harrison, Rodney, and Schofield (463) admit that 9/11 terrorist attack and Arrow Air Flight 1285 victims were identified by forensic archeologists since they are deemed to possess the knowledge to examine human remains. It is the work of forensic archeologists to identify victims of genocide in various nation states around the world. Forensic archeologists have been used in both domestic and international investigations. Archaeologists are prevalently used in identifying individuals who die during wars, assassinations, and massacre such as that of Rwanda genocide which claimed many people. For instance, professional and experienced forensic archeologists have teamed up with other investigatory officers to recover MIAs in Vietnam, identifying individuals through the excavation of mass graves in the south and Central America.
Nonetheless, forensic archeologists have worked with investigatory teams of United Nations to collect information for lawsuits from sites of the massacre in Rwanda, Croatia, and El Salvador. Crimes against humanity that led to the loss of lives in Rwanda was also investigated by forensic archeologists to file cases to ensure those responsible are charged in a court of law. Airline crash believed to be caused by missile whereby everybody died was investigated by forensic archeologists to identify the names of the deceased as well as what indeed led to the fatal accident. In Iraq, forensic archeologists play essential roles in investigating as well as documenting the crimes against humanity such as abuse of human rights as ordered by Saddam Hussein. The investigations concluded that more than 300,000 human bodies were found in a mass grave site. Forensic archeologists surrendered the human body remains to the forensic anthropologist to establish the extent to which they were tortured before their merciless killing.
There are various methods used by forensic archeologist to identify human remains in case of a disaster such as plane crash and fire outbreak. One of the prevalent tools used by forensic archeologists in human remains identification is osteology knowledge and the numerous differences occurring within the skeleton of a human being. The process of identification requires forensic archeologist to determine the sex of an individual, age, and his or her ancestral origin.
Further, forensic archaeologists utilize their skills of excavation techniques to ensure that human remains are recovered in a good and forensically accepted. They assure that the evidence of partially and completely buried human remains are intact to yield the required results once the analysis is concluded. The difference of forensic archeologists and forensic anthropologists is that forensic archeologists are trained to search and recovery of human remains while forensic anthropologists specialize in the recovery of human remains and human osteology. Nevertheless, forensic archeologists have the knowledge to look for objects found in and around the area of excavation of human remains. The objects looked by forensic archeologists in the excavation area are shoe prints and cigarette butts left behind. Forensic archaeologists excavate human body remains to analyze and determine what killed individuals during war crimes. Excavated bones, especially in war crimes show that people were killed by machetes as evidenced in the cut marks found in the human bones. They are also trained to observe context, relationship, and importance of objects found in the scene of a crime and therefore deducing significant conclusions that may lead to identifying a suspect or a victim.
Forensic archeologists must be able to use a high degree of creativity and adaptability in cases when a scene of a crime cannot be excavated with available traditional archaeological methods. Forensic archeologists are involved in helping research in the crime scene, investigation and recovery of evidential materials such as skeletal remains. Besides, they are also actively engaged in processing mass fatality scenes or terrorism incidents such as mass graves, crimes against humanity and homicide. Ruffell, Alastair, and McKinley (19) argue that forensic archeologists assist in determining potential grave areas that seemingly might have been overestimated. They use soil samples to enable them to locate the mass grave sites since they examine the topsoil used in filling the graves. Ideally, the decomposing human body encourages sprouting of individual plants that are looked by the forensic archeologists to establish grave areas. Grave sites are believed to have loose, dark and more organic matter than the surrounding area which helps forensic archeologists to locate mass graves easily.
The crime rate has increased in the recent past, and it's the high time for forensic science to train more forensic archeologists to salvage the situation by ensuring the crime perpetrators are apprehended and charged according to the law. For instance, the field of forensic science should train crime scene technician and investigators to improve the work of forensic archeologists. This would enable proper excavation of evidential materials to establish the real suspects and victims of crimes. Improver excavation of human remains has compromised crime scene evidence and therefore throwing the criminal justice system in jeopardy because it cannot evidentially establish criminals. Damage and contamination of human remains or any other evidence due to incompetent forensic archeologists render the forensic anthropologists to provide meaningless analysis.
Forensic archeologists must be very careful in their excavation work to enable the forensic anthropologists to analyze the human remains materials critically. Otherwise, both the forensic archeologists and forensic anthropologists will be unethical when they provided distorted information about a particular crime. For instance, war crimes may bring conflicting interests since some people may think that the criminals are being shielded or the victims are favored. Therefore forensic anthropologists and forensic archeologists ought to maintain high standards of ethics while dealing with both minor and serious crimes. The peace of war crimes as well as murder crimes is dependent on the process of gathering evidence b on the process of collecting evidence forensic archeologists and analysis carried out by forensic anthropologists. Forensic anthropologists and forensic archeologists must be very careful but act with utmost good faith in whatever information they want to uncover to the public domain.
Forensic archaeologists are crime busters because they provide evidence for crime perpetrators to be apprehended and charged in a court of law thereby deterring the occurrence of future crimes. Kelly, Robert, and Thomas (129) opine that archaeologists as crime busters prevent future crimes from occurring because they can conduct investigations within a very short time to ensure suspects are arrested and investigated for further evidence. The move makes the criminal justice system to ensure justice for the victim and the suspect. If the suspect is found guilty as proved by the evidence provided by forensic archeologists, then the court fines or sentences him or her as required by law. The punishment granted by the court laws stops individuals from subjecting themselves to unnecessary crimes. The archaeological organization has conducted workshops and seminars continuously for educating law enforcement officers like the police on how to perform investigations in crime scenes. Forensic archeology as a discipline of study in forensic science has equipped many law enforcement officers with the required knowledge to buster crimes. Development of forensic archeology has reduced the rate of crime occurrence because most people are aware of the high the high technology involved in an investigation.
Molina, Carlos Martin, et al. (67) assert that forensic archeologists are essential in crime bust since they work hand in hand with the investigative team on the scenes of crime. Law enforcement officers such as the police are trained how to read soil samples as well as presenting significant evidence from the crime scene. Highly trained officers help forensic archeologists to give evidence in a court of law which further assist judges to make their ruling of the involved cases. Assertively, the measures taken by forensic archeologists make people to shy from engaging in crimes. Forensic archeology has brought to an end of New York's subway bombing because the criminals were quickly identified and arrested. Murder crimes have drastically reduced since the development of forensic archeologists which facilitated exhumation of human body remains to establish what caused his or her death. In the modern world, criminals of murder fear to associate themselves with murder because they are fully aware of their arrest after anthropologists assisted by forensic archeologists forensically analyze the body remains.
Forensic archaeology has influenced crimes in different ways as far as law enforcement is concerned. For instance, it has played a significant role in solving contemporary atrocities around the world. Through forensic archaeology, lab analysis of evidential materials has been possible for several decades.
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