I'm a PhD student researching the role of mortuary archaeology in contemporary British society. Think of this as a scrapbook of all the interesting links, snippets of information and random bits and bobs I come across pertaining to death, dying and the dead. Enjoy?!


We need human body farms, says real-life Dr Bones and forensic expert Anna Williams
THERE are pigs in duvets, pigs in cellophane and even pigs in blankets. Welcome to the pig decomposition “farm”, where forensic anthropologists at Cranfield University in Swindon have been monitoring the creatures’ various stages of decomposition.
The UK is some way behind the US where human body farms are so “popular” that there are waiting lists of people wanting to donate their bodies. In the UK there are no body farms, in part due to the potential public outcry and disputes about where they would be sited.Indeed there are four such farms in the US including the first, started in 1981, at the University of Tennessee which was founded by one of the most influential forensic anthropologists of our time, William M Bass.Dr Anna Williams who, when I met her was working her last days at Cranfield University before taking up the post as senior lecturer in forensic science at the University of Huddersfield, is adamant that the UK will eventually get a body farm, or a human taphonomic facility as they are officially known (taphonomy is the study of decaying organisms).“I think it is only a matter of time,” she says. “Forensic research is getting more recognition but we are also being hindered by the fact that we don’t have a human facility so there is a lot of pressure from academics and quite a few, about 20 or 30, taphonomy researchers want one.“Quite recently there was a move to get one. A self-made millionaire from Omega Supplies Limited, an embalmer, decided he wanted to put his money towards this and there was a plan made and a proposal for a £1million facility.”Ultimately a site could not be found, nor enough signatures of support garnered, but it would seem that this is the start of a movement.

(Source: Express)

We need human body farms, says real-life Dr Bones and forensic expert Anna Williams
THERE are pigs in duvets, pigs in cellophane and even pigs in blankets. Welcome to the pig decomposition “farm”, where forensic anthropologists at Cranfield University in Swindon have been monitoring the creatures’ various stages of decomposition.
The UK is some way behind the US where human body farms are so “popular” that there are waiting lists of people wanting to donate their bodies. In the UK there are no body farms, in part due to the potential public outcry and disputes about where they would be sited.Indeed there are four such farms in the US including the first, started in 1981, at the University of Tennessee which was founded by one of the most influential forensic anthropologists of our time, William M Bass.Dr Anna Williams who, when I met her was working her last days at Cranfield University before taking up the post as senior lecturer in forensic science at the University of Huddersfield, is adamant that the UK will eventually get a body farm, or a human taphonomic facility as they are officially known (taphonomy is the study of decaying organisms).“I think it is only a matter of time,” she says. “Forensic research is getting more recognition but we are also being hindered by the fact that we don’t have a human facility so there is a lot of pressure from academics and quite a few, about 20 or 30, taphonomy researchers want one.“Quite recently there was a move to get one. A self-made millionaire from Omega Supplies Limited, an embalmer, decided he wanted to put his money towards this and there was a plan made and a proposal for a £1million facility.”Ultimately a site could not be found, nor enough signatures of support garnered, but it would seem that this is the start of a movement.

(Source: Express)

We need human body farms, says real-life Dr Bones and forensic expert Anna Williams
THERE are pigs in duvets, pigs in cellophane and even pigs in blankets. Welcome to the pig decomposition “farm”, where forensic anthropologists at Cranfield University in Swindon have been monitoring the creatures’ various stages of decomposition.
The UK is some way behind the US where human body farms are so “popular” that there are waiting lists of people wanting to donate their bodies. In the UK there are no body farms, in part due to the potential public outcry and disputes about where they would be sited.Indeed there are four such farms in the US including the first, started in 1981, at the University of Tennessee which was founded by one of the most influential forensic anthropologists of our time, William M Bass.Dr Anna Williams who, when I met her was working her last days at Cranfield University before taking up the post as senior lecturer in forensic science at the University of Huddersfield, is adamant that the UK will eventually get a body farm, or a human taphonomic facility as they are officially known (taphonomy is the study of decaying organisms).“I think it is only a matter of time,” she says. “Forensic research is getting more recognition but we are also being hindered by the fact that we don’t have a human facility so there is a lot of pressure from academics and quite a few, about 20 or 30, taphonomy researchers want one.“Quite recently there was a move to get one. A self-made millionaire from Omega Supplies Limited, an embalmer, decided he wanted to put his money towards this and there was a plan made and a proposal for a £1million facility.”Ultimately a site could not be found, nor enough signatures of support garnered, but it would seem that this is the start of a movement.

(Source: Express)

We need human body farms, says real-life Dr Bones and forensic expert Anna Williams

THERE are pigs in duvets, pigs in cellophane and even pigs in blankets. Welcome to the pig decomposition “farm”, where forensic anthropologists at Cranfield University in Swindon have been monitoring the creatures’ various stages of decomposition.

The UK is some way behind the US where human body farms are so “popular” that there are waiting lists of people wanting to donate their bodies. In the UK there are no body farms, in part due to the potential public outcry and disputes about where they would be sited.

Indeed there are four such farms in the US including the first, started in 1981, at the University of Tennessee which was founded by one of the most influential forensic anthropologists of our time, William M Bass.

Dr Anna Williams who, when I met her was working her last days at Cranfield University before taking up the post as senior lecturer in forensic science at the University of Huddersfield, is adamant that the UK will eventually get a body farm, or a human taphonomic facility as they are officially known (taphonomy is the study of decaying organisms).

“I think it is only a matter of time,” she says. “Forensic research is getting more recognition but we are also being hindered by the fact that we don’t have a human facility so there is a lot of pressure from academics and quite a few, about 20 or 30, taphonomy researchers want one.

“Quite recently there was a move to get one. A self-made millionaire from Omega Supplies Limited, an embalmer, decided he wanted to put his money towards this and there was a plan made and a proposal for a £1million facility.”

Ultimately a site could not be found, nor enough signatures of support garnered, but it would seem that this is the start of a movement.

(Source: Express)


Inside the ‘body farm’ where corpses are left outside to decompose for forensic researchers to study
At first glance, it appears to be some kind of serial killer’s preferred dumping ground.
But corpses left strewn across isolated woodland in the hills of Tennessee have been put there on purpose to help forensics experts better understand decomposition.
Nicknamed the ‘body farm’, the research laboratory in Knoxville provides a unique opportunity for CSI teams to replicate murder scenes in the most realistic setting possible.

Read more here!

Inside the ‘body farm’ where corpses are left outside to decompose for forensic researchers to study
At first glance, it appears to be some kind of serial killer’s preferred dumping ground.
But corpses left strewn across isolated woodland in the hills of Tennessee have been put there on purpose to help forensics experts better understand decomposition.
Nicknamed the ‘body farm’, the research laboratory in Knoxville provides a unique opportunity for CSI teams to replicate murder scenes in the most realistic setting possible.

Read more here!

Inside the ‘body farm’ where corpses are left outside to decompose for forensic researchers to study

At first glance, it appears to be some kind of serial killer’s preferred dumping ground.

But corpses left strewn across isolated woodland in the hills of Tennessee have been put there on purpose to help forensics experts better understand decomposition.

Nicknamed the ‘body farm’, the research laboratory in Knoxville provides a unique opportunity for CSI teams to replicate murder scenes in the most realistic setting possible.

Read more here!

dead-men-talking:

Secrets of the Body Farm - NatGeo documentary (2002, three parts)

Good stuff!  Beware, however: fresh corpses and close-ups of maggots.  Though if you’re anything like me, that’s the selling point…

malformalady:

A study of vultures at the Texas State University known as ‘the body farm’ is calling into question many of the benchmarks detectives have long relied on. For more than five weeks, a woman’s body lay undisturbed in a secluded Texas field before it skeletonized by a flock of vultures within hours. Experienced investigators would normally have interpreted the absence of flesh and the condition of the bones as evidence that the woman had been dead for six months, possibly even a year or more. 
Photo credit: David J. Phillip / AP
malformalady:

A study of vultures at the Texas State University known as ‘the body farm’ is calling into question many of the benchmarks detectives have long relied on. For more than five weeks, a woman’s body lay undisturbed in a secluded Texas field before it skeletonized by a flock of vultures within hours. Experienced investigators would normally have interpreted the absence of flesh and the condition of the bones as evidence that the woman had been dead for six months, possibly even a year or more. 
Photo credit: David J. Phillip / AP

malformalady:

A study of vultures at the Texas State University known as ‘the body farm’ is calling into question many of the benchmarks detectives have long relied on. For more than five weeks, a woman’s body lay undisturbed in a secluded Texas field before it skeletonized by a flock of vultures within hours. Experienced investigators would normally have interpreted the absence of flesh and the condition of the bones as evidence that the woman had been dead for six months, possibly even a year or more.

Photo credit: David J. Phillip / AP

Forensic anthropologist and author speaks about the body farm

The first organisms to be attracted to a decaying body are blowflies.
This Bill Bass knows well: He’s studied them for 40 years.
Bass, a forensic anthropologist who founded the University of Tennessee’s Anthropology Research Facility – the body farm – spoke at Virginia Intermont College Saturday afternoon, along with Jon Jefferson, as part of Bristol Public Library’s Worldview Scholarship Series.
Together, the duo write under the name Jefferson Bass, and have published two nonfiction books about the body farm, as well as six fictional tomes about a forensic scientist who solves murder cases, based on real life experiences and cases Bass and Jefferson have seen. Bass provides the scientific know-how, and Jefferson brings the words to life.
Forensic anthropologist and author speaks about the body farm

The first organisms to be attracted to a decaying body are blowflies.
This Bill Bass knows well: He’s studied them for 40 years.
Bass, a forensic anthropologist who founded the University of Tennessee’s Anthropology Research Facility – the body farm – spoke at Virginia Intermont College Saturday afternoon, along with Jon Jefferson, as part of Bristol Public Library’s Worldview Scholarship Series.
Together, the duo write under the name Jefferson Bass, and have published two nonfiction books about the body farm, as well as six fictional tomes about a forensic scientist who solves murder cases, based on real life experiences and cases Bass and Jefferson have seen. Bass provides the scientific know-how, and Jefferson brings the words to life.

Forensic anthropologist and author speaks about the body farm

The first organisms to be attracted to a decaying body are blowflies.

This Bill Bass knows well: He’s studied them for 40 years.

Bassa forensic anthropologist who founded the University of Tennessee’s Anthropology Research Facility – the body farm – spoke at Virginia Intermont College Saturday afternoon, along with Jon Jefferson, as part of Bristol Public Library’s Worldview Scholarship Series.

Together, the duo write under the name Jefferson Bass, and have published two nonfiction books about the body farm, as well as six fictional tomes about a forensic scientist who solves murder cases, based on real life experiences and cases Bass and Jefferson have seen. Bass provides the scientific know-how, and Jefferson brings the words to life.

biomedicalephemera:

Exhumed cadaver. Buried 10 months.
150 years before the start of the Body Farm at the University of Tennessee at Knoxville, medical anthropologists in France were (legally) exhuming cadavers of vagrants and unidentified persons. They were examining the postmortem changes in the body when the circumstances of death were known, and the body was buried or stored in various conditions. By studying known cases, they were more able to examine and identify cadavers of unknown origin, and re-examine exhumed cadavers when a death is deemed suspicious after burial.
The science of forensic anthropology languished and was largely ignored during most of the Victorian era, at least in the “Western” world. Even so, the work done by French physicians at the end of the 18th and into the 19th century provided a solid scientific foundation for when the field found much renewed interest, around the turn of the 20th century.
Trait des Exhumations Juridiques. M. Orfila and M. O. Lesueur, 1834.
biomedicalephemera:

Exhumed cadaver. Buried 10 months.
150 years before the start of the Body Farm at the University of Tennessee at Knoxville, medical anthropologists in France were (legally) exhuming cadavers of vagrants and unidentified persons. They were examining the postmortem changes in the body when the circumstances of death were known, and the body was buried or stored in various conditions. By studying known cases, they were more able to examine and identify cadavers of unknown origin, and re-examine exhumed cadavers when a death is deemed suspicious after burial.
The science of forensic anthropology languished and was largely ignored during most of the Victorian era, at least in the “Western” world. Even so, the work done by French physicians at the end of the 18th and into the 19th century provided a solid scientific foundation for when the field found much renewed interest, around the turn of the 20th century.
Trait des Exhumations Juridiques. M. Orfila and M. O. Lesueur, 1834.

biomedicalephemera:

Exhumed cadaver. Buried 10 months.

150 years before the start of the Body Farm at the University of Tennessee at Knoxville, medical anthropologists in France were (legally) exhuming cadavers of vagrants and unidentified persons. They were examining the postmortem changes in the body when the circumstances of death were known, and the body was buried or stored in various conditions. By studying known cases, they were more able to examine and identify cadavers of unknown origin, and re-examine exhumed cadavers when a death is deemed suspicious after burial.

The science of forensic anthropology languished and was largely ignored during most of the Victorian era, at least in the “Western” world. Even so, the work done by French physicians at the end of the 18th and into the 19th century provided a solid scientific foundation for when the field found much renewed interest, around the turn of the 20th century.

Trait des Exhumations Juridiques. M. Orfila and M. O. Lesueur, 1834.