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?!


Dozens of bodies discovered in Bosnian mass grave believed to be victims of genocide carried out by Serb forces
Dozens of bodies discovered buried in a mass grave in northern Bosnia are believed to be those of Bosniak Muslims and Croats killed by Serb forces in the early days of the civil war.
Forensics experts have already uncovered 94 bodies at the site in the village of Tomasica, near the Bosnian town of Prijedor, 260km north west of Sarajevo, and say they expect to discover many more.
Initial excavations unearthed a seven metre thick layer composed of human remains hidden under artificial embankments.

(Source: Daily Mail)

Dozens of bodies discovered in Bosnian mass grave believed to be victims of genocide carried out by Serb forces

Dozens of bodies discovered buried in a mass grave in northern Bosnia are believed to be those of Bosniak Muslims and Croats killed by Serb forces in the early days of the civil war.

Forensics experts have already uncovered 94 bodies at the site in the village of Tomasica, near the Bosnian town of Prijedor, 260km north west of Sarajevo, and say they expect to discover many more.

Initial excavations unearthed a seven metre thick layer composed of human remains hidden under artificial embankments.

(Source: Daily Mail)


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)

An interview with Professor Sue Black from CAHId, the Centre for Anatomy and Human Identification. She talks about her career, her reasons for producing an entirely new undergraduate program, how she disliked doing the BBC History Cold Case series, the reamins of Richard III and her current project. This was produced for a first year undergraduate module at the University of Dundee, life sciences course.

A really interesting interview with a fascinating woman - I *heart* Sue Black!

(Source: Youtube)

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.

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.

 

Is this the face of Jack the Ripper?
On this day 123 years ago, Jack the Ripper claimed his first victim. But who was this serial killer? This new e-fit finally puts a face to Carl Feigenbaum, a key suspect from Germany.
Jack the Ripper is the world’s most famous cold case - the identity of the man who brutally murdered five women in London’s East End in autumn 1888 remains a mystery.
More than 200 suspects have been named. But to Ripper expert Trevor Marriott, a former murder squad detective, German merchant Carl Feigenbaum is the top suspect. 
Convicted of murdering his landlady in Manhattan, Feigenbaum died in the electric chair in New York’s Sing Sing prison in 1894. His lawyer suspected him of the Ripper murders too.
No photos of Feigenbaum exist. So Marriott has produced this new e-fit for BBC One’s National Treasures Live, created from the description on the admittance form when he was in prison on remand in New York.
Why does Marriott think Feigenbaum is Jack the Ripper? Evidence, in the form of police documents and hundreds of letters to the authorities and newspapers, give us some clues…

Dr Xanthe Mallett, a forensic anthropologist, reviews the ultimate cold case…

Is this the face of Jack the Ripper?

On this day 123 years ago, Jack the Ripper claimed his first victim. But who was this serial killer? This new e-fit finally puts a face to Carl Feigenbaum, a key suspect from Germany.

Jack the Ripper is the world’s most famous cold case - the identity of the man who brutally murdered five women in London’s East End in autumn 1888 remains a mystery.

More than 200 suspects have been named. But to Ripper expert Trevor Marriott, a former murder squad detective, German merchant Carl Feigenbaum is the top suspect.

Convicted of murdering his landlady in Manhattan, Feigenbaum died in the electric chair in New York’s Sing Sing prison in 1894. His lawyer suspected him of the Ripper murders too.

No photos of Feigenbaum exist. So Marriott has produced this new e-fit for BBC One’s National Treasures Live, created from the description on the admittance form when he was in prison on remand in New York.

Why does Marriott think Feigenbaum is Jack the Ripper? Evidence, in the form of police documents and hundreds of letters to the authorities and newspapers, give us some clues…

Dr Xanthe Mallett, a forensic anthropologist, reviews the ultimate cold case…