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Forensic Archaeology Services

The BAFAL Forensic Archaeology Field Crew can aid in searches, surface surveys, gridding, mapping and documentation of crime scenes, and can conduct forensic excavation in the case of buried, hidden or scattered remains. Our Forensic Archaeology Field Crew will arrive with all necessary equipment for forensic survey, mapping and excavation, including standard excavation equipment, Total Station, metal detector, and photography equipment.

Forensic Anthropology Services

The wet lab is outfitted with a full complement of equipment necessary to process and analyze remains that are skeletonized, decomposed, burned, fragmentary, or otherwise unidentifiable through traditional autopsy. The BAFAL staff can aid in distinguishing human from nonhuman bone to reduce error and to help focus the investigation, and offers photo consultations at no charge. In cases involving nonhuman bone, the lab can assist in identification of the taxon, age and seasonality of death, as well as perform trauma analysis in cases of animal cruelty.

When human remains are found, the lab can identify the specific skeletal elements present to establish a minimum number of individuals, and can help to determine the antiquity of the remains (prehistoric Native American, historic, or modern). The lab will then conduct anthropological analysis, including the determination of sex and ancestry, the estimation of age at death, estimation of stature in life, taphonomic assessment to help determine the sequence of events, radiographic assessment of the bones for antemortem and postmortem trauma or projectile fragments, comparison of skeletal remains with antemortem health records, and radiographic comparison of antemortem and postmortem X-rays. The BAFAL Standard Operating Procedure includes strict maintenenance of the Chain of Custody and is secured with two alarms and swipecard/passcode entry system that ensures the highest level of security for skeletal evidence.

Forensic anthropological analysis can contribute to identification of modern remains and can also provide information regarding the manner of death and treatment of the remains after death, such as skeletal signs of perimortem blunt force trauma, detection and classification of cutmarks on bone, sorting and analysis of burned and cremated remains, and identification of signs of pathological conditions of the teeth or bones, congenital skeletal anomalies, and other identifying characteristics. Upon request, the lab can conduct X-ray Fluorescence (XRF) analysis, 3-D digital scans of specimens, and micrsopic analysis with photo capture. We can provide secure, short-term cold storage of fleshed remains in our 3-bay morgue cooler, or long-term curation of unidentified skeletal remains. The BAFAL staff can also complete inventory and analysis of Native American remains for NAGPRA compliance reports.

Training Facilities

Contiguous with the restricted forensic workspace, the Anthropology Department maintains a large teaching space suitable for conducting physical anthropology classroom instruction,public outreach programs and forensic training events. The BAFAL provides organized training programs for law enforcement and medicolegal investigators in forensic anthropology methods and forensic excavation techniques. For more information on upcoming training opportunities, please contact the Lab Director, Dr. Kerriann Marden, at 678-839-6450. The BAFAL is located in the Old Auditorium Building, adjacent to the Anthropology Building on the south side of campus, and is easily accessible via Back Campus Drive.



Storage and Curation of Remains

The BAFAL is responsible for the curation and deployment of the Anthropology Department’s comparative osteological collections, which include a series of and high-quality primate and paleoanthropology casts, forensic skeletal casts, a collection of human natural bone specimens, and a small collection of faunal remains. The closely supervised student staff assists with cataloguing the collection, participates in research on osteological materials, and observes forensic analysis when authorized by the presiding jurisdiction.

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