Forensic Anthropology 2016 Burial Workshop

I'm teaching Forensic Anthropology again this year and realized I didn't get a chance to share the photos from our burial workshop in 2016! In that workshop there were a few changes made to improve the experience from the previous year.

Grad student Mary Maybury actively assisting at the scene.

The first change was simply in updating the location of the workshop. I wanted to try an area with a bit more soil coverage. In the past, the area I selected was a bit more upland and bedrock was very close to the surface, leading to a burial that was partially exposed. In this case a grove of oak trees near campus was selected for the workshop and I was able to achieve more depth for the burials.
Setting up an excavation grid in damp conditions

Measuring the depth of a simulated secondary burial in a trash bag

The next change was being able to work with my awesome co-worker and assistant professor of criminal justice, Dr. Tammy Bracewell. She taught a class concurrently with mine, Medicolegal Death Investigation, and we were able to utilize the same crime scene so that we could have her students processing evidence, securing the scene, and doing other activities aside from just the burial recovery. We worked together to prep the whole site and bury the bodies, so I guess you could say she is my partner in crime!

TAMUCT students working in teams

The last change was to add an additional burial, so that we could accommodate more students in a larger class.

Additional simulated primary burial in a garbage bag.

Enjoyed a visit by TAMUCT police officer Estrada!

Overall these changes were beneficial to the whole experience. We did end up having a lot of rain in the weeks prior to the workshop which created muddy conditions and required us to walk the plank to enter the site! Even so, we were not rained out and work was not negatively affected other than it being a bit messier to clean up. I'm looking forward to what this year's workshop will bring and planning some surprises. Thanks for visiting!


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