chapter  6
ANTHROPOLOGY IN A FORENSIC CONTEXT
ByTAL SIMMONS, WILLIAM D. HAGLUND
Pages 18

Forensic anthropology is that branch of applied physical anthropology concerned with the identification of human remains and associated skeletal trauma related to manner of death in a legal context (Reichs 1998). In the United States, the past two decades have witnessed the medico-legal community embracing forensic anthropology as a forensic specialty. The traditional role of the anthropologist has been to determine sex, race, age, and stature of skeletal material to assist in human identification. More recently, this niche has expanded via a major evolution into the realm of fleshed, decomposing, burnt, and dismembered remains. Today, anthropologists provide expertise in the recovery of remains, assist with identification of decomposed or burnt remains, interpret trauma to bone, assist with multiple fatality incidents, and provide court testimony. Auxiliary techniques, such as creation of visages from the skull and photosuperimposition often fall within the expertise of the forensic anthropologist in the USA (Haglund and Rodriguez 1998), though not in the UK where it remains a separate specialism. Unfortunately, there has been a lag in the acceptance of archaeologists/ anthropologists in other parts of the world, including the UK, where they have barely begun their adolescent entry into the forensic community (Hunter et al. 1996; see also Chapter 1, Section 1.3). Thus, while this chapter has wide application, much of the casework and experience is derived from US sources.