chapter  2
12 Pages

Skeletal Remains as Evidence

ByMarin A. Pilloud and MariaTeresa A. Tersigni-Tarrant

When a forensic anthropologist is presented with remains suspected to be human skeletal material, it is necessary to assess the materials for evidentiary value. Forensic anthropologists utilize a biocultural approach to determine medico-legal significance. Most forensic anthropologists are trained to evaluate the cultural, archaeological, and physical evidence (both bone and other material) to determine if materials have forensic value. Forensic anthropologists ask a series of questions to conclude if a forensic investigation is warranted. These questions include: (1) Is the material bone? (2) Is the material human bone? (3) Is the material modern? and (4) Is the material of interest to the medico-legal community; that is, could it be related to a civil or criminal matter?