Session: #169

Theme & Session Format

Digital archaeology, science and multidisciplinarity: new methods, new challenges
Session format:
Regular session

Title & Content

Crimes in the Past: Archaeological and Anthropological Evidence
Cases of historic and prehistoric “crimes scenes” are known from various context including findings of (pre)historic (mass) graves and lethal violent acts related to warfare, ritual killings, or possible murder cases. In order to get to the bottom of the possible archaeological crime scenes, contemporary interdisciplinary approaches allow us to extend the frames of the classical archaeological study. New archaeological and anthropological biochemical analyses, for example elemental and isotopic analysis of the human bone, together with innovations in imaging techniques, such as 3D surface acquisition, computed tomography and X-ray of the skeletal remains for trauma investigations, and survey techniques, such as GPR modelling of the burial site, increase the initial information value. New technologies allow anthropologists and archaeologists to get more information on past killings and possible murder practices and offer a better understanding of archaeological “crime scenes”. For example, modern scientific methods also aided the development of new archaeological disciplines such as ‘forensic archaeology’, which uses, among other things, the application of archaeological theory and methodology to search and excavate burials of human remains or objects in legal investigations. While modern crime scenes are more or less evident, the crimes of the past are hardly detected. Problematic is that archaeological violent deaths and possible attempts to hide the murder evidence often disappear in conclusions related to past human ritualistic behavior. The aims of the session are to discuss the possible examples of crimes in the archaeological past, their detection and interpretation with the help of modern scientific methods, and to discuss how interdisciplinary approaches could be conducted in further research concerning “crimes of the past”.
human remains, interdisciplinary approaches, forensic archaeology, historical crime scenes
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Main organiser:
Tatiana Shvedchikova (Russia) 1
Negahnaz Moghaddam (Switzerland) 2
Pier Matteo Barone (Italy) 3
1. Institute of Archaeology Russian Academy of Sciences
2. Center of Legal Medince, University Hospitals Lausanne - Geneva
3. American University of Rome