Archaeological and Environmental Forensic Science <div>AEFS aims to provide a platform for scientific research and broader discussion that incorporates all aspects of environmental and forensic science from collection at the crime scene to presentation in the court room, as well as considering the ramifications of such work for the wider scientific community. <a href="">Read more about the journal. </a></div> <div> </div> <p> </p> Equinox Publishing Ltd. en-US Archaeological and Environmental Forensic Science 2052-3378 <p>© Equinox Publishing Ltd.</p> <p>For information regarding our Open Access policy, <a href="" target="_blank" rel="noopener">click here</a>.</p> Effects of Heat as a Taphonomic Agent on Kerf Dimensions <p>The information that can be derived from the rate of preservation of cremated human remains is highly valuable for forensic anthropologists and bioarchaeologists. Especially when taphonomic agents, such as fire, are intentionally introduced to obscure lesions on the skeleton. When sharp force trauma is present on bones, one of the main questions that arise is whether it is possible to tell what instrument was used for trauma infliction. This study used quantitative methods to examine kerfs on bones treated with heat as a taphonomic agent. The experiment used three sharp-bladed weapons to inflict trauma on porcine long bones: a single bladed non-serrated kitchen knife, a hacksaw, and a wood saw. The traumatised bones along with control bones were burnt in controlled laboratory conditions at temperatures ranging from 300°C to 1000°C. Quantitative analysis was undertaken on scanning electron microscopy images. Shrinkage of the kerf dimensions were recorded only at 1000°C; excepting marks from the wood saw, which instead showed an increase in maximum width. Individualisation of the saws was not possible using only the metric traits. However, the class of the weapons (knife versus saw) could always be identified. It has been concluded that burning may cause fluctuation in kerf widths.</p> Emese Ilona Vegh Carolyn Rando Copyright (c) 2019 © Equinox Publishing Ltd. 2019-05-16 2019-05-16 1 2 105 118 10.1558/aefs.35927 Human cadaver burial depth affects soil microbial and nutrient status <p>Shallow burial (c. &lt;0.3m) of human cadavers provides an alternative to standard burial depth (c. 1.0m) as this can enhance the natural recycling of nutrients to the soil through improved interactions between the corpse and the soil. However, there is a paucity of knowledge describing the interactions between the human cadaver and soil microbiology. The effects of shallow (pork) compared to standard burial depth (in a sandy loam and clay soil) identified that plant available nitrogen was consistently greater where the pork was shallow buried. There was also a shift in the soil’s bacterial community, but only in the sandy loam soil. Burial depth did not affect soil organic matter, available phosphorus, total microbial biomass or activity, or fungal biomass. The response of the bacterial community composition in the clay soils is likely due to reduced pore space and hence reduced oxygen at depth.</p> Mark Pawlett Jane Rickson Joanna Niziolomski Sophie Churchill Michal Kešner Copyright (c) 2019 © Equinox Publishing Ltd. 2019-05-16 2019-05-16 1 2 119 125 10.1558/aefs.33662 Cuticular hydrocarbon analysis in forensic entomology <p>Blowflies are the first inhabitants of decomposing remains and are therefore of forensic relevance for post mortem interval estimations. Forensic entomology is becoming widely accepted as a branch of forensic science and is being utilised more within forensic casework. This wider use has driven an increase in research being carried out within the field, in particular, in less “classical” techniques such as DNA and chemical analysis in the form of cuticular hydrocarbon analysis. This short review will examine the research currently being studied in the area of cuticular hydrocarbon analysis of forensically important Diptera for species identification and ageing.</p> Hannah Moore Copyright (c) 2019 © Equinox Publishing Ltd. 2019-05-16 2019-05-16 1 2 127 138 10.1558/aefs.36241 Proof of Ecocide <p>This article discusses developments in international environmental justice alongside contemporary environmental forensics techniques. The article begins by providing an introduction to ecocide, the proposed international crime to the Rome Statute of the International Criminal Court (ICC) and the concept of the legal threshold of harm. It argues that forensic awareness has a role to play in developing new legal frameworks for the protection of the environment. It describes one particular approach to the practice of environmental investigations, using the example of remote sensing. From an international justice perspective, the concern of the present article is a discussion of how innovations in remote sensing technologies have allowed non court actors, civil society groups and nongovernmental organisations access to scientific evidence. It concludes by making recommending towards establishing forensic standards for admissible evidence of ecocide crime.</p> Nabil Ahmed Copyright (c) 2019 © Equinox Publishing Ltd. 2019-05-16 2019-05-16 1 2 139 147 10.1558/aefs.36378 Forensic Exploration of the Mechanical Properties of Basalt Grains in Earthenware <p>The overall goal of this project is to contribute to reconstruct the innovation mechanisms and development of ceramic production using forensic engineering techniques. Instead of optimizing materials as a driver in modern engineering, here we wish to use these methodologies, but aim to solve questions on advancement in the past fabrication process – and thus ultimately understand the key issues of a less or (un)successful design and subsequent improvement. This paper wishes to address the advantages and constraints regarding to use of basalt in ceramic matrices. By utilizing a standardized set of different test bars comprising different amounts of basalt fired at both 800°C and 1000°C, it can be concluded basalt tempered ceramics have a higher fracture toughness when compared to quartz enriched materials. It is there plausible to identify basalt as a good temper material for (ancient) earthenwares in terms of thermal (shock) activities.</p> Dennis Braekmans Max J.G.M. Broekman Bernd G. Grashof Max P.J. Oudshoorn Lennard H. Uittenbroek Loe F.H.C. Jacobs Copyright (c) 2019 © Equinox Publishing Ltd. 2019-05-16 2019-05-16 1 2 149 160 10.1558/aefs.37082 Ancient Biographies <p>LA-ICPMS analysis was carried out on a scaraboid blue glass bead (Hunterian Museum Glasgow, D.1921.39) excavated from Tomb 27 in Gurob, in the Southern Fayum region of Egypt. Gurob is known to have been the site of a ‘harem palace’ established in the reign of Tuthmosis III (1479-1425 BC). The tomb was located at the northernmost point of the New Kingdom cemetery and was undisturbed, containing the remains of seven females and two children, and was dated by the excavators to between the reigns of Amenophis I (1525-1504 BC) and Tuthmosis III. The glass scarab was coloured by copper and trace element values of La, Cr, Ti and Zr exhibited compositional consistency with glasses from Mesopotamia, rather than from Egypt. Therefore, the glass scarab represents a rare example of Mesopotamian glass to be discovered in Egypt, in addition to being some of the earliest glass found. The finds support iconographic references in the Hall of the Annals at Karnak to the import of early glass into Egypt. The implication is that these beads represent luxury items transported into Egypt by high-ranking foreign women perhaps in connection with the Gurob harem palace.</p> Victoria Kemp Copyright (c) 2019 © Equinox Publishing Ltd. 2019-05-16 2019-05-16 1 2 161 174 10.1558/aefs.37121