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(EurekAlert)   Forensic archaeology: The soil AROUND ancient skeletal remains may hold more information than the bones themselves   ( eurekalert.org) divider line
    More: Cool, forensic archaeology, severe illness, tissue types, organic compounds, excavations, soils, scientific technique, archaeologists  
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1809 clicks; posted to Geek » on 12 Aug 2013 at 9:45 AM (4 years ago)   |   Favorite    |   share:  Share on Twitter share via Email Share on Facebook   more»

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2013-08-12 11:53:41 AM  
1 vote:
"Concerning past archaeological excavations it is appalling to think about all the soil that archaeologists have wheel barrowed away for more than a century - if we had samples of this soil, we would have access to a lot of important information", he says.

Taking soil samples in an attempt to reconstruct past environments is pretty much standard practice in archaeology and has been for decades. Opportunities to apply soil analysis in forensic contexts, however, are less common. As Rasmussen points out in TFA, groundwater dilutes the compounds in the soil over time, and a lot of what you'd be looking for in terms of poisons or other ingested solids/fluids simply aren't going to be there due to taphonomic processes. This is a cool example of how a very specific technique helped in a very specific context, but it's not like forensic archaeologists are going to lose sleep because thousands of cases have gone unsolved due to a lack of soil samples.

/forensic archaeologist
//dead people smell bad
2013-08-12 10:13:00 AM  
1 vote:
So we go from mystical golden artifacts, to broken pots and trash, and now just plain dirt. Thanks for taking the mystique out of archaeology, folks. I miss Indiana Jones totally wrecking a Mayan temple with working solar sensitive traps just to get a golden idol.
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