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Just Science Podcast: Just Forensic Archaeology and Body Dump Sites

NCJ Number
Date Published
August 2022

This third episode of the “Case Studies: Part 1” mini season of the Forensic Technology Center of Excellence’s Justice Science podcast series is an interview with Dr. Sharon Moses, an Associate Professor of Anthropology at Northern Arizona University, who discusses forensic archaeology and search strategies for locating human remains at body dump sites.


An introductory comment for the interview indicates forensic archaeologists can play a critical role in body recovery and search strategies for locating human remains, because homicide offenders’ choices in body disposal sites are influenced by various offenders’ social and environmental factors. Forensic archaeologists use their traditional skillset in understanding environmental factors and animal scavenging behaviors to help streamline resources, narrow search fields, and calculate a point of origin after scattered remains are found. Dr. Moses discusses the relationship between forensic anthropology and archaeology, reconstructing human and animal behaviors, and her experiences in recovering human remains. Dr. Moses discusses how the knowledge gained by forensic archaeologists from the study of the conditions of bodies in various environments over time can provide input on areas where searches would be fruitful or unfruitful. Their knowledge of offenders’ behavior in hiding bodies under various motivations and circumstances can also be beneficial in guiding searches.

Date Published: August 1, 2022