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Environmental factors affecting an experimental low-density mass grave near Edmonton, Alberta, Canada Open Access

Descriptions

Other title
Subject/Keyword
environment
mass grave
decomposition
temperature
forensic anthropology
taphonomy
burial
disturbance
human rights
Type of item
Thesis
Degree grantor
University of Alberta
Author or creator
Nagy, Michael A
Supervisor and department
Beattie, Owen (Anthropology)
Examining committee member and department
Mayne Correia, Pamela (Anthropology)
Froese, Duane (Earth and Atmospheric Sciences)
Department
Department of Anthropology
Specialization

Date accepted
2010-04-28T14:59:41Z
Graduation date
2010-11
Degree
Master of Arts
Degree level
Master's
Abstract
The investigation of mass graves involves aspects of high political, judicial, and emotional impact. Understanding how bodies held within mass graves change between the time they are deposited and the time they are discovered (the realm of forensic taphonomy) is vital for competent collection of evidence and accurate evaluation of the scene. This thesis explores these issues by detailing experimental research undertaken to better understand the affects of environmental factors on low-density, orderly placement mass graves. Issues pertaining to how decomposition of bodies in contact differs from that of single bodies, intentional disturbance, and temperature change were examined experimentally using pigs as human analogues over a period of almost one year outside of Edmonton, Canada. There are three primary avenues in which the information obtained can be applied to the real world: estimation of elapsed time since death, planning mass grave investigations and reducing evidence loss, and evaluating post-burial disturbance or intentional vandalism.
Language
English
Rights
Permission is hereby granted to the University of Alberta Libraries to reproduce single copies of this thesis and to lend or sell such copies for private, scholarly or scientific research purposes only. Where the thesis is converted to, or otherwise made available in digital form, the University of Alberta will advise potential users of the thesis of these terms. The author reserves all other publication and other rights in association with the copyright in the thesis and, except as herein before provided, neither the thesis nor any substantial portion thereof may be printed or otherwise reproduced in any material form whatsoever without the author's prior written permission.
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