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

  • Author / Creator
    Nagy, Michael A
  • 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.

  • Subjects / Keywords
  • Graduation date
    2010-11
  • Type of Item
    Thesis
  • Degree
    Master of Arts
  • DOI
    https://doi.org/10.7939/R38M76
  • License
    This thesis is made available by the University of Alberta Libraries with permission of the copyright owner solely for non-commercial purposes. This thesis, or any portion thereof, may not otherwise be copied or reproduced without the written consent of the copyright owner, except to the extent permitted by Canadian copyright law.
  • Language
    English
  • Institution
    University of Alberta
  • Degree level
    Master's
  • Department
    • Department of Anthropology
  • Supervisor / co-supervisor and their department(s)
    • Beattie, Owen (Anthropology)
  • Examining committee members and their departments
    • Froese, Duane (Earth and Atmospheric Sciences)
    • Mayne Correia, Pamela (Anthropology)