A RAG System for the Management Forensic and Archaeological Searches of Burial Grounds
International Journal of Archaeology
Volume 3, Issue 1-1, January 2015, Pages: 1-8
Received: Sep. 1, 2014;
Accepted: Sep. 17, 2014;
Published: Oct. 29, 2014
Views 4355 Downloads 178
Alastair Ruffell, School of Geography, Archaeology & Palaeoecology, Queen’s University, Belfast, N. Ireland, UK, BT7 1NN
Sean McAllister, DiscoverEverAfter/SFM Engineering, 15A Main Street, Portglenone, County Antrim, N. Ireland, UK, BT44 8AA
Burial grounds are commonly surveyed and searched by both police/humanitarian search teams and archaeologists. One aspect of an efficient search is to establish areas free of recent internments to allow the concentration of assets in suspect terrain. While 100% surety in locating remains can never be achieved, the deployment of a red, amber green (RAG) system for assessment has proven invaluable to our surveys. The RAG system is based on a desktop study (including burial ground records), visual inspection (mounding, collapses) and use of geophysics (in this case, ground penetrating radar or GPR) for a multi-proxy assessment that provides search authorities an assessment of the state of inhumations and a level of legal backup for decisions they make on excavation or not (‘exit strategy’). The system is flexible and will be built upon as research continues.
A RAG System for the Management Forensic and Archaeological Searches of Burial Grounds, International Journal of Archaeology. Special Issue: Archaeological Sciences.
Vol. 3, No. 1-1,
2015, pp. 1-8.
Ruffell A 2005, Searching for the IRA “disappeared”: Ground penetrating radar investigation of a churchyard burial site. Journal of Forensic Sciences 50 1430–1435.
Dunk J Rugg, J 1994, The Management of Old Cemetery land: Now and Future: a Report of the University of York Cemetery Research Group. Shaw & Sons Ltd, London. 105p.
Harding V 1993, Burial of the plague dead in early modern London. In: Epidemic and Disease in London, Champion JAI (ed) Centre for Metropolitan History Working Papers, 1, pp.53-64.
Hart A Casper S 2004, Potential Groundwater Pollutants from Cemeteries. Environment Agency report. Environment Agency Publication, Almondsbury, Bristol. 35pp.
Loudon J Claudius 1843, On the Laying Out, Planting and Managing of Cemeteries. Longman, Brown, Green and Longmans. 151pp.
O’Neill KL 2012, There is no more room: cemeteries, personhood and bare death. Ethnography 13 510-530.
Rugg J 2000, Defining the place of burial: what makes a cemetery a cemetery? Mortality: Promoting the interdisciplinary study of death and dying 5 259-275.
Field G Leonard G Nobes D C 2001, Where is Percy Rutherford's grave? In: Jones, Martin & Sheppard, Peter (Eds.) Australasian Connections and New Directions: Proceedings of the 7th Australasian Archæometry Conference, Research in Anthropology and Linguistics University of Auckland 5 123-140.
Ellwood BB Owsley DW Ellwood SH Mercado-Allinger PA 1994, Search for the grave of the hanged Texas gunfighter, William Preston Longley. Historical Archaeology 28 94–112.
Buck SC 2003, Searching for graves using geophysical technology: field tests with ground penetrating radar, magnetometry and electrical resistivity. Journal of Forensic Sciences 48 5–11.
France D L Griffin T J Swanburg JG Lindemann JW Davenport GC Trammell V Travis CT Kondratieff B Nelson A Castellano K Hopkins D Adair T 1997, Necrosearch revisited: further multidisciplinary approaches to the detection of clandestine graves. In: Haglund, W.D., Sorg, M.H. (Eds.), Forensic Taphonomy: the Postmortem Fate of Human Remains. CRC Press, pp. 497–509.
Nobes D C 1999, Geophysical Surveys of Burial Sites: A Case Study of the Oaro Urupa. Geophysics 64 357–367.
Nobes D C 2000, The search for "Yvonne": A case example of the delineation of a grave using near-surface geophysical methods. Journal of Forensic Sciences 45 715–721.
Pringle JK Jervis J Cassella JP Cassidy NJ 2008, Time-lapse geophysical investigations over a simulated urban clandestine grave. Journal of Forensic Sciences 53 1405–1417.
Pringle JK Jervis JR 2010, Electrical resistivity survey to search for a recent clandestine burial of a homicide victim, UK. Forensic Science International 202 e1–e7.
Donnelly LJ Harrison M 2013 Geomorphological and geoforensic interpretation of maps, aerial imagery, conditions of diggability and the colour-coded RAG prioritization system in searches for criminal burials. In: Pirrie D Ruffell A Dawson L (Eds) Environmental and Criminal Geoforensics. Geological Society, London, Special Publications 384 173-194.
Ruffell A McCabe A Donnelly CJ Sloan B 2009, Location and assessment of an historic (15-60 years old) mass grave using geographic and ground-penetrating radar investigation, NW Ireland. Journal of Forensic Sciences, 54, 15-26.
Ruffell A 2002, Remote detection and identification of organic remains. Archaeological Prospection 9 115-122.