Forensic Anthropology

1st Edition

Current Methods and Practice

Authors: Angi Christensen Nicholas Passalacqua Eric Bartelink
Hardcover ISBN: 9780124186712
eBook ISBN: 9780124172906
Imprint: Academic Press
Published Date: 22nd January 2014
Page Count: 464
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Forensic Anthropology:  Current Methods and Practice—winner of a 2015 Textbook Excellence Award (Texty) from The Text and Academic Authors Association—approaches forensic anthropology through an innovative style using current practices and real case studies drawn from the varied experiences, backgrounds, and practices of working forensic anthropologists. This text guides the reader through all aspects of human remains recovery and forensic anthropological analysis, presenting principles at a level that is appropriate for those new to the field, while at the same time incorporating evolutionary, biomechanical, and other theoretical foundations for the features and phenomena encountered in forensic anthropological casework. 

Attention is focused primarily on the most recent and scientifically valid applications commonly employed by working forensic anthropologists. Readers will therefore learn about innovative techniques in the discipline, and aspiring practitioners will be prepared by understanding the necessary background needed to work in the field today.  Instructors and students will find Forensic Anthropology: Current Methods and Practice comprehensive, practical, and relevant to the modern discipline of forensic anthropology.

Key Features

  • Winner of a 2015 Most Promising New Textbook Award from the Text and Academic Authors Association
  • Focuses on modern methods, recent advances in research and technology, and current challenges in the science of forensic anthropology
  • Addresses issues of international relevance such as the role of forensic anthropology in mass disaster response and human rights investigations
  • Includes chapter summaries, topicoriented case studies, keywords, and reflective questions to increase active student learning


Introductory and/or upper level courses in forensic anthropology. Also, reference for other courses involving human identification, skeletal biology or human osteology; practical guide for beginning practitioners.

Table of Contents



Author Biographies

Chapter 1. Introduction


1.1 Forensic anthropology

1.2 History of forensic anthropology

1.3 Forensic anthropology today

1.4 Careers in forensic anthropology

1.5 Layout of this book

1.6 Summary

1.7 Test yourself



Chapter 2. Human Osteology and Odontology


2.1 Principles of human osteology and odontology

2.2 Bone biology

2.3 Bone growth and development

2.4 Skeletal anatomy

2.5 Dentition

2.6 Summary

2.7 Test yourself



Chapter 3. Skeletal Examination and Documentation Methods


3.1 Examination methods

3.2 Skeletal remains as evidence

3.3 Case studies

3.4 Summary

3.5 Test yourself



Chapter 4. Medicolegal Significance


4.1 The medicolegal context

4.2 Skeletal versus non-skeletal material

4.3 Human versus non-human skeletal material

4.4 Contemporary versus non-contemporary human skeletal remains

4.5 Other considerations in medicolegal significance

4.6 Case study: human or non-human?

4.7 Summary

4.8 Test yourself



Chapter 5. Forensic Taphonomy


5.1 Principles of forensic taphonomy

5.2 Decomposition and postmortem soft tissue changes

5.3 Postmortem skeletal changes

5.4 Scavenging

5.5 Body movement and disarticulation patterns

5.6 Estimating time since death

5.7 Additional considerations in forensic taphonomy

5.8 Case study – forensic taphonomy

5.9 Summary

5.10 Test yourself



Chapter 6. Forensic Archaeology and Sce


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Academic Press
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About the Author

Angi Christensen

Angi M. Christensen, PhD, D-ABFA Angi M. Christensen is a Forensic Anthropologist with the Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI) Laboratory in Quantico, Virginia. Her primary responsibilities include conducting forensic anthropological casework and providing training for FBI agents and other law enforcement personnel, and she facilitated the development of the FBI’s Forensic Anthropology Program. She is also an Adjunct Professor in the Forensic Science Program at George Mason University. Angi received her BA in Anthropology at the University of Washington in Seattle, WA (1997), and her MA and PhD in Anthropology at the University of Tennessee in Knoxville, TN (2000 and 2003). Her research interests include methods of personal identification, trauma analysis, elemental analysis, and underwater taphonomy. She has published articles in the Journal of Forensic Sciences, the American Journal of Physical Anthropology, Forensic Science International, the Journal of Anatomy, and Forensic Science Communications. Angi is a board certified Diplomate of the American Board of Forensic Anthropology, a Fellow in the Physical Anthropology Section of the American Academy of Forensic Sciences, and currently serves as the Vice-Chair of the Scientific Working Group for Forensic Anthropology.

Affiliations and Expertise

FBI Laboratory, Quantico, VA, USA

Nicholas Passalacqua

Nick Passalacqua is a deploying forensic anthropologist with the Joint POW/MIA Accounting Command’s Central Identification Laboratory (JPAC CIL). Nick received his B.A. in Anthropology at Michigan State University in 2005, his M.S. in Anthropology from Mercyhurst College (now Mercyhurst University) in 2007, another M.A. in Anthropology from Michigan State University in 2011, and his Ph.D. in Anthropology from Michigan State in 2012. Prior to his work at the JPAC CIL, Nick served as a visiting scientist at the National Institute of Legal Medicine – North Branch (Porto, Portugal); worked as a bioarchaeologist for the Medieval Spanish archaeological sites of the Castro de Chao Samartín, Iglesia de El Salvador, and San Julian de Viñon; instructed mass fatality incident response courses for the Pennsylvania Emergency Management Agency (PEMA); assisted with numerous years of Mercyhurst University’s summer short courses in forensic anthropology; and instructed three semesters of anthropology courses as adjunct faculty at Lansing Community College. Nick’s research interests include: age-at-death estimation, skeletal trauma and taphonomy, paleodemography, and paleopathology. Dr. Passalacqua’s bioarchaeological dissertation research focused on issues of health and demography in Medieval Asturias, Spain. Nick has publications in such journals as: The Journal of Forensic Sciences, The International Journal of Osteoarchaeology, and The American Journal of Physical Anthropology, as well as chapters in such books as: The analysis of burned human remains, Age estimation of the human skeleton, and A companion to forensic anthropology.

Affiliations and Expertise

POW/MIA Accounting Command's Central Identification Laboratory, HI, USA

Eric Bartelink

Eric J. Bartelink is an Associate Professor in the Department of Anthropology and Director of the Human Identification Laboratory at California State University, Chico. He received his B.S. in Anthropology at Central Michigan University (1995), his M.A. in Anthropology at California State University, Chico (2001), and his Ph.D. in Anthropology at Texas A&M University (2006). He became the 89th Diplomate of the American Board of Forensic Anthropology in 2012. Eric’s interests are in forensic anthropology and bioarchaeology, and he has conducted research focused on skeletal trauma, taphonomy, paleopathology, and stable isotope analysis. He has conducted an extensive research program focused on central California bioarchaeology, and also conducted work in American Samoa. In 2000, he assisted with the excavation of mass graves in Bosnia-Herzegovina through the United Nations International Criminal Tribunal for the Former Yugoslavia, and also assisted in the identification of victims from the World Trade Center 9/11 disaster in 2002 and 2003. He has published articles in Journal of Forensic Sciences, American Journal of Physical Anthropology, Journal of Archaeological Sciences, International Journal of Osteoarchaeology, Journal of Archaeological Method and Theory, Archaeometry, and California Archaeology. Eric teaches courses in introductory physical anthropology, human osteology, forensic anthropology, bioarchaeology, forensic science, and statistics. He is Fellow of the American Academy of Forensic Sciences, and a member of the American Association of Physical Anthropologists, Society of American Archaeology, Paleopathology Association, and the Society for California Archaeology. He is current board member of the Scientific Working Group for Forensic Anthropology and the American Board of Forensic Anthropology.

Affiliations and Expertise

Dept. of Anthropology, California State University-Chico, USA


2015 Textbook Excellence Award – Most Promising New Textbook: Life Sciences, Text and Academic Authors Association