To succeed, the archaeological techniques used had to meet the requirements of forensic exhumation. The Sri Lankan and the Rwandese cases are just a few of the cases in which the importance of archaeological methods in mass grave excavation and exhumation are confirmed.
It is clearly evident that forensic investigations of mass graves largely benefits from archaeology and soil studies (Aldenderfer & Maschner, 1996). Archaeological knowledge has been identified to be particularly useful in the identification and location of mass graves as well as in the collection of human remains (Lieberman, 1991). In all these processes, keenness is highly valued so that artifacts are clearly collected and recorded without damages (Barker, 1993).
Essentially, forensic archaeology refers to the use of archaeological tools, methods and techniques in identifying, gathering, synthesizing and analysing evidences for legal and investigation purposes (Connor, 2007). In most cases, archaeologists are hired to help investigators identify potential or suspected mass graves. In this identification of mass grave sites, geophysical and geological techniques are often applied in the assessing, documenting, mapping of scenes, excavation of artefacts and remains and in the reporting of findings (Gifford-Gonzalez, 1985). The key targeted areas in which forensic archaeology is applied include clandestine burial sites and buried artefacts, which help be useful in criminal investigations (Canter, 1994). These items could be victims’ personal belongings or murder weapons (Westman, 1994). There are several detection and excavation techniques that forensic archaeology applies in locating burial mass graves and other sites of interest (Hunter & Cox, 2005).
There are two main reasons mass grave excavation is normally done; to provide information for human rights work and for forensic medico-legal investigations (Pedeli ...