Forensic anthropology in Europe: an assessment of current status and application

Elena Kranioti, Robert Paine

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

Abstract

Forensic anthropology is the discipline that traditionally deals with the examination of human remains for legal purposes and it derives from the fields of anatomy, physical anthropology and forensic medicine. For more than a century, forensic anthropologists in the United States have been offering their services in the court of law complementing the medico-legal investigation of other forensic professionals. The current status in European countries is presented here. The development of forensic anthropology varies significantly among the countries of Europe. Whereas some countries show a long history of research activity in the forensic sciences, including forensic anthropology (i.e. France, Germany and Spain), others are exhibiting a recent, rapid development (i.e. United Kingdom). In some cases, forensic anthropologists are employed within the academic realm (i.e. U.K., Denmark, Portugal, Turkey), forensic institutions (Netherlands) or government organizations (Spain, Hungary), although the vast majority of them remain limited to freelance activities on a sporadic basis. Often, European scientists that deal with skeletal remains come from nonphysical anthropology disciplines such as archaeology, forensic medicine and biology. In many cases they do not have adequate training equivalent to the forensic anthropologists in the USA. Naturally, without common training and a common legal system, an accreditation system for Europe will be difficult to implement.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)71-92
Number of pages22
JournalJournal of Anthropological Sciences
Volume89
DOIs
Publication statusPublished - 2011

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