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Sequential Monitoring of Burials Containing Large Pig Cadavers Using Ground-Penetrating Radar

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Ground-penetrating radar (GPR) was used to monitor 12 pig burials in Florida, each of which contained a large pig cadaver. Six of the cadavers were buried in sand at a depth of 0.50–0.60 m, and the other six were buried at a depth of 1.00–1.10 m and were in contact with the upper surface of a clay horizon. Control excavations with no pig internment were also constructed as blank graves and monitored with GPR. The burials were monitored with GPR for durations of either 12–13 or 21–21.5 months when they were then excavated to correlate the decomposition state of the cadaver with the GPR imagery. Overall, cadavers in sand were easily detected for the duration of this study at 21.5 months, even when completely skeletonized. Conversely, in clay it became increasingly difficult to image the pig cadavers over the first year of burial, even when they still retained extensive soft tissue structures.

Keywords: forensic anthropology; forensic archaeology; forensic science; ground-penetrating radar; pig cadavers

Document Type: Research Article


Affiliations: 1: Department of Anthropology, University of Central Florida, Orlando, FL 32816-1360. 2: Soil and Water Science Department, University of Florida, Gainesville, FL 32611. 3: C. A. Pound Human Identification Laboratory, Department of Anthropology, University of Florida, Gainesville, FL 32611.

Publication date: May 1, 2006


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