‘Pigs in blankets’: studying the effects of wrapping materials on the decomposition rates of buried pig cadavers in clandestine shallow graves.

Varley, Hugh (2014) ‘Pigs in blankets’: studying the effects of wrapping materials on the decomposition rates of buried pig cadavers in clandestine shallow graves. BSc dissertation, University of Portsmouth.

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    Abstract

    Buried remains in criminal investigation present a number of complications when attempting to establish the critically important factors in potential murder cases; the location of remains, the post-mortem interval and the length of burial. There are a large amount of variables present in the burial environment and one of the most under researched is the use of cadaver wrappings. In relation to the long standing subjects of forensic archaeology and forensic anthropology, forensic taphonomy is a relatively new area of study that is pertinent to the research being carried out within this dissertation.
    The aim of this dissertation is to provide more information about the effects of burial wrappings on the decomposition of the cadaver, the interaction with the burial environment and the ease of discovery of the cadaver. In order to achieve that, this dissertation considers the relevant literature pertaining to the key aspects of burial, decomposition and forensic taphonomy. In addition, a controlled observational decomposition study was undertaken to provide primary research data on the effects of cadaver wrappings on the burial environment. The results of this research provided much needed insight into the effects of cadaver wrappings have on the burial context but highlight the need for further, more quantifiable research to be undertaken.
    This dissertation concluded that there are considerable differences in the rates and processes of decomposition when a buried cadaver is wrapped, which also vary depending on what sort of material the cadaver is wrapped in. The differences in results between the non-porous and porous materials used were a significant development in the field. When presented with a burial case in similar climes, the criminal justice system could benefit from taking note of the conclusions of this research. At the very least, the conclusions of this dissertation should prompt further academic discussion into the effects of burial wrappings and act as a starting point for further research into this important variable within the burial environment.

    Item Type: Dissertation
    Departments/Research Groups: Faculty of Humanities and Social Sciences > Institute of Criminal Justice Studies
    Depositing User: Beth Atkins
    Date Deposited: 20 Nov 2014 08:50
    Last Modified: 28 Jan 2015 12:41
    URI: http://eprints.port.ac.uk/id/eprint/15587

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