Posted: 5 months ago
Updated: 5 months ago by JENNINGS, BR
Visible to: public

Time zone: Europe/London
Reminder: None
Ends: 06:15pm (duration is about 1 hour)

Agathe Ribéreau-Gayon
University College London

The analysis of the environment plays a central role in criminal and forensic investigations as it can inform the reconstruction of the sequence of events that led to the death of an individual and to the ultimate recovery of their remains. However, the majority of the current knowledge base and methods available for forensic reconstructions focus upon terrestrial environments. In contrast, there has been little formal published studies of aquatic environments, and specifically marine and oceanic environments. Therefore, there is currently a lack of an evidence base to underpin forensic reconstructions in marine scenarios. The interpretation of human remains submerged in deep marine environments face challenges at two stages of a forensic investigation; (i) the detection and recovery of the remains and (ii) the analysis and interpretation of the remains. This seminar will set out and illustrate these challenges with reference to the forensic investigation of two large scale airplane accidents in the ocean. The critical importance of accurate analysis and interpretation of the taphonomy of human remains in marine environments –including hard and soft tissue degradation, adipocere, and scavenging activity– to establish a biological profile of the deceased, estimate the postmortem interval (PMSI), and reconstruct the taphonomic sequence will be addressed.

Agathe Ribéreau-Gayon holds a PhD from UCL. Her background merges Archaeology (BA), Biological Anthropology (MPhil), and Forensic Anthropology (MSc and PhD). Her research deals with forensic taphonomy with a focus on aquatic environments. Agathe’s research seeks to better understand the taphonomic patterns of human remains recovered from marine environments to develop more robust approaches to reconstruct the taphonomic sequence and estimate the postmortem submersion interval (PMSI). Her interdisciplinary research involves collaborations with a number of universities, agencies, and police forces across the world. Agathe presented her research in a range of international journals and conferences. Agathe has also been teaching Biological and Forensic Anthropology for Postgraduate students at UCL for three years. She is an Associate Fellow of the Higher Education Academy.