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Title: Critical assessment of archaeological excavation and the development of processes required for successful investigation of mass graves
Author: Hanson, Ian
ISNI:       0000 0004 7660 5022
Awarding Body: Bournemouth University
Current Institution: Bournemouth University
Date of Award: 2019
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This synthesis provides a critical review of a range of my publications representing research themes that evolved over 30 years of academic training and academic and professional archaeological practice. Archaeologists are now employed routinely in investigations that anticipate scrutiny by the discipline, authorities, funders, media and communities. Excavation methods are expected to pass criteria for admissibility of evidence in legal settings. This places an obligation on demonstrating work meets required benchmarks, that archaeologists must define and document, justifying what was done during an excavation and how it was done. This is not a process that for many is habitually undertaken. I developed my research over time through observation, experiment and applied science in professional practice, evolving from examining the questions of how archaeologists excavate and how excavations are delivered. Firstly, I began critical evaluation of excavation methods and their application, with a focus on international and forensic investigations. Secondly, I developed processes of investigation in which such excavation can be successfully undertaken. Lastly, I explored management of processes focusing on how investigations can implement excavations and ensure investigative impact. Excavation methods were found to provide differing levels of evidence recognition and recovery, depending on how and when they were applied, by whom and how quickly, with implications for all archaeologists. I researched and published guidance for excavation methods and standards, as well as archaeological principles for excavation, to aid clear identification and understanding of the archaeological record for any site. I found the complexity of mass grave excavations was not well described. I developed and published guidance on mass grave search and excavation methods, complex excavations and their management. A model process for the scientific investigation of mass graves was developed and published, together with guidance for the management, coordination and training required for implementing successful investigations. During my international professional practice, I saw technical methods, the model process and guidance applied with the resulting impact of successful investigations. My research has contributed to policy development, justice and accountability and supported rule of law and human rights.
Supervisor: Not available Sponsor: Not available
Qualification Name: Thesis (Ph.D.) Qualification Level: Doctoral
EThOS ID:  DOI: Not available