Historical Archaeology

, Volume 35, Issue 1, pp 87–100 | Cite as

Remote sensing applications in forensic investigations

  • G. Clark Davenport


Forensic investigations concern locating, identifying, collecting, and cataloging physical evidence for the purpose of presenting it in court. One aspect of forensic investigations concerns locating clandestine evidence which is often concealed in the subsurface. This task is typically guided by information provided by informants (pathological liars), witnesses, psychics, and sometimes suspects. Resultant searches may be time consuming and frustrating to understaffed departments. Often such searches lead to excavations that destroy evidence. Any nondestructive method used to reduce the time spent on searches and excavations and to increase the probability of locating physical evidence are of prime interest to the law enforcement community. Remote sensing methods, which are nondestructive, are currently being applied with promising results in forensic investigations. Some of the more promising methods, including infrared, magnetics, electromagnetics, and ground penetrating radar are discussed. Remote sensing methods when properly applied can provide the forensic investigator tremendous savings in time and cost in the search for physical evidence. The forensic investigator must be educated to understand that there is no remote sensing method that will consistently find a body or physical evidence. These methods locate anomalous areas, and the cause of these anomalies will only be fully understood upon examination by others.


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Copyright information

© Society for Historical Archaeology 2001

Authors and Affiliations

  • G. Clark Davenport
    • 1
  1. 1.Geoforensics InternationalLakewoodUSA

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