Encyclopedia of Global Archaeology

2014 Edition
| Editors: Claire Smith

Forensic Anthropology: Definition

  • Luis Fondebrider
Reference work entry
DOI: https://doi.org/10.1007/978-1-4419-0465-2_130

Brief Definition of the Topic

Since the development of the discipline, forensic anthropology has been defined in different ways depending on the context (Blau & Ubelaker 2009). Initially defined by Stewart (1979: ix), forensic anthropology was seen as “the branch of physical anthropology which, for forensic purposes deals with the identification of more or less skeletonized remains known to be, or suspected of being human.” In 1977, an official definition was provided by the American Board of Forensic Anthropology that defines forensic anthropology as “the application of the science of physical or biological anthropology to the legal process. Physical or biological anthropologists who specialize in forensics primarily focus their studies on the human skeleton” (http://www.theabfa.org/).

More recently, the Scientific Working Group for Forensic Anthropology (SWGANTH) proposed a new definition: “forensic Anthropology is the application of anthropological methods and theory – particularly...

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  1. Blau, S. & D.H. Ubelaker. (ed.) 2009. Handbook of forensic anthropology and archaeology. California: Left Coast Press.Google Scholar
  2. Stewart, T.D. 1979. Essentials of forensic anthropology. Springfield (IL): Charles C. Thomas.Google Scholar

Copyright information

© Springer Science+Business Media New York 2014

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.The Argentine Forensic Anthropology Team (Equipo Argentino de Antropología Forense, EAAF)Buenos AiresArgentina