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Forensic Science Students get their Hands Dirty

The Faculty of Health Sciences & Medicine is providing unique learning opportunities to students.

Dr Walter Wood, Associate Professor of Anatomy and iForensic Osteology expert, recently took his undergraduate and postgraduate students studying Forensic Anthropology on a field trip to develop their practical skills.

”The major objective of this field trip was to provide the student with some hands on practical experience in the burial recovery techniques which encompasses forensic archaeology” said Dr Walter Wood.

The students are taken by bus to the Abbey Museum at Caboolture where a number of educational sandpits are available for archaeological experiences. The Director of the Museum provides access to the pits to Bond students as well as all the necessary equipment and recording sheets.

Whilst only a replica human skeleton is used, real animal bones and cultural artefacts are also buried in the site for recovery and recording purposes.

“Our students have the potential to gain a tremendous amount of practical knowledge during these full-day trips as the excavation is based on a real forensic case scenario” said Walter.

The students are involved in each facet of the process, all of which they will encounter in a real-life situation.

From pre-reading forensic archaeology literature, discussing the preliminary evaluation of the crime scene, determining the team membership and allocating individual tasks, defining the limits of the crime scene, setting up the grid and excavating and recording, the Bond students will experience it all.

“The Faculty of Health Sciences & Medicine has conducted similar field trips for the past four years, with the experience unique to the Faculty– no experience is available in any other Queensland university” said Walter.

Whilst studying their Forensic Anthropology subjects, the students will also be involved with two other field trips including a half-day visit and lecture at the State Health Forensic Institute at Acacia Ridge and a half day visit to the Newhaven Crematorium at Staplyton.

This trip has received extremely positive feedback from all of the students involved and also proves to be a very important feature of their degree.

“It is necessary to stimulate student interest and motivation to learn, hence the significance of these field trips.

“I have found that the trip helps to build student cooperation and teamwork, clarifies forensic archaeological procedures and provides critical experience in the excavation, recording & reporting of forensic burial recovery” said Walter.

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