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The Hebrew University of Jerusalem
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Dr. TAL SIMMONS

E-mail: tlisimmons@uclan.ac.uk
School of Forensic and Investigative Science
University of Central Lancashire, Preston PR1 2HE, UK
Phone: 44-(0)1772-894256


Research abstract

Abstract: The research I have planned for my three months as a Lady Davis Fellow is in three somewhat disparate areas. The first involves completion of analysis of various avian archaeological collections housed in the National Natural Collections, Institute of Earth Sciences, on the Givat Ram Campus. Specifically, I will be working on avifaunal material from the Natufian site of Eynan and other sites, possibly including the sites of Kfar HaHoresh, Gesher Benot Yakov and the non-raptor avifauna from Qafzeh. Secondly, as my primary research is in forensic anthropology and human identification, I will be working on a consultancy basis with the Forensic Assistance Division of the International Committee of the Red Cross (ICRC) on the construction of post-mortem data forms to match their new ante-mortem database. Thridly, I am planning to “clear the manuscript backlog” of many experiments in forensic taphonomy, or the study of factors affecting the decomposition process and estimating time since death. Examples of these projects include: maggot mass thermodynamics: the relationship of ambient temperature to internal carcass temperature and implications for developmental thresholds; presumptive (mis)identification rates for the Balkans; long bone ratios for the Bosnian male population; the effects of heat modification on sharp force trauma in charred remains; and recollected stature vs actual stature - how does height reported by next of kin measure up? Whilst all of these projects have been completed and written in draft form, due to teaching commitments, I have simply lacked the concentrated time needed to do the final writing in journal-appropriate format. I am certainly looking forward to engaging in discussions with my archaeological colleagues concerning forensic insights into archaeological human burial taphonomy as well.

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