Dr. TAL SIMMONS
School of Forensic and Investigative Science
University of Central Lancashire, Preston PR1 2HE, UK
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.