2006 Philadelphia Annual Meeting (22–25 October 2006)

Paper No. 3
Presentation Time: 2:05 PM


RUFFELL, Alastair, School of Geography, Archaeology & Palaeoecology, Queens University, Belfast, Elmwood Avenue, Belfast, BT7 1NN, Ireland, a.ruffell@qub.ac.uk

Ground-penetrating radar (GPR) is often used in conjunction with other search methods in the search for buried bodies and other suspect objects/materials. This presentation discusses two new areas of GPR research. The first is our attempts to quantify the responses over time of buried organic remains, such as Strongman (1992) attempted with buried bear cadavers. In our work we have a location with horses buried for various periods, from 21, 18, 13, 6 and 2 years ago. The GPR responses from each can be used as a crude proxy for the timing of shallow grave collapse in the wet, sandy (glacial) soil of the site, such as observed by Ruffell (2005) in clays. We also are running a controlled experiment in tandem with an entymological study of two buried adult pigs, one clothed, the other naked. This experiment is underway and will provide some preliminary results. Our second area of work concerns the application of GPR surveying on freshwater. In this we have successfully located and mapped a sunken jet-ski involved in a contentious accident. Demands for searches of suspected murder have led us to try and quantify GPR responses in lakes and rivers using a variety of locations and sunken or buried objects such as divers with and without aqualung. Ruffell, A. 2005. Searching for the I.R.A. Disappeared: ground-penetrating radar investigation of a churchyard burial site, Northern Ireland. Journal of Forensic Sciences. 50, 414-424. Strongman KB. 1992. Forensic applications of ground penetrating radar. In: Pilon, J, editor. Ground-penetrating radar, Geological Survey of Canada, Paper 90-4; 203-211.