The Forensic Taphonomy group encompasses academic researchers, police, and forensic scientists from government and industry to investigate the processes of human decomposition.
We focus on understanding the physical, chemical and biological processes of soft and hard tissue degradation in an outdoor environment as well as the degradation of evidence associated with human remains. Our research is predominantly carried out at the Australian Facility for Taphonomic Experimental Research (AFTER), the only human decomposition facility in Australia and the Southern Hemisphere.
Forensic taphonomy encompasses a broad range of disciplines including forensic chemistry, biology, entomology, ecology, soil science, geology, geophysics, anthropology, archaeology, odontology and pathology. Our research impacts police and other law enforcement agencies by enhancing the methods we use to search for, locate, recover and identify victim remains. Our work can be applied to cases of missing persons, homicide, mass disasters and human rights atrocities. Many of our researchers act as consultants for a range of death investigations and draw on the research carried out at AFTER to provide more specific data to the local Sydney region.