Forensic archaeology applies the techniques of search and recovery commonly performed in the archaeological context to forensic cases and aims at the best possible conservation of the deposition site and the human remains. Thus it should be considered of primary importance by Police and judicial authorities in cases where a body needs to be found and adequately recovered. Nevertheless, in Italy and in southern Europe this discipline in real cases is still rarely applied, with obvious disastrous outcomes. This presentation aims at presenting the first three cases where forensic archaeology was for the first time applied in Italy for the search and recovery of victims of organised crime, and how the scenario is evolving. The first case occurred in October 2001; in a woody area at the ourskirts of Milan, children from a nursery school close-by found a boot appearing on the surface containing several bones emerging from the ground. The skeletal remains were recovered as indicated by archaeological recommendations; a conservative recovery of all the skeletal elements, clothes and personal belongings was then performed. The area was recorded by topographical methods, and tree roots crossing the deposition site were sampled, which made possible a PMI estimation; the botanical and product analysis of clothes limited the PMI estimation between 1995 and 1998. The reconstruction of biological data revealed that the skeletal remains belonged to a 20-25 year old female subject. A facial reconstruction was performed in order to evoke memories of the missing woman; the broadcasting of the result allowed a prostitute from Kosovo to recognize the subject as a friend of hers called Viola but at the present a positive identification has not yet been achieved. The anthropological analysis pointed out a cutmark with perimortal characteristics at the lower margin of the 10th left rib. The second case concerns the corpses of two missing adolescents, found in May 2004 in a woody area near Varese after confession of their murderers called “Satan’s Beasts” because of their devotion to drugs and satanism, who indicated the woods in which the victims had been buried. The first research procedures were conducted by cadaver dogs, followed by field walking and the use of a metal detector/georadar. No sign of burial was found. The murderers, led on the site, indicated a new field, where the application of archaeological methodology led to the appearance of a ditch fill. The fill was then removed and on the bottom, two skeletonized corpses were found. The first subject was male, 15-18 years old, the second one was female, 17-22 years old. The two corpses were identified as the missing adolescents according to odontological and anthropological methods. The female subject was hit at least 11 times by a sharp force tool (a large knife), the male subject at least 12, and was also hit by a mallet in the facial region. The lesions observed were consistent with the events referred to by the murderers. The third case concerns the search of a buried body (a victim of a mafia execution), which took place in December 2006 in a woody area in the outskirts of Milano, according to the indication of the murder; his accomplices reported he had shot and beheaded the victim, although he had always denied it (he in fact had said that he was only responsible for burying the body, not for the murder). Thus the magistrate wanted to verify whose version was true. At the beginning of the search, a 10 x 10 m area was defined; the analysis of soil anomalies went on until excavation activities brought to light the cranial vault. The human remains in the fill were cleaned, photographed, sketched, and then a 3D digitizing analysis of the site was performed. Close to the cranium, a dental prothesis was found. The subject was male, 20-28 years old, according to anthropological analyses; positive identification was reached by odontological data thanks to the prothesis found during the excavation procedure. The cranium, severely fractured, was finally cleaned and reassembled in order to verify the presence of lesions. The analysis of the cranium pointed out that the victim was hit by two gunshots. No lesion consistent with a possible beheading was observed. These cases show how at least in northern Italy judges and police authorities are beginning to employ anthropologists and archaeologists for the retrieval and recovery of buried bodies; these cases have also strengthened among pathologists and magistrates the theory that only by proper archaeological methodology can proper reconstruction of identity, mode of deposition and trauma be performed.
Evolution of Forensic Archaeology in Italy : a 10 year experience / C. Cattaneo, D. Salsarola, D. Porta, P. Poppa, D. Gibelli, M. Grandi. ((Intervento presentato al 21. convegno Congress of the International Academy of Legal Medicine tenutosi a Lisboa nel 2009.
|Titolo:||Evolution of Forensic Archaeology in Italy : a 10 year experience|
CATTANEO, CRISTINA (Primo)
GIBELLI, DANIELE MARIA (Penultimo)
GRANDI, MARCO AURELIO (Ultimo)
|Data di pubblicazione:||2009|
|Settore Scientifico Disciplinare:||Settore MED/43 - Medicina Legale|
|Enti collegati al convegno:||International Academy of Legal Medicine (IALM)|
|Citazione:||Evolution of Forensic Archaeology in Italy : a 10 year experience / C. Cattaneo, D. Salsarola, D. Porta, P. Poppa, D. Gibelli, M. Grandi. ((Intervento presentato al 21. convegno Congress of the International Academy of Legal Medicine tenutosi a Lisboa nel 2009.|
|Appare nelle tipologie:||14 - Intervento a convegno non pubblicato|