Skeletal Trauma Analysis: Case Studies in Context

by Nicholas V. Passalacqua (Editor), Christopher W. Rainwater (Editor)

Case Studies in Skeletal Trauma Analysis offers a selection of case studies contributed by experienced, professional forensic anthropologists and pathologists. The over-arching theme of the book is attention to the context, known circumstances, and known mechanisms of skeletal injury from a case study perspective. Chapters contain detailed descriptions and multiple supporting images giving the context of the forensic case and the skeletal trauma in question. This allows for a great amount of information to be presented by the authors concerning the skeletal trauma they encounter and how it relates back to the death event.

This book is set apart from similar books in that each submitted case study has known contextual information as to how the trauma was inflicted. Each author has been selected both for their expertise and also their involvement in the specific cases from the scene investigation to the autopsy to providing expert testimony and knowing the final adjudication. Each chapter provides an important reference for the particular aspect of skeletal trauma and provides a critical eye to the state of available literature, particularly those based on anecdotal experience alone.

This volume will be useful in the working laboratory as well as the classroom featuring common and uncommon skeletal trauma encountered in a modern forensic setting. Different sections present specific types of trauma via multiple cases by various authors describing the circumstances of each forensic case and the characteristic injuries to the bone. This level of detail allows the reader to get an in-depth look at various skeletal injuries, and also an understanding of how to approach unknown trauma using wound characteristics and context. This volume will be a necessity for any forensic anthropologist or forensic pathologist encountering skeletal trauma and for educators teaching forensic skeletal trauma analysis.

The current volumes dealing with skeletal trauma (listed below) are more anecdotal or theoretical, nor are they geared toward educating others about how to perform skeletal trauma analysis. Each chapter of this book deals with cases of skeletal trauma from practicing professionals in an educational manner, demonstrating how the analysis was conducted and how the practitioner properly interpreted and reported their conclusions.

The focus of this volume is on human skeletal trauma in a forensic context, specifically for the forensic anthropologist or forensic pathologist. Skeletal trauma can be considered any damage that affects bone or hard tissues (e.g. cartilage, dentition). Forensically, skeletal trauma is extremely important as it may be the only direct evidence of violence indicative of the cause of death of a decedent after the decomposition of soft tissues. Therefore an accurate understanding and interpretation of skeletal trauma is key to forensic investigations as this information is often the only remaining evidence of the death event.



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