Forensic Cremation Recovery and Analysis: 1st Edition (Hardback) book cover

Forensic Cremation Recovery and Analysis

1st Edition

By Scott I. Fairgrieve

CRC Press

224 pages | 63 B/W Illus.

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Hardback: 9780849391897
pub: 2007-10-18
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The determination of identity and the evaluation of trauma require special consideration when a body suffers extreme levels of damage sustained in a fire. Beginning with the search and recovery of the cremated remains (cremains) and the interpretation of the fire scene, the challenges and practicalities of recovering and analyzing burned remains demand a unique set of skills and expertise. This book provides a synopsis of these challenges and delineates, step-by-step, the recovery and interpretation of cremains from the point of discovery to the end of the analysis.

Presenting current research in forensic anthropology in a condensed, useable format, Forensic Cremation: Recovery and Analysis begins with an evaluation of the reasonable expectations for analyzing cremains in a forensic setting. It summarizes the contexts and challenges that face the professional and introduces a wide range of preservation encountered in a variety of fire contexts.

The book discusses the capacity and mechanisms of fire to alter the chemical and physical properties of materials, particularly those of human tissues. It emphasizes a flexible approach to the collection of cremains, taking into consideration the intermixing of the human tissue with the surrounding materials. A significant portion of the book examines the effects of fire on bone and the ability to determine trauma as peri- or post-mortem. It evaluates the practical use of dental tissue and DNA for identification and as an aid to the investigation.

Providing crucial information on the handling of cremated remains in a forensic context, Forensic Cremation: Recovery and Analysis presents a methodical approach designed to maximize the potential of the evidence.


"Immediately apparent is the author’s vast experience in processing fire scenes and analyzing cremains. … a well-written text that is a valuable resource to forensic anthropology students and fire scene responders alike."

—J.C. Love, Harris County Medical Examiner’s Office, Houston, Texas, writing in Forensic Science, Medicine and Pathology

Table of Contents

Cremains in the Forensic Setting

Fire and Combustion

The Cremation Process

Scene Recovery

Laboratory Analysis

Heat-Induced Alterations of Bone Microstructure

Incineration of Dental Tissues

Positive Identification of Cremains


Subject Categories

BISAC Subject Codes/Headings:
LAW / Forensic Science
SOCIAL SCIENCE / Anthropology / Physical
SOCIAL SCIENCE / Archaeology