Profile: Crime scene investigation
Sue Black tells Thomas MacMahon about her work as a forensic anthropologist
- By: Thomas MacMahon
Forensic anthropology? Hearing those words, many people conjure up images of gloves and glamour--a cross between the Crime Scene Investigation television series and Patricia Cornwell's Kay Scarpetta. However for Sue Black, professor of anatomy and forensic anthropology at the University of Dundee, the realities of the job are a lot less attractive. Whether she is on a mission in Iraq or Kosovo or helping the police to identify remains found anywhere from Scotland to Italy, glamour does not get a look in.
When the Serbs retreated from Kosovo in 1999, the United Nations urgently sought forensic teams that could analyse sites of possible war crimes before the returning refugees destroyed evidence. The British forensic team, of which Black was a member, arrived three days after the retreat had taken place and immediately set to work.
“The first crime scene that we had was an outhouse. Forty men had been herded