Analytical Essay: “Forensic Anthropology” – 10 Topics You’re Going to Love

Topics and ideas
Posted on November 23, 2015

If you are writing an analytical essay on forensic anthropology, there are many things that might constitute a great thesis or even sufficient evidence to substantiate a claim made in your thesis.

Having a list of facts can be quite helpful in your brainstorming efforts.

Below is a list of facts that you can turn to for your writing:

  1. In the field of forensic science, forensic archaeology is defined as the application of archaeological principles, skills and techniques that are normally used on an archaeological site to find evidence. This evidence commonly comes in the form of buried items or other evidence that would commonly be found at gravesites, but the job of a forensic archaeologist can vary based on the needs of their employer.
  2. Most commonly, they may be employed by the local police to dig up and document all evidence that was found at the site in question. Just like the work done at an archaeological dig, the forensic archaeologist must approach every job where their skills are required with great care and attention to detail. They must take great care to preserve all evidence that they find in every stage of the dig so as to ensure that their findings are not compromised in any way. This process has been documented countless times on a wide range of television shows, so it should come as no surprise that each and every forensic investigation is viewed as quite complex so to avoid an unpredictable outcome.
  3. A good example of this comes in the form of the initial state of the site. Should it be noted that the soil had been disturbed prior to the dig, it could be of great importance to the outcome of the case.
  4. When we think of the job of a forensic archaeologist, the mind more commonly associates them with the discovery of human remains, possibly from criminal activity. But most commonly, the most important aspect of the job of an archaeologist comes in the form of finding and preserving the evidence found at a gravesite. This evidence comes in the form of bones, fabric and any other materials that can be dated using various scientific methods such as carbon dating. When this method is combined with a working historical knowledge of the textiles and artefacts the archaeologist can best calculate the age of the remains.
  5. But the gravesites that a forensic archaeologist may be called to may not require any digging as it could come in the form of a surface disposable of a body, or various body parts. When the scientific methods that are commonly applied to a gravesite dig are combined with the working knowledge of a botanist or an entomologist, the archaeologist can best calculate when the body had been disposed of which is key should the findings be part of a criminal investigation.
  6. The mass graves that have been created from various war crimes also offers the forensic archaeologist the opportunity to use their skills to collect as much data as possible to help others gain a better understanding of all parties involved.
  7. On bodies uncovered at dig sites, teeth can also be used to determine the age of the victim as well as provide DNA samples which are critical when the body has been found in the advanced stages of decomposition, leaving little bone marrow or hair for analysis. Bite mark analysis is the one technique in forensics that can be seen a quite controversial. The forensic dentist will take a mould or possibly a photograph of the mark found on the victim which is then compared at a later point in time to the teeth marks of any potential suspects, or to the wounds found on other victims of a similar crime. A bite mark will show the unique characteristics of the teeth that made the mark. For example, should the suspect have any missing or broken teeth, they will be easy to identify in the bite mark.
  8. Upon reviewing dig sites, or any evidence, forensic anthropologists can rely upon all of the findings contained in the site itself, such as insects or debris left behind. The use of insects as part of a forensic investigation is not a new practice. Insects have been used as far back as the 13th century, when Chinese lawyer, and “ death investigator” Sung Tzu, more commonly known as Song Ci authored a book in 1247 called Washing Away of Wrongs. It was in this book that he explains in detail how the individuals in certain cases that he worked died, as well as the cause of their death. He also explained how to analyse a body both before and after its burial as well as the body’s decomposition process as based on the insects that had been found on the corpse.
  9. The necrophagous, or corpse eating insects that are found at the crime scene can also help to determine the victims time of death as well as if there were drugs present in the body at time of death. By analysing the lifecycle of the insects and their larvae, the forensic entomologist can determine the length of time that had passed since the person’s death, more commonly known as the post-mortem interval.
  10. From any scene, the forensic anthropologist can try to find DNA which is the building blocks with which the genetic instructions needed for development and functioning of all known living organisms. It is remarkable that while most of the DNA sequencing (a whopping 99.9%) is the same in all human beings, just a 0.1% variation is sufficient to ensure that no two human beings, with the exception of identical twins will share the exact DNA sequence. The probability of two human beings having the same DNA sequence is negligibly small (as small as 1 in 64 billion). This uniqueness of DNA profile of a human being serves as an invaluable tool in identifying persons involved in a crime. Referred to variously as DNA fingerprinting, genetic fingerprinting or DNA profiling, it consists of analysing samples of DNA. Once analysed, the DNA profile obtained can be used to search for a match with samples obtained from a crime scene or against a national database of DNA profiles.

It is quite easy to write a paper when you have this load of facts. But if you have even ready topics on forensic anthropology and a full guide on writing an analytical essay, can you imagine how simple it is?


Biggs, John. “Approaches to learning and to essay writing.” Learning strategies and learning styles. Springer US, 1988. 185-228.
Burns, Karen Ramey. Forensic anthropology training manual. Upper Saddle River: Prentice Hall, 1999.
Crossland, Zoe. “Of clues and signs: the dead body and its evidential traces.”American anthropologist 111.1 (2009): 69-80.
Dirkmaat, Dennis, ed. A companion to forensic anthropology. John Wiley & Sons, 2014.
Komar, Debra A., and Jane E. Buikstra. Forensic anthropology: contemporary theory and practice. Oxford University Press, USA, 2008.
Morse, Dan, Jack Duncan, and James Stoutamire. Handbook of forensic archaeology and anthropology. D. Morse, 1983.
Sauer, Norman J. “Forensic anthropology and the concept of race: If races don’t exist, why are forensic anthropologists so good at identifying them?.”Social Science & Medicine 34.2 (1992): 107-111.

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