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Richard A. Gould
Anthropology / Archaeology
Unlike traditional archaeology, which studies the human past and examines issues of scholarly and popular interest, disaster archaeology is about the aftermath of mass-fatality events and deals with urgent needs such as victim identification and scene investigation. In this context, archaeological skills are an instrument of recovery for the families and others affected by a disaster.
This methodology involves a humanitarian element that often motivates archaeologists to perform this emotionally difficult work, and it requires a commitment to scientifically controlled field recovery and documentation of human remains, personal effects, and other physical evidence. First-hand experiences are described from the World Trade Center, "The Station" nightclub fire in Rhode Island, and from Hurricane Katrina.
Disaster archaeology involves the meticulous, empirical use of archaeological science as well as emotional sensitivity toward victims and victims’ family and friends. By combining standards of forensic science with state-of-the-art field techniques, archaeologists can decisively affect the outcome of post-disaster investigations and recoveries.
Richard A. Gould is a professor of anthropology at Brown University and led full recoveries at "The Station" nightclub fire scene in Rhode Island. He is the author of Recovering the Past and Archaeology and the Social History of Ships. He is currently director of Forensic Archaeology Recovery (FAR), a volunteer team based in Rhode Island.
Table of Contents:
List of Figures
List of Tables
1. What is Disaster Archaeology?
2. Disaster Archaeology on Trial: Forensic Recovery Efforts after 9/11
3. Rhode Island's Ordeal by Fire: Disaster Archaeology at the Station Nightclub Fire Scene
4. Ethnoarchaeology and the Aftermath: The Process of Memorialization (with Randi Scott)
5. Training and Reality
6. Cannibalism in the Prehistoric Southwest
7. Human-Rights Archaeology: Lessons from Katyn and Vukovar
8. An Underwater Crime Scene? The Wreck of the North Carolina
9. The Realities of the Recent Past
Appendix 1. In Their Own Words
Appendix 2. Forensic Archaeology Recovery Volunteers Participating in the Station Fire Scene Recovery Operation
Glossary of Acronyms and Abbreviations
Praise and Reviews:
"Gould’s ability as a storyteller shines through in chapters two through five and I have to say that I stopped taking any notes during his discussion of the World Trade Center and The Station fire as I was so transfixed by the story."
—James Skibo, author of Ants for Breakfast (University of Utah Press, 1999)
"A terrific read...Gould, like a few others in our field, seems to prefer to tackle new problems rather than simply re-writing time and time again the same paper."
—Christy G. Turner II, regents’ professor in the department of anthropology at Arizona State University.
"Gould has produced a work that not only acts as a primer on disaster archaeology and its many applications, but that also communicates his passion for the truth—a passion with which all forensic professionals are familiar."
—The Forensic Examiner