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The search for buried remains frequently includes visual assessment of surface features, trained dogs, and sophisticated geophysical remote sensing techniques. Nonintrusive, electronic survey equipment, such as the proton magnetometer, ground penetrating radar, and electrical resistivity, have yielded good results. However, under certain field conditions a simple, less expensive, relatively noninvasive tool—the probe—is effective. The probe, when used by an experienced investigator, provides a variety of information in a short amount of time, facilitates excavation, and minimizes damage to a burial. This paper offers examples of the application of a probe in forensic cases in urban and rural settings and in the detection of historic burials. Examples include the location of four individuals killed during the raid on the Branch Davidian Compound in Mount Carmel, Texas, and the search for burials in cemeteries that had been desecrated.
Curator of Anthropology, MRC 112 National Museum of Natural History, Smithsonian Institution, Washington, DC
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