Clandestine Grave Search & Recovery

Clandestine Grave Search & Recovery


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SIRCHIE is offering a 4 day “hands-on” training class on searching for and properly investigating and recovering remains from a clandestine grave site.

The legal term corpus delicti means no one can be charged of a crime if there is no evidence a crime has been committed. In a homicide, the key piece of evidence for the case is the body. Perpetrators will go to great lengths to conceal a body, dumping them in remote locations, hiding the body under cover, and many times burying the bodies to conceal the crime. This course will teach the various techniques for search and recovery of remains from clandestine graves. Principles of search and rescue, death investigation, forensic archaeology and anthropology, and entomology will be taught and used in hands-on exercises. Students will learn how to conduct effective searches, proper protection and documentation of discovered sites, and proper recovery methods and techniques for remains.


Day 1 Lecture / Hands-On Activity (8:00 am – 4:30 pm)

  • Registration / Introduction
  • Fundamentals of Clandestine Activity
  • Search methods
  • Documentation
  • Evidence recovery methods
  • Hands-On Practical: Field Search Activity

Day 2 Hands On Lesson / Activity (8:30 am – 4:30 pm)

  • Review of Student Field Recovery Kit
  • Search and Discovery
  • Setup, identification, documentation of grave
  • Excavation and evidence collection of grave

Day 3 Presentation and Peer Review (8:30 am – 3:00 pm)

  • Report Writing
  • Preparation of Presentations
  • Presentations / Q&A