Artifacts of Decomposition Laboratory


In-Person Elective Course 
Credits: 3
Fall 2023 Dates: October 2–6, 2023
Instructor: Dr. Lerah Sutton

This in-person, interactive elective course has been designed to give students a hands-on approach regarding the basic concepts of human decomposition and the estimation of post-mortem interval. Students will become familiar with the multidisciplinary nature of death investigations through practical exercises that will further develop their ability to recognize and understand artifacts of decomposition including scattered skeletal remains recovery and clandestine grave detection and excavation.

Fall 2023

Location: Austin Cary Forest, 10625 NE Waldo Rd, Gainesville, FL 32609
Dates: TBD

Course Objectives:

Upon completion of this course, students should be able to:

  • Properly identify and secure a crime scene involving decomposed remains
  • Detect surface remains and clandestine graves
  • Perform tasks related to physical evidence identification and recovery
  • Process a gravesite by using the grid/baseline methods and evidence mapping
  • Properly sift to look for items of evidence and small bones
  • Locate, map, and measure skeletal remains
  • Systematically map and excavate clandestine graves

Download a tentative agenda (subject to change): Syllabus

Interested in this subject, but can’t come to the in-person lab? Take Artifacts of Decomposition 100% online!