Remote Detection and Identification of Organic Remains: An Assessment of Archaeological Potential

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8 Citations (Scopus)


This paper reviews the various methods of using natural or induced light spectra as analytical tools in forensic archaeology. Chemical identi?cation can be made at long range and wide scale (tens of metres) down to short range and very small scale (nanometres). The identi?cation of organic gases and materials has used either chemical capture and chromatography, induced (laser or ultraviolet) light sources or laser Raman microscope spectroscopy. The remote gas detection method relies on the identi?cation of atmospheric gases by their characteristic light spectra. Modern spectroscopes can detect gases down to a few parts per million of an atmosphere. When the light source (wavelength) and direction is controlled, so laser-induced spectroscopy may be used to monitor the emission of gases such methane from buried organic remains. In order to identify the location of buried organic remains, a grid of sample points must be established using a base line or global
positioning system. When matched to base line or ground-positioning systems, such data can be manipulated by geographical information system packages. This would enable pinpointing of anomalies for excavation or avoidance. Microscope-based laser Raman spectroscopy can be used to directly analyse captured gases, swabs and surfaces without the problems of long-path detection. Copyright ? 2002 John Wiley & Sons, Ltd.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)115-122
Number of pages8
JournalArchaeological Prospection
Issue number3
Publication statusPublished - 27 Mar 2002


  • chromatography
  • laser Raman spectroscopy
  • forensic archaeology

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Genetics
  • Pathology and Forensic Medicine


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