skip navigation


Register for Latest Research

Stay Informed
Register with NCJRS to receive NCJRS's biweekly e-newsletter JUSTINFO and additional periodic emails from NCJRS and the NCJRS federal sponsors that highlight the latest research published or sponsored by the Office of Justice Programs.

NCJRS Abstract

The document referenced below is part of the NCJRS Virtual Library collection. To conduct further searches of the collection, visit the Virtual Library. See the Obtain Documents page for direction on how to access resources online, via mail, through interlibrary loans, or in a local library.


NCJ Number: 222337 Find in a Library
Title: Sequential Monitoring of Burials Containing Small Pig Cadavers Using Ground Penetrating Radar
Journal: Journal of Forensic Sciences  Volume:53  Issue:2  Dated:March 2008  Pages:279-287
Author(s): John J. Schultz Ph.D.
Date Published: March 2008
Page Count: 9
Type: Report (Study/Research)
Format: Article
Language: English
Country: United States of America
Annotation: This study tested the feasibility of using ground-penetrating radar (GPR) in detecting buried cadavers over time (13 or 21 months), using a pig cadaver in each of 12 burial sites (6 shallow and 6 deep) in sand in Florida, comparing the GPR findings with those of 12 empty grave sites.
Abstract: The empty control graves, which consisted only of disturbed backfill, demonstrated that the GPR hyperbolic anomaly resulted primarily from the presence of the decomposing body or skeleton and not the disturbed soil. It was also found, however, that it may be difficult to detect small cadavers buried in sand soon after they become skeletonized, because the area surrounding the body may not provide a contrasting area that will be detected by GPR compared to that of the surrounding undisturbed soil. Also, depth of burial apparently influenced grave detection, because bodies that were buried at deeper depths might have been detected for a longer period of time due to reduced decomposition rates. In addition, processing the GPR data for background removal is generally not required for assessments made in the field when surveying soils composed primarily of sand; however, removing the horizontal ringing can be helpful for grave detection, because there may be an increased response from the backfill that can indicate the location of the grave when there is a weak response from the buried body. The six shallow graves contained pig cadavers placed at a depth of 0.50-0.60 meters, and the deeper burials were at a depth of 1.00-1.10 meters. The GPR system used in the study was the Subsurface Interface Radar (SIR) 2000, manufactured by Geophysical Survey Systems, Inc., with a 500-MHz center frequency antenna used in the standard position, with the dipoles oriented perpendicular to the direction of travel. 3 tables, 9 figures, and 28 references
Main Term(s): Criminology; Radar detectors
Index Term(s): Concealed bodies; Death investigations; Florida; Forensic sciences; Homicide investigations; Investigative techniques; Location
To cite this abstract, use the following link:

*A link to the full-text document is provided whenever possible. For documents not available online, a link to the publisher's website is provided. Tell us how you use the NCJRS Library and Abstracts Database - send us your feedback.