The New Kid on the Block

So - the body farm in Knoxville was the original body farm.  Once it was established other people saw how useful it could be and body farms were opened all over the continental US.  It meant that experiments could be conducted for different types of environment, as well as different climates.  But until very recently the only body farms were in the US.  What about the rest of the world?

In 2016 the University of Technology in Sydney Australia began operation of the AFTER facility.  AFTER stands for the Australian Facility for Taphonomic Experimental Research.  Here they have started doing their own experiments on human decomposition.  I was very lucky to be able to visit the AFTER facility this week as part of my research trip.

I wanted in particular to visit AFTER because it is,the most recent, and can highlight the processes involved in getting such a massive undertaking started.  But false because it is the first such facility in a different legal jurisdiction to the US, it can highlight different legal challenges that may be encountered.

The university works very closely with partners on a Project Management Committee.  These partners include local and federal police, as well as academics and people working in the forensics field.  The UTS provides the majority of the funding for the facility, but the other partners have also contributed, and have some input into the research projects chosen.

The facility itself is in the Bush, well outside of Sydney, and is running well.  It's good to see a facility like this somewhere that the legal system is closer to the UK, because it shows how potential challenges can be overcome.

I only have a few more days of my trip, and a few more meetings scheduled.  I've learnt a lot and I'm actually looking forward to getting down to writing my final report when I get home!


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