Visualising the Crime

Dr. Tim Thompson, Brian Rankin and I are organizing a scientific research event at Teesside University, Stephenson Building on Wednesday 17th April. The University is in partnership with the recently formed Forensic Science Special Interest Group are jointly hosting ‘Visualizing the Crime’ – to show case current research within forensic science when Industry and University come together.

This is a free event but you need to register here:

The programme and details of those involved are also available via this link. If you would like further information please don’t hesitate to contact me.

Posted in Uncategorized | Leave a comment

Mesolithic Update & Past Horizons

The Past Horizons website is an up-to-date site that provides archaeological news from all around the world. The website includes recent news and projects with articles and ‘scoops’ on a range of interesting projects that are happening or have happened. The site has podcasts, videos (including a tour through Ancient Rome in 320 C.E ), job advertisements which link directly to the British Archaeological Jobs Research (BAJR) and a shop if you feel the need to purchase a trowel and start digging up your garden. (- do please remember to record the stratigraphic matrix correctly!)

The Past Horizons website as of the 17.12.12 now features an article titled, “Search for  Mesolithic campsite continues”. Those loyal readers (hint) will already know about the Mesolithic Project which I have been apart of. There is a little more on the project ran by Tees Archaeology and the North York Moors National Park on the past horizons website:

Search for Mesolithic campsite continues

According to the Tees Archaeology website, a new phase of trial trenching will take place in the Spring of 2013 which is good news! Hopefully I can go along and bug Rachel Grahame the site director for another time!

Posted in Archaeology | Tagged , , , | Leave a comment

3D Scanning Symposium

With the greatest of gratitude towards the Science & Heritage Programme of the Arts and Humanities Research Council (AHRC), and the Engineering and Physical Sciences Research Council (EPSRC), JISC, and Dr. Phillip Lindley, I was able to attend the two-day research session,

3D Scanning: Three-dimensional Artefacts From The Past, For Our Future”.

The symposium was located within the magnificent grounds of St Catherine’s College, Cambridge. The college includes notable alumni such as Jeremy Paxman and Sir Ian Mckellen.

 St Catherine's College, Cambridge

St Catherine’s College, Cambridge

The symposium brought together a range of professionals, academics and researchers from many disciplines. The aim of the conference was to discuss the previous developments in 3D scanning, their current applications and what the future has in store for this rapidly evolving field.

As Dr Phillip Lindley brilliantly summarized, imaging has evolved throughout a series of paradigm shifts and is now entering its next phase: ‘3D scanning’. Although as Cheselden rightly said in his book ‘Osteographia’, ‘one view of an actual object is better than any description’, however 3D scanning allows the creation of 3D forms to aid the understanding of an object.

Throughout the conference it was obvious the scientific application of 3D laser scanning is rapidly evolving. 3D laser scanners have been used since the 1980s. However, laser scanning has developed in such a way, it is now possible to reconstruct the topographic qualities of the southern hemisphere of Mercury. To achieve this success, the collaboration of experts from a wide range of disciplines is necessary. Whether it is with space researchers for mapping planets or computer designers for their understanding of a modeled environment, collaboration was constantly highlighted as key to innovation and success.

Day 1: 3D scanning and its uses in Art History and Archaeology.

The advantageous for using 3D laser scanning were a primary theme. Conservation was one of the main benefits highlighted for the application. What is more, 3D laser scanning can be used for the reconstruction of an object. Marcos Rodrigues, Annemarie La Pensée, and Laura Roviras, each discussed the benefits of conservation. Whether it was the documentation of over 400 cultural artefacts  (Liverpool Museums), to create a visual permanent collection of metalwork (Sheffield University), or to record monuments for our future understanding after its demise (Magistricataloniae). It is important to record objects because 3D models, unlike the original objects, do not erode, nor do they become too fragile for the public’s access. Amongst conservation, Anna Thirion showed that digitizing with a 3D laser scanner is being used for good in archaeological research. Anna’s research illustrated the ability to re-piece together a monument that is no longer standing and is located in different places around the world.

Dr. Phillip Lindley and Jack Hinton demonstrated it is possible to convey uncertainty and complexity with scanned data. Old theories could be re-examined and explored while 3D models are helpful to formulate ideas and consider understanding upon analysis.

Although the advantageous of 3D laser scanning were a major focus, it was refreshing to hear Annemarie La Pensée and Marcos Rodrigues discuss the challenges of 3D laser scanning. I feel this is an area often too difficult to discuss because nobody wants to talk about negative results. However, for progression within the field, there is a need to know and understand current challenges. Some of these issues included accuracy, resolution, uncooperative surfaces, operator influence and subjectivity.

The first day was very enjoyable with a range of topics covering archaeology, history, and art. I feel Dr. Phillip Lindley summarized the first day nicely as he said 3D laser scanning “has the ability to accurately scan monuments [and objects] and reconstruct lost monuments” while, “3D scanning is the drive to record an object because of the need to understand an object”. Understanding the object, with the help of collaboration, is something that each presenter included.

Day 2: Wider 3D scanning and digitization projects

The second day has six speakers who were using 3D laser scanners as wider research projects. Their research followed on nicely from the first day. The second day focused on maximizing laser scanning’s potential for the protection and conservation of objects while addressing more of the current challenges.

Paul Bryan spoke about the Stonehenge Landscape Project (Stonehenge Landscape Project) and how 3D laser scanning showed features located upon Stonehenge that had previously gone unnoticed (and increase from 44 to 115 Bronze Age axe head carvings). Douglas Pritchard showed us the fascinating ‘Scottish Ten Project’. This is the protection of five UNESCO designated World Heritage Sites (Scottish Ten Project). Pritchard highlighted the value for protecting heritage due to the current threat to them.  Dr. Andrew Wilson was slightly different focusing on the preservation of fragile human bone specimens. Through the JISC funded digitizing diseases project  (Digitizing Disease) Dr. Wilson discussed the benefits for recording material that with time will be destroyed. David Arnold gave the shocking statistic, ‘one sculpture per week is lost in Britain’. Multiple individuals around the world can constantly access a permanent record at the same time without needing the original. With the technology of 3D printing, replicas can be created in their place. This also means it is possible to have the same model in several museums and institutions at once. This is hugely beneficial. Finally, Mike Howe went even further back in time. Mike’s research (funded by JISC) discussed the benefits for recording fossils (Fossils Online) and creating a publicly accessible online database.

surrogate”. Challenges highlighted included, emerging good practices, file formats, metadata, operational workflows, cost implications, accuracy and precision. These challenges were also discussed at the round table event. The discussion focused primarily on innovation and adapting old methods to suit new challenges. To do this promoting standards, metadata, data preservation (including storage), and collaboration were the key issues. I feel these points were highlighted through each presentation for the duration of the two-day symposium. There is certainly a mutual relationship and trust issue that has to be addressed. Using connections the development of new technology can be achieved. Yes technology is developing rapidly, however the understanding of technology is not. This may mean taking on more professionals to address the problem.

Final Thoughts:

There are many advantages as there are disadvantages for using 3D laser scanning, likewise with any other imaging device. There is also a wide range of different apparatus that can be utilized for the necessary requirements. However, I think the underlying theme throughout the 3D laser scanning conference was collaboration. Without collaboration, schools cannot use the material for education, funding cannot be accessed, peer review and standards are not achieved. For the field to improve and continually grow, collaboration must be maintained. To do this future events and conferences like this one must be organized.

“Alone we can do so little; together we can do so much” – Keller

Posted in Conferences, Laser Scanning | 1 Comment

The American Academy of Forensic Sciences (AAFS)

The American Academy of Forensic Sciences (AAFS) is one of the most prestige conferences within the forensic science community. The society represents physicians, attorneys, dentists, toxicologists, psychiatrists, engineers, and educators. The annual meeting is held in February at which over 800 papers, seminars, workshops and posters are presented throughout the week. This includes a wide range of forensic specialties – of which something will be of interest!

The 65th meeting due to take place between 18-23 February 2013 is located in Washington DC at the Marriott Wardman Park Hotel.

Earlier this year I submitted an abstract to present my ongoing research at the American Academy of Forensic Sciences in poster form. I have recently found out that this has been accepted! The title of which is:


“The Application of Laser Scanning for Visualization with a Courtroom Environment”.


So for those of you who will be in Washington DC for the conference in February, please come and say hello and check out my poster. For those of you who cannot make it, afterwards again the poster will be placed onto here.



Posted in Conferences, Forensics | Leave a comment

Nanotechnology and the Forensic Science Society

The Forensic Science Society

The Society is an international professional body who encourage communication and collaboration throughout forensic science. They invoke development areas such as best practices, research, publications and ethics in forensic casework. I am a member of the Forensic Science Society and encourage anybody within the forensic science arena to join. Especially those who are in academia and feel their contribution to forensic science is beneficial!

Nanotechnology – 10th November – Less is More

I attended the conference, Nanotechnology: Less is More, to present a poster. Nanotechnology has the potential to make a positive social contribution in an area it is not normally associated with, by helping to solve more crime.

Nanotechnology Poster

Please find above the link to my poster.


Posted in Conferences, Forensics | Tagged , | 1 Comment


Altimet is a company that specializes in surface metrology who combine both metrology and optical microscopy into 3D cartography. At the International Conference on Surface Metrology (ICSM) I met several members of Altimet establishing a connection.

Altimet have a large range of equipment that range in precision, quality in measurements and adapted price. They also cater for niches of industries like mechanics, paper and printing, materials and substrates, automotive, and nanotechnology.

I hope to receive the scanned results of some sheep long bones previously used within my preliminary M.Sc research. Hopefully I can post on here some results as well as intending to publish the comparisons against other laser scanners.

**Watch this space**


Posted in Forensics, Laser Scanning | Tagged , | Leave a comment

FORREST – Updated


Organised by the University of Abertay Dundee in conjunction with The Forensic Institute and Higher Education Academy, with support from Dundee City Council.

The FORRESTConference is aimed at promoting and developing links between higher education and forensic science research. The conference will showcase some of the latest developments in forensic research and the teaching of the subject.

I will be displaying a poster at FORREST and will update this section once the conference has finished on the 27th June 2012.


The above link is the poster I have submitted to the conference.


FORREST was a great success. For those who haven’t looked at the poster, please clink on the link above to view as a PDF.

I attended the conference in Dundee with two of my fellow PhD co-workers (both of which are looking at burnt bone). I came 2nd place for the judging of the posters and there was some interesting topics. I also became aware of the nanotechnology conference in Warwick as part of the Forensic Science Society. Hopefully I will be presenting another poster at this conference too!

Posted in Conferences, Forensics | Tagged , , | Leave a comment

Mesolithic Project

The Mesolithic Period, also known as the Middle Stone Age (Meso: Middle / Lithic: Stone), lasted for over 6000 years from around 10,000 BC to 4,000 BC. beginning at the end of the last Ive Age continued until the farming of the Neolithic (Neo: New / Lithic: Stone).

The North York Moors National Park and Tees Archaeology teamed up to find out more about the Mesolithic Period and set up a three-year project with funding from English Heritage.

I was fortunate enough to be a site assistant and supervisor on several of these excavations from all three of the years with Rachel Grahame (Tees Archaeology), Arron Goody and Kevin Horsely.

Excavating on the Mesolithic Project

The reports for the 2008, 2009 and 2010 seasons of fieldwork are now completed and can be downloaded from the Tees Archaeology website. This is also in conjunction with the 2011 report, produced as an overview of the entire project.

An Upcoming Project

In 2012 a further and final round of English Heritage funding was confirmed to bring the project to a close. This will include geophysical survey at Goldsborough followed by a further season of excavation. I (hopefully) intend to volunteer on the final phase of this project as it would be nice for me to see a project I was involved in from the beginning to be completed.

Volunteers on the Mesolithic Project

Posted in Archaeology | Tagged , , | Leave a comment

Tees Archaeology

From January until September in 2008 I was privileged with the undertaking of a work placement with Tees Archaeology.

Tees Archaeology provides archaeological services to the people and local authorities of Hartlepool and Stockton-on-Tees and operates throughout the Tees Valley.

Tees Archaeology monitor all the planning applications and development proposals in Hartlepool and Stockton-on-Tees. They maintain the historic and environment record of know archaeological sites in the area. This includes WW2 pill boxes and Medieval villages. Tees Archaeology also curates a collection of archaeological material from within the area and promotes archaeological interest within the area. This is done through guided walks, volunteer excavations and a newsletter that occurs every three months.

Yes that is me!

Posted in Archaeology | Tagged , | Leave a comment

Annecy, France

As Pr. Christopher A Brown said, “Surfaces cover everything”.

I thought it was about time I did my first international conference and what better place to do it than abroad? So I recently took a short holiday to wine country.


Lake Annecy with the Alps

The Palais de l’Isle, also called the “old prison”, was built from the 12th century. It is the symbol of the town.

A modern town situated next to an old 14th century town built on water. It lies on the Northern tip of Lake Annecy, France and is 35km south of Geneva, Switzerland.

Starting as the capital of the county of Geneva, after the demise of the counts of Geneva, it became integrated into the House of Savoy’s possessions in 1401. In 1444, it was set up by the Princes of Savoy as the capital of a region covering the possessions of the Genevois, Faucigny and Beaufortain.

The École Polytechnique d’Ingénieurs de l’Université de Savoie was the university situated at the foot of the Alps where the conference was held.



The International Conference of Surface Metrology. (ICSM3)

Measurements are made possible thanks to the devices in constant evolution. This benefits from the latest scientific advances.

“Making complexity understandable” was the subtitle for this conference. Since the more we try to learn about a given surface to better understand its function, the more the measured data can become rich and complex to analyze. Our common stake is to get down towards this complexity in order to abstract/infer a simple analysis, on which a decision can be based. This challenge was the central topic of the conference.

I decided to present my MSc work as after all I was analyzing the surface changes upon the bone after different stages of weathering. Although nerve-racking and wanting to leave five minutes before my presentation everything went remarkably well. I have met some very kind people and gained a huge learning experience from the past few days.

Can you spot me?

Roll on the next conference!

Posted in Conferences | Tagged , , | 1 Comment