Peter Cross

Lecturer in Forensic Anthropology

School of Forensic and Applied Sciences

Maudland Buiding, MB129

+44 (0) 1772 89 4153

Subject Areas: Forensic Science

Peter teaches on both undergraduate and postgraduate forensic anthropology courses.


Peter is research active within the area of forensic science and is a member of the Forensic Anthropology Research Group. He is also the manager of UCLan's taphonomic research facility - TRACES.

Full Profile

BSc (Hons), MSc, MSB, MFSSoc

Peter is a lecturer in forensic anthropology at the School of Forensic and Investigative Sciences, taking up this post in June 2009. He teaches on both undergraduate and postgraduate degree programs. He is module tutor for FZ2051 Forensic Anthropology and FZ4305 Developmental Anatomy. 

Peter was responsible for the establishment of the TRACES (Taphonomic Research in Anthropology – Centre for Experimental Study) research facility, utilising expertise brought with him from his previous career, specifically in legislative matters pertaining to the use and disposal of animal by-products, environmental legislation, bio-security and health and safety. Peter continues to manage this facility as well as work to promote collaborative work with other institutions.

Peter's research areas are forensic anthropology. forensic taphonomy and forensic entomology with specific interest in factors influencing the decomposition process and post-mortem interval estimation. He supervises both undergraduate and postgraduate students research within these areas and is currently working towards a PhD.

Peter has also designed and runs four professional short courses offered by the School. 

Peter has conducted forensic casework in the UK and overseas. He has worked in Guatemala as a forensic anthropologist and in New York with the Office of the Chief Medical Examiner. 

Peter is a member of the Society of Biology (SOB), a Professional Member of the Forensic Science Society (FSS), and an Associate of the American Academy of Forensic Sciences (AAFS). He is also a Fellow of the Royal Anthropological Institute, a member of British Association for Human Identification (BAHID) and  the British Association of Forensic Anthropology (BAFA) where he co-chairs the Academic Programmes Committee. 

In February 2013 Peter received a ' We Heart U' award. He was identified by students “as putting as much effort as possible in helping each student succeed”. He is recognised for organising critical review scientific writing workshops and extra voluntary lab and exam revision sessions, providing one-to-one support and feedback as students prepared drafts of critiques prior to the exam.  

In April 2013 Peter was shortlisted for 'Lecturer of the Year' award. The Lecturer of the Year award is for a UCLan Lecturer that has made a significant contribution to the academic experience, through assessment and feedback practices, innovative teaching methods, responding to students’ experiences and teaching styles.


Cross, P., Simmons, T., Cunliffe, R., Chatfield, L. (2010) Establishing a Taphonomic Research Facility in the United Kingdom. Forensic Science Policy & Management: An International Journal, 1(4): 187 -191.

Simmons, T., Cross, P., Adlam, R., Moffat, C. (2010) The influence of insects on decomposition rate in buried and surface remains. Journal of Forensic Sciences. 55(4): 889-892.

Cross, P and Simmons, T (2010) The Influence of Penetrative Trauma on the Rate of Decomposition. Journal of Forensic Sciences. 55(2): 295-310.

More publications


Current activities include bone weathering, coleoptera succession and the influence of coleoptera on decomposition. Also, supervision of postgraduate research into other factors influencing decomposition and research into skeletal trauma.

Bone weathering in North West England
The influence of tidal episodes on bone weathering
The ability of cadaver search dogs to detect human remains during the decomposition process (with Lancashire Police)
Coleoptera succession in North West England and the influence of Necrodes Littoralis on decomposition (PhD)




BSc Forensic Science/ and Anthropology

Module tutor for FZ2051 Forensic Anthropology. Teaches on FZ3051 Forensic Taphonomy and Human Remains Recovery. Supervises BSc research dissertations.

MSc Forensic Anthropology

Module tutor for FZ4305 Developmental Anatomy. Teaches on FZ4306 Forensic Anthropology, FZ4307 Forensic Taphonomy, FZ4308 Crime Scene Investigation for the Forensic Anthropologist. Supervises MSc research dissertations.

Responsible for the organisation and running of postgraduate field trips and for associated activities at TRACES.


Society of Biology (Member),  Forensic Science Society (Professional Member), Royal Anthropological Institute (Fellow), American Academy of Forensic Science (Associate), British Association for Human Identification (Member), British Association for Forensic Anthropology (Member and Committee Co-Chair), British Association of Biological Anthropology and Osteoarchaeology (Member)


Regular attendee of the American Academy of Forensic Sciences annual meeting and the British Association for Human Identification/ British Association of Forensic Anthropology annual conference.

Recent presentations include:

  • University of Derby ('Forensic Taphomic Research' - April 2013
  • Association of Chief Police Officer Homicide Working Group ('TRACES as an aid to homicide investigation' - Feb 2013)
  • American Academy of Forensic Science Meeting Seattle ('Establishing a Taphomic Reseach Facility on the United Kingdom'. Feb 2010)
  • Centre for Forensic Analysis and Applied Sciences (CAFCA), Guatemala, Central America.(‘La influencia de los traumas penetrantes en la tasa de descomposion’ - April 2008)
  • American Academy of Forensic Science  Meeting, Washington DC,USA. ('The Influence of Penetrative Trauma on the Rate of Decomposition’  - Feb,  2008)