Peter is a forensic anthropologist specialising in taphonomic modification. Peter's teaching includes developmental anatomy, forensic anthropology, forensic trauma analysis, forensic taphonomy and death management. His research focuses on post-mortem processes and post-mortem interval estimation, procedural aspects of taphonomic research and teaching and wellbeing associated with exposure to death. Peter supervisors undergraduate and postgraduate projects in these areas.
Peter is Course Leader for the MSc Forensic Anthropology and Course Leader for a new MSc Taphonomy and Death Sciences commencing in September 2021. He is a module leader for UG Forensic Anthropology and The Science and Management of Death. Peter is a manager of the UCLan Taphonomic Research Facilities, including responsibility for the TRACES (Taphonomic Research in Anthropology-Centre for Experimental Studies) field research facility. He is member of the School Heath, Safety and Ethics Committee (HSEC) and the University Animal Welfare and Ethical Review Board (AWERB). Peter is also a practicing forensic anthropologist undertaking forensic casework. Peter has published a number of research articles and book chapters.
Peter comes from an original background of veterinary public health, moving into forensic science, specifically forensic anthropology and taphonomy, in 2006. Peter was responsible for the establishment of the UK's largest dedicated taphonomic research facility (UCLan TRACES) which opened in 2009. Peter was one of first UK forensic anthropologists to undergo professional certification in 2014. Prior to and since accreditation he has conducted forensic casework in the UK and overseas. He has worked in Guatemala as a forensic anthropologist and as an intern/visiting scientist at the Office of the Chief Medical Examiner in New York, undertaking both forensic anthropology casework and death scene investigation. He continues to undertake forensic casework alongside his academic responsibilities. Peter has taught and acted as module leader on the MSc Forensic Anthropology and BSc Forensic Science programs since 2009. He has been an MSc course leader from 2014 to 2016 and from 2019 to present. He is a prior winner of a Lecturer of the Year Award and was nominated for the Golden Roses Postgraduate Support award in 2020.
Peter is highly experienced in taphonomic research and has supervised both UG and PG research in this field since 2009. Peter has designed and delivers CPD short courses in animal/human differentiation, forensic anthropology and post-mortem interval estimation. These have been delivered to police/CSI and a range of professionals and students within the relevant disciplines. Peter has published a number of articles in forensic science journals and contributed chapters to forensic science textbooks. Post-mortem processes, time since death, skeletal trauma, and the operation of taphonomic research facilities are amongst the subject areas he has published. Past and ongoing research has included collaboration with other academic institutions, Lancashire Police and the International Commission of the Red Cross. A current research interest is in the psychological wellbeing of students when exposed to death as part of forensic science studies. This work has been presented at the 14th International Conference on Death, Dying and Society and represents an ongoing research interest.
- Certificate of Professional Practice (FA-II), Royal Anthropological Institute, 2014
- MSc Forensic Anthropology, University of Central Lancashire, 2007
- BSc (Hons) Biological Sciences, The Open University, 2005.
- UCLan SU Golden Roses Lecturer of the Year 2013
- Forensic Anthropology/ Forensic Taphonomy/ Wellbeing
- Fellow of the Higher Education Academy
The estimation of time since death (post-mortem interval) is an important part of a medicolegal investigation. Multiple factors influence the decomposition process, and therefore, the accuracy of post-mortem interval estimations. Research in these areas help to further the understanding of these processes, may aid in the accuracy of estimation and further the development of new post-mortem interval estimation methods.
Research into skeletal trauma enables a better understanding of how skeletal material responds to different types of trauma. This aids the analysis of remains with traumatic modifications and enables the circumstances surrounding a traumatic event to be understood and may provide evidence of the nature of such trauma. Crime scene and forensic practitioner's work may bring them into contact with the deceased.
The effects of this on the individual and the wellbeing support necessary are well understood in recent years. Students undertaking crime scene and forensic science studies may be exposed to the deceased as part of that study. Research in this area helps educators undertake evidence-based procedures for preparation and support of students to ensure their wellbeing is protected.
- Forensic Taphonomy Research Group
- Wellbeing following exposure to death in forensic science studies. 14th International Conference on Death, Dying and Society, University of Bath, 2019
- TRACES Taphonomic Research Facility, Taphos Nomos, UCLan, 2018
- Establishing a Taphonomic Research Facility in the UK - Legislative and Operational Procedures in Practice, Chartered Institute for Archaeologists, UCLan, 2018
- Decomposition and Cadaver Dog Training. Presented at The National Search and Rescue Dog Association Conference, Leyland, UK, 2014
- Association of Chief Police Officer Homicide Working Group (TRACES as an aid to homicide investigation)
- Decomposition and Cadaver Dog Training, 2013
- Establishing a Taphonomic Facility in the UK. Presented at Annual meeting of American Academy of Forensics Sciences in Denver, Colorado, 2010
- The influence of penetrative trauma on the rate of decomposition. Presented at American Academy of Forensic Sciences meeting in Washington DC, USA, 2008
- La influencia de los traumas penetrantes en la tasa de descomposion. Presented at Centre for Forensic Analysis and Applied Sciences (CAFCA), Guatemala, Central America., 2008