Peter Cross

Senior Lecturer in Forensic Anthropology

School of Forensic and Applied Sciences

Maudland Buiding, MB129

+44 (0) 1772 89 4153

Subject Areas: Forensic Science

Peter is a forensic anthropologist whose teaching includes anatomy, forensic anthropology, forensic trauma analysis and forensic taphonomy. His research focuses on post-mortem processes and post-mortem interval estimation, including validation of taphonomic models and procedural aspects of taphonomic research and teaching.

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

Peter is a Senior Lecturer in Forensic Anthropology at the School of Forensic and Applied Sciences, taking up this post in June 2009. He has a BSC (Hons) in Biological Science and an MSc in Forensic Anthropology. He teaches on both undergraduate and postgraduate degree programs. He is module tutor for FZ2051 Forensic Anthropology, FZ2052 Death Science and FZ4307 Forensic Taphonomy.

He was responsible for the establishment of the TRACES (Taphonomic Research in Anthropology – Centre for Experimental Study) research facility, utilizing expertise brought with him from his previous career in veterinary public health. Peter continues to manage this facility as well as work to promote collaborative work with other institutions.

Peter's research areas are within the fields of forensic anthropology and forensic taphonomy. Specific interests include the factors influencing decomposition, post-mortem processes, early and late post-mortem interval estimation methods, the validity of using animal models in forensic taphonomy, and policy and procedure relating to taphonomic research facilities.  He also works with Lancashire Constabulary Dog Unit undertaking long-term research into dog detection of decomposing remains. Peter also has an interest in improving the ethical and pastoral aspects of delivering sensitive material in higher education. He supervises both undergraduate and postgraduate student research within these areas and is currently working towards a PhD by Published Work. He is a prior winner of a Lecturer of the Year Award.

Peter is a member of the School of Forensic and Applied Sciences Health, Safety and Ethics Committee and the University Animal Welfare and Ethics Review Board (AWERB).

Peter has designed and delivered CPD short courses in animal/human differentiation and post-mortem interval estimation. These have been delivered to police/CSI and a range of professionals and students within the relevant disciplines.

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.

Peter is a member of the Royal Society of Biology, is a Fellow of the Royal Anthropological Institute, and a Fellow of the Higher Education Academy. He is also a member of British Association for Human Identification (BAHID) and the British Association of Forensic Anthropology (BAFA).


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



  • Forensic Anthropology Group
  • Taphonomic Research Group


Forensic Anthropology, Forensic Taphonomy, Forensic Trauma Analysis, Post –Mortem Processes and Post-Mortem Interval Estimation, Post-Mortem Chemistry and Cadaver Dog Search, Delivering sensitive material in higher education.



Post-Graduate Research Supervision (ongoing):

  • MSc
  • Validation of Taphonomic Models
  • Better Bag Project with ICRC – testing a new kind of body bag
  • Post-mortem Chemistry and Cadaver dog search

Other Specific Projects:

  • Air rifle injury
  • Policy and procedure in taphonomic research facilities
  • Managing wellbeing in the study of death


  • Fellow of Higher Education Academy
  • Fellow of the Royal Anthropological Society
  • Member of the Royal Society of Biology
  • Member of the British Association for Human Identification
  • Member of the British Association for Forensic Anthropology

Teaching Activities and Responsibilities

Module Leader on:

  • FZ 2051 Forensic Anthropology
  • FZ 2052 Death Science
  • FZ 4307 Forensic Taphonomy

Teaching delivery on:

  • FZ 1033 Skills for Forensic Scientists
  • FZ 3015 Forensic Medicine
  • FZ 4305 Developmental Anatomy
  • FZ 4306 Forensic Anthropology – Method and Context


  • 2017 Legal and Biosecurity Framework for Taphonomic Facilities
    Presented at  CIFA Special Interest Group in Forensic Archaeology Conference, UCLAN
  • 2014 TRACES as an aid to homicide investigation
    Presented at Association of Chief Police Officer Homicide Working Group
  • 2014 Decomposition and Cadaver Dog Training
    Presented at The National Search and Rescue Dog Association Conference, Leylan, UK/
  • 2010 Establishing a Taphonomic Facility in the UK.
    Presented at Annual meeting of American Academy of Forensics Sciences in Denver, Colarado
  • 2008 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.