FASE Past events

FASE Basic course 2018 in Marseille, France

In the continuity of what had been done by FASE during many years, and in the direct line of the previous basic event in Coimbra (Portugal) in 2016, the Forensic Anthropology Team from Marseille had the pleasure to organize the 2018 FASE Basic Course in FA. This scientific event aimed at allowing every participant to learn what is within the scope of forensic anthropology, to clearly identify the objectives and constraints of this discipline and learn – or improve their skills – to use the basic tools needed for proper forensic analysis. Since it was a “Basic Course”, no particular professional profile was expected and the participants represented an array of professions including medical doctors and forensic pathologists, bioarchaeologists, lawyers, human rights specialists, radiologists, forensic anthropologists andmstudents of related sciences. During five days, they had the opportunity to listen to renown forensic anthropology specialists such as Pascal Adalian, Eric Baccino, Cristina Cattaneo, Eugénia Cunha, Elena Kranioti, Philippe Lefevre, Laurent Martrille, Zuzana Obertova, Anja Petaros, Ann Ross, Douglas Ubelaker and Emeline Verna.



 After remembering what Forensic Anthropology is and how to identify human bone (Zuzana Obertova), the different lectures concerned: human osteology (Philippe Lefevre) and its non-pathological variants(Emeline Verna), the assessment of a minimum number of individuals found in a skeletal assemblage (Pascal Adalian), the way to establish a biological profile through age estimation for both living (Laurent Martrille) and dead juveniles (Louise Corron and Pascal Adalian) or adults (Eric Baccino), stature estimation (Zuzana Obertova) and sex assessment (Elena Kranioti), methods of identification (Zuzana Obertova), Pathology (Eugénia Cunha), Taphonomy (Anja Petaros) and the estimation of a post-mortem interval (Douglas Ubelaker). Finally, we discussed about the future of the discipline (Eugenia Cunha).

Since our event was hosted by the Medicine Faculty of Marseille (Aix-Marseille University, France), and to the extent that forensic anthropology is an applied science, every afternoon was dedicated to parallel training sessions in two historic anatomy amphitheatres. More than sixty skeletons from the UMR 7268 ADES Osteotheca (see previous issue of the FASE Newsletter) were studied by the participants, under the supervision of FASE Board members assisted by several PhD students from Marseille (Mélanie Henriques, Frédérique Lagacé, Clémence Mopin, Mélissa Niel, Marie Perrin). Saturday was dedicated to a one-day Symposium counting more than 90 participants, where many scientific communications (20 oral communications and 17 posters) allowed us to discuss the current state of research in the discipline.



53 participants from 13 countries (Belgium, Croatia, Estonia, France, Germany, Italy, Philippines, Portugal, Romania, Slovenia, Sweden, Turkey, United Kingdom). 8 board members teaching from 7 countries (Belgium, France, Greece, Portugal, USA, Sweden, Switzerland) 6 guest lecturers (3 from USA, 2 from France and 1from Switzerland)


92 participants from 15 countries

20 oral communications

17 posters



FASE Advanced Course and Symposium: Esteemed lecturers and practicals with human remains simulating real-life scenarios in a city with lots to offer

Forensic Anthropology Society of Europe (FASE) organised the Advanced Course – Anthropology and Migration, on September 14th and 15th in Milan, Italy. The Advanced Course is a combination of lectures delivered by renowned speakers and practical exercises simulating real-life scenarios related to migration fatalities, using human remains in different stages of preservation.  The practicals included collection of postmortem data, which was then discussed and matched with antemortem information provided in a role-play setting.

The one-day Symposium provided the opportunity to share the research in the form of oral or poster presentations. The abstracts will be published in the La Revue de Médecine Légale!

FASE Symposium (16 September 2017)

The Symposium focused on topics related to  migration and personal identification, but other topics of interest to forensic anthropologists and pathologists, including trauma analysis  were included in the programme.  Oral communications and posters were accepted forms of presentations.

FASE Basic course 2016 in Coimbra, Portugal

During five days, Professors Eugénia Cunha, Cristina Cattaneo, Ann Ross, Eric Baccino, Philippe Lefevre, Laurent Martrille, and Douglas Ubelaker explained, amongst other topics, the means that allow us to differentiate human from non-human bone and to assess age, sex, ancestry, post-mortem interval, and how to use individualizing features present in the skeletal evidence to achieve positive identifications.

The basic workshop was a detailed introduction to the most important topics of the practice of forensic anthropology and was not intended to go into detail on particular issues, i.e. anyone interested in forensic anthropology was welcome to attend the workshop. Therefore, it is expected that participants have different levels of training in forensic anthropology and academic background. It was an excellent course for beginners and a great opportunity to revisit and update the basics of forensic analysis for the advanced practitioners. Furthermore, the lecturers are all active academics and experts, who continuously analyze, review, and improve methods so they can share up-to-date knowledge with the participants. 

Practical sessions presented by Maria Teresa Ferreira, Anja Petaros, and Zuzana Obertová provided a perfect opportunity to learn, discuss, and analyze the practical implementation of the theory addressed in the morning lectures and its application to skeletal material. The workshop gathered a large interdisciplinary group of enthusiastic people learning forensic anthropology and provided a forum to share their particular academic background with their peers. The participants represented an array of professions including forensic pathology, bioarchaeology, radiology, forensic anthropology and students of related sciences. The diversity in knowledge and experience was especially enlightening when discussing skeletal material and perfectly reflected the ideal scenario presented in the lectures of forensic experts working on the same case. 
The University of Coimbra is a charming place to host the workshop, and the Centro Cultural Don Dinis was the perfect venue for the lovely social dinner with a great taste of Portuguese Bacalhau and wine accompanied by Fado music. 



The advanced course was be organized by Prof Eric Baccino and Dr Philippe Cathala from the University Hospital of Montpellier, France in collaboration with theAssociation of Legal Medicine and Clinical Toxciology of Montpellier.  It took place in the 14th century old historical rooms (Theatrum Anatomicum) of the Montpellier Medical School (2 rue Ecole de Médecine, Montpellier, France) from Sept 3 (Thursday) to Sept 4 (Friday) 2015.

The course covered many topics – postmortem CT, 3D CT scanning and MRI – bone trauma in forensic medicine and anthropology – age determination in the living – interesting and helpful case reports.

The course allowed an interdisciplinary perspective on the topic and involved lecturers from different scientific fields: radiologists, forensic pathologists, forensic anthropologists etc. The main speakers of the course were Prof Fabrice Dedouit (radiologist and forensic pathologist, University Hospital of Toulouse, France), Prof Niels Lynnerup (forensic anthropologist, University of Copenhagen, Denmark), Prof Cristina Cattaneo (forensic pathologist and anthropologist, LABANOF, University of Milan, Italy), Prof Pascal Adalian (forensic anthropologist, University of Marseille, France), Dr Laurent Martrille (forensic pathologist, University Hospital of Nancy, France), Dr Samuel Merigeaud (radiologist, Montpellier, France), Prof. Patrice Taourel (Chief of the Radiology Department, University Hospital of Montpellier, France), Prof Eric Baccino (Chief of the Forensic Medicine Department, University Hospital of Montpellier, France).

The two-day course wasfollowed by another event: FASE Symposium which took place on September 5 (Saturday) 2015. The symposium aimed to gather forensic anthropologists from Europe and worldwide that wanted to present their research projects in form of oral presentations or posters, share their experience and contribute to further networking in the European forensic anthropology community.

 FASE BASIC WORKSHOP, ZAGREB – Croatia (8th September – 12th September 2014)   

The basic workshop was organized in cooperation with the Anthropological Centre of the Croatian Academy of Sciences and Arts, Zagreb and theDepartment of Legal Medicine and Criminalistics, Rijeka University, Rijeka.

The beautiful library of the Croatian Academy of Sciences and Arts served as the main location for the workshop, in which both the oral and practical sessions of the workshop took place. The workshop gathered 30 participants (students, anthropologists, archaeologists and forensic practitioners (mainly legal medicine specialists)) from 17 different countries, and a total of 18 lecturers and laboratory staff.

The workshop was divided in two parts: the first dedicated to oral presentations held by renowned experts in the field, including Prof. Eric Baccino, Prof. Cristina Cattaneo, Prof. Eugénia Cunha, Prof. Ann Ross, Prof. Douglas Ubelaker, Dr Daniel Gaudio, Dr Pierre Guyomarc’h, Dr Zuzana Obertova, Anja Petaros, MD; and the second dedicated to practical sessions. Besides presenting the traditional topics that characterize every basic workshop in forensic anthropology, including construction of the biological profile, trauma analysis, and taphonomy, the lectures focused also on forensic facial reconstruction, identification of the living, laboratory management procedures, writing forensic reports and witnessing in court.

The practical sessions were organized so that the laboratory assistants followed the oral presentations and were organized in teams that rotated between stations presenting different aspects of the topics of the day. Since the samples presented at the practical sessions included both archaeological and recent forensic osteological material, participants specialising in archaeology not familiar with forensic cases, and conversely legal medicine practitioners less familiar with archaeological taphonomy and trauma were well-served and could gain new insights. Both younger FA – laboratory assistants and lecturers -professors took part at the practical sessions.

Friday, the above listed lecturing team was joined by local forensic specialists: Prof. Hrvoje Brkić, Prof. Dragan Primorac, Prof. Mario Šlaus from Croatia, as well as Assoc. Prof. Tomaž Zupanc and Prof. Irena Zupanič-Pajnič from Slovenia who introduced the participants to the identification work conducted in their respective countries. The emphasis was especially on the role of forensic genetics and forensic odontology in the identification process. Both Croatian and Slovenian recent history, marked by great losses of human lives and the consequent uncontrolled emerging of mass graves pertaining to the 1991-1995 Croatian War (Croatia) and the WWII and post-war period (Croatia, Slovenia), created a wealth of experience in the management of mass casualties and techniques of forensic identification. The presentations also allowed for comparison of different working habits and techniques between countries, and emphasized the practical value of forensic anthropology.

FASE Advanced Course on PMI and FASE SYMPOSIUM HEIDELBERG- Germany (26th June – 28th Sept2013)

From 26th to 28th September 2013, the beautiful city of Heidelberg, Germany served as a stunning background for the FASE Advanced Course and the FASE symposium, by which FASE celebrated its 10th anniversary.  
This year’s course was dedicated to post-mortem interval and was organized with support of Frank Ramsthaler and the Institute of Traffic and Legal Medicine, University of Heidelberg  that provided the space for the two events and arranged the schedule and the lectures for the PMI advanced course. The course brought together participants of different professional backgrounds (forensic anthropologists, archaeologists, and anthropologists) from 21 different countries. It lasted two days and included a visit to the Mannheim Radiocarbon Laboratory. 

The course covered a very important subject, essential to any forensic death investigation and aimed to offer a multidisciplinary view on the topic, covering the pathological, archaeological and anthropological way of approaching the PMI assessment problem. The topics presented during the two days did not cohere perfectly – while the first day focused specifically on the subject of the course, the second day covered a much more varied range of topics, some of them not related directly to the main aims of the course. 
During the first day, the participants were able to attend the presentations of E. Baccino and S. Potente who discussed on different methods of PMI estimation in an early post-mortem period offering new insights on the problem and their personal experience. While these two lectures were for sure interesting for all the participants, they were more related to the medico-legal practice than forensic anthropology practice which deals with skeletal or decomposed remains at best. The presentations that followed, one by J. Amendt on forensic entomology and the lectures held at the Isotope Laboratory in Mannheim by B. Kromer, N. Lynnerup on radiocarbon testing, studies and caseworks and M. Verhoff on morphological and chemical techniques used in PMI estimation on bone were much more related to forensic anthropology practice at medical examiner’s offices. Herein we would like to express our appreciation to Bernd Kromer and his team, not only for lecturing at the course, but also for offering to the participants a guided tour throughout the noteworthy Mannheim Laboratory. The lectures of the second day moved away from the main goal of the course, but still managed to catch the attention of the participants. The lectures covered the topics on archaeology practice, field methods, documentation and modern archaeology and were offered by P. Held and H. Meller.
To summarise, the course was interesting and well accepted, yet with some shortcomings. The problems noted during the course will for sure serve as an admonition for the forthcoming FASE courses and workshops organizers. We thank all the participants of the course, especially those who took time to answer to our course evaluation survey and point out all the pros and cons of the advanced course.

The symposium, held on the 28th September, was a perfect occasion to celebrate the 10th FASE anniversary. The symposium offered a one-day program of oral and poster presentations.  The beautiful anatomical theatre of the Heidelberg University served as an unconventional location for the symposium, charming but still suitable for the event.

The opening session started with a short presentation on the FASE 10 year activity by Eugenia Cunha and Cristina Cattaneo, which focused on the milestones of FASE development since 2003.The opening session was enriched by the lecture given by Dr. Bradley Adams, D-ABFA on the forensic anthropology practice at the New York City’s Office of the Chief Medical Examiner. The presentation of real-life experience, followed by presentation of case studies was very attractive for the participants. In his lecture, Dr. Adams presented the general organization of the Unit, which brings together the largest number of anthropologists outside of the US Department of Defense, as well as the every-day problems and cases that a forensic anthropologist faces in a medico-legal setting of such a huge city as New York.  Dr. Adams knew how to catch the attention of the participants, and presented the outstanding work that is being conducted in NY Chief Medical Examiner Office, especially the one associated with the identification process of the victims of the 9/11 tragedy. This was a great opportunity for the attendees of the symposium to get acquainted with the practical aspects of forensic anthropology as well with the professional reality of US colleagues which is quite different from the European one.  Dr. Adams took the opportunity to invite all the interested participants to apply for the Visiting Scientist program at the NY Chief Medical Examiner Office which allows the fellows to immerse themselves in the daily routine of the OCME-NY Anthropological Unit  for one month (more information available at http://www.nyc.gov/html/ocme/html/anthro/anthropology.shtml).

After the invited lecture, the formal poster and oral presentation program of the symposium started. The Symposium brought together presenters from 21 countries with 19 oral and 10 poster presentations. The presentations were divided in four different sessions and covered a variety of topics. Most of the presentations were case reports (10/29), while others focused on biological profile (8/29), taphonomy (6/29), identification (2/29), PMI and dating (2/29) and forensic anthropology accreditation (1/29). It is noteworthy to see an increase in forensic anthropology case reports that showcase the implementation of forensic anthropology in medico-legal practice and not only in academic circles.


From 30 June to 4 July 2012 FASE organised the 40-hour workshop in forensic anthropology in Istanbul (Turkey). The workshop took place immediately before the 22nd Congress of the International Association of Legal Medicine (IALM), giving the participants the opportunity to combine these two events. 
As in the previous years, the workshop was well attended, with 26 participants from 8 countries. The majority of participants came from France and Turkey, but there were several participants from non-European countries, such as UAE, Saudi Arabia and Indonesia. Slovenia, Romania and Russia were also represented. 
The participants came from diverse backgrounds, including physical anthropology, archaeology and forensic pathology. 
The workshop has been designed to provide not only theoretical lectures about topics, such as biological profile, time since death, personal identification and cause and manner of death, but also practical sessions related to these topics. 

The lecturers this year were Prof. Douglas Ubelaker (USA), Prof. Eugénia Cunha (Portugal), Prof. Cristina Cattaneo (Italy), Prof. Eric Baccino (France), Assoc. Prof. Yalçin Büyük (Turkey), Dr. Laurent Martrille (France), and Dr. Zuzana Obertová (Slovakia).

The forensic anthropology laboratory of Adli Tip Kurumu (The Council of Forensic Medicine) has been very well equipped and provided an authentic environment for analysis of skeletal remains.  The participants benefited from the possibility to work with skeletons from known forensic cases so they could directly test their theoretical knowledge acquired from the lectures. The lecturers were present during the practical sessions in order to explain specific details related to the cases and also to answer any questions from the participants. 

One of the practical sessions included a demonstration of a facial reconstruction technique by Dr. A. Sadi Çağdır. Some students had the possibility to attempt facial reconstructions of their own based on Dr. Çağdır’s instructions.

On the last day, the participants took a knowledge quiz so they could evaluate what they had learned. The workshop was closed by Prof. Cunha, who handed out Certificates of Attendance to the participants.

Thanks to the wonderful organisation by Dr. Büyük and his staff, as well as the enthusiastic participants and lecturers, the FASE workshop was once again a success and we look forward to the next basic workshop in 2014.

FASE at the 19th IAFS Meeting, MADEIRA – Portugal (September 2011)

The Triennial IAFS Meeting was organized in Madeira, Portugal in September 2011. Simultaneously, the venue hosted also the 9th Triennial Meeting of World   Police Medical Officers and the 5th Meeting of the Mediterranean Academy of Forensic Sciences. More than 1 700 participants from 109 different countries attended these three meetings.
FASE acted as one of the scientific sponsors of the meeting. FASE activities during the meeting included the organization of the workshop in Facial reconstruction and the Scientific Session of the Society dedicated to new developments in forensic anthropology. The Scientific Session included three invited lectures.

Douglas Ubelaker presented new methods in estimating time since death and species determination; Gerald Quatrehomme focused on forensic bone trauma analysis; and Ann Ross discussed the advantages of 3D geometric morphometrics and ID classification of crania for forensic scientists.

In addition, during the session the presentation entitled ‘International Certification in Forensic Anthropology: The next step’ by Ross A., Cattaneo C., Martrille L., Baccino E., Kimmerle E., Baraybar J. P., Ubelaker D. and Cunha E. was presented. It provoked a heated discussion, in which several conflicting opinions were raised. As a consequence, FASE decided to postpone the launch of the certification and give one more opportunity to discuss the initiative at the next FASE assembly in Istanbul in July 2012.


During the 19th IAFS Meeting, FASE organized also an one-day workshop dedicated to facial reconstruction in forensic context. The lectures were given by two renowned specialists: Douglas Ubelaker and Caroline Wilkinson. The participants of the workshop learned about the main concepts and techniques of facial reconstruction and about its application in forensic investigations. Practical exercises and case-solving were offered to the participants, enabling better understanding of the possibilities and limitations of the method.

From the pen of the attendees:

“The Facial Reconstruction Workshop was presented by Douglas Ubelaker and Caroline Wilkinson. Douglas Ubelaker gave an introduction about facial reconstruction by explaining the origins of this technique, its earliest applications and the different methodologies used, including case studies. Caroline Wilkinson explained how facial features can be predicted from skeletal morphology. She mentioned in particular the position and protrusion of the eyeball, eyelid and eyebrow forms, nasal profile, nasal tip shape, mouth width, lip thickness and ears. After the theoretical session, several cranial photos were distributed to attendees and a prediction and description of the
facial features was attempted in pairs and then discussed with others. Finally, various cranial photos had to be matched with corresponding faces. Following the practical exercise questions were raised about the accuracy and reliability of the facial reconstruction. Caroline Wilkinson concluded by talking about recent technological advances and how they can be used for craniofacial reconstructions. The workshop ended with more case studies on facial reconstruction from Douglas Ubelaker.

by Elena Ruiz Mediavilla, Escuela de Medicina Legal, Universidad Complutense de Madrid, Spain