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