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 the Department 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.