Smell a corpse, not smell like one, Arbuthnot.
B.C.’s own Heather Pringle has a new blog these days, and her recent post on the use of forensic dogs to detect archaeological sites and human remains in particular, in Washington State, is worth a read:
According to the staff at the Institute for Canine Forensics, dogs can smell human remains that are buried as much as nine feet below the surface. And they can detect remains as old as 2000 years. ”Human remains have a scent that never, ever goes away, especially a bone, even after it dries out,” one of the institute’s staff members told The Peninsula Daily News.
From PacificID's Dog Burial Field Guide.
Dogs are such an important source of evidence for past human life. Not just as “man’s best friend” and all that but because of the insight they give into domestication, into evolutionary processes, as proxies for stable isotope studies of human diet, and so forth. So, pretty great to see PacificID is putting out a field guide to dog burials and in situ dog remains in archaeology, complete with snazzy laminated ID card. The book itself is also printed on waterproof paper. There are also downloadable diagrams (PDF) for recording dog burials. The author, Dr. Susan Crockford, is an authority on the evolution of dogs and other domestication and evolution issues, and on dog osteology. This looks like excellent value for money.