Profs Matthew Bennett and Marcin Budka have just published the textbook Digital Technology for Forensic Footwear Analysis and Vertebrate Ichnology with Springer.
“There is no branch of detective science which is so important and so much neglected as the art of tracing footsteps.” Sherlock Holmes, Study of Scarlet.
Despite the fictional nature of Sherlock Holmes this statement rings true today. The study of footwear is neglected in modern forensic practice and does have much to offer. What it needs is an injection of technology and associated modern analytical tools. These tools are emerging from the digital revolution currently transforming vertebrate ichnology. Ichnology is the discipline of earth science which focuses on the study of trace fossils such as footprints. This book draws upon both disciplines (geology [ichnology] and forensic science) to show how the two have much to learn from each other especially with regard to the digital capture and analysis of footprints and footwear evidence.
This innovative book which is the culmination of research/innovation funded by the Natural Environment Research Council (NERC) and HEIF provides the practitioner with field and laboratory methods necessary for the collection, analysis and presentation of three-dimensional tracks (footprints) whether from a crime scene or a geological/archaeological excavation. It shows students, researchers and practitioners how to collect and analyse 3D data and take advantage of the digital revolution transforming ichnology. The book forms a natural methods focused complement to the successful text Fossilised Locomotion published by Springer 2014 and written by Professor Bennett.
The book is an illustration of Fusion in action combining professional practice, research and teaching. The team’s work is supported by the Home Office and National Crime Agency as well as several police forces and forensic units throughout the UK. Some of the contents have been co-created with students at BU and the volume will be used in teaching on a range of forensic science programmes at BU.