Forensic Archaeology and the Question of Using Geographic Profiling Methods Such as “Winthropping”

  • Sharon K. MosesEmail author


For those in law enforcement, geographic crime scene mapping has historically been a tactic for estimating the location of an offender by calculating his or her base (home, work, or other significant lifestyle habitat) in relationship to their known crime scenes. Theoretically and simplistically put, according to theoretical premise, this base should be centrally located within a patterned crime scene range as plotted on a map. This chapter addresses two key aspects about geographical profiling strategies and their significance to the field of forensic archaeology. First, the basic components of geographic profiling in general and the arguments for and against its efficacy are discussed. Secondly, does this methodology merit development, sometimes referred to as winthropping, for application in forensic archaeology where the objective is essentially the opposite? Rather than locating the offender, the focus is on finding undiscovered clandestine graves, body dumps, or scatters when the offender has either already been identified and associated with specific body disposition sites or the offender is still at-large but his/her behavior has revealed a pattern.


Search Strategies Clandestine Burials Geographic profiling Winthropping 


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© Springer Nature Switzerland AG 2019

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.Northern Arizona UniversityFlagstaffUSA

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