The Language of Forensic Archaeology: Discourses in Field and in Court
Testifying at trial is a linguistic event. Currently forensic archaeological reporting, in whatever guise, assumes that a codified lexicon exists and is accepted within the wider forensic archaeological community. Forensic archaeology has incorporated standard terminology from the conventional discipline. However, nontechnical but familiar words have also been appropriated and are perceived as possessing a similar standing as technical terminology because other forensic archaeologists have come to use them. It has become clear from peer reviews of forensic reports, case examples, and during cross-examination that linguistic diversity exists within the discipline. Moreover, practitioners may not currently possess a full awareness of the reasons that account for and the difficulties created by apparent linguistic diversity across the linguistic genres forensic archaeologists engage with. The following argues for greater standardization of oral and written evidence within forensic archaeology in the UK and USA. It also demonstrates that a greater understanding of the epistemological identity of forensic archaeology would benefit the development of a clear and communally accepted lexicon that seeks to represent all the activities taking place within this field of study.
KeywordsArchaeology Court testimony Forensic discourse Linguistic diversity Communication Performativity
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