Year of Award


Document Type


Degree Type

Master of Arts (MA)

Degree Name

Anthropology (Forensic Anthropology Option)

Department or School/College


Committee Chair

Randall Skeleton

Commitee Members

Kirsten Mink, Kimber McKay


forensic, skeletal, trauma, Anthropology, violence, forensic anthropology


University of Montana

Subject Categories

Biological and Physical Anthropology


Once known as “Domestic Violence”, Intimate Partner Violence, or IPV, is a problem as old as humanity. Even in our modern era, it continues to plague even the most “enlightened” or “advanced” cultures and societies. Much has been written about the issue from Sociological and psychological aspects and while there is some consensus in the medical field regarding the patterns of injury associated with IPV, that consensus has yet to reach the field of forensic anthropology. It is to this end that this study has been conceived.

The proposed project has three parts. The first part is a validation study of the traditionally accepted skeletal markers associated with the trauma inflicted in instances of Intimate Partner Violence (IPV) focusing on the 2016 McNulty study. The analysis will include differences in patterns of skeletal trauma exhibited between a) males and females, b) ancestral groups and c) instances of IPV, assault by an unknown assailant, and accidental injury. The second aspect of the study is an analysis of what the skeletal data means to forensic investigators such as Anthropologists, Pathologists, Medicolegal Death Investigators, and law enforcement officers. Some discussion is included of hospital protocols and procedures when a patient presents at an emergency department with these trauma patterns. The third aspect of the proposed study is a call for standards in the construction of databases intended to be used as “legacy data” for future researchers as well as more consistent and fluent discussion between medicine and Anthropology.



© Copyright 2019 Keith Biddle