Down on the Body Farm: Australia’s First Taphonomic Research Facility
by Anna Denejkina
Written for Popular Science (Australia)
Published in the November 2015 issue.
Yarramundi is 70 kilometres from Sydney’s city center; it feels like a whole new world as the skyscrapers shrink and disappear in the rear-view mirror, and suburbia’s manicured lawns and rows of homes morph into wide, open paddocks, green fields, and farm houses.
It’s eight am on a cold Saturday morning; in big, red letters, a sign reads Cover Your Load, as I drive past a waste management plant.
Turning right onto Springwood Road, the Blue Mountains of New South Wales stand at the horizon, splitting the sky and the green fields below them. And as you cross the little bridge hovering over the Nepean River, the flat fields soon begin to melt into the trees and bush interrupted only by the sparse darting of country homes and their long, dusty driveways.
As an off-road trail begins mirroring Springwood Road, riding parallel to its rough asphalt, an idle convention centre starts creeping in on the left, hugging a bend in the road, the same right bend that peripheries the site of Australia’s first taphonomic research facility, colloquially known as a Body Farm.
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Photographs courtesy of the Forensic Anthropology Center at Texas State.