A group of forensic archaeology students will be spending the next few weeks uncovering a mystery that lies beneath a pair of shallow graves in a wooded area in Bath Township.
It's a crime scene -- but it's not what you think. It's not real.
Everything has been set up -- including the remains of two pigs purchased from a local butcher. The animals were buried about a year ago in shallow graves in a wooded area staged as a mock crime scene.
"One of the reasons we developed this is it gives [students] practice mapping something very complicated," said KSU Assistant Anthropology Professor Dr. Linda Spurlock.
Archaeologist and UA professor Linda Whitman is one of the instructors in the three-week course designed to introduce students to forensic work and hands-on experience in the field.
"We take the bones back to the lab where they get washed and reconstructed and they look for the manner and cause of death," said Whitman.
While the story behind the pig's death is made up, the process is real -- including the smell left behind as students slowly uncover the decomposing fat, bones and clothing.
"This is what I like to do. I like to dig up bones," said UA Anthropology student Paige Dobbins. "It's kind of exciting to go from learning about it in the classroom to actually getting to dig to it."
Although it may appear to have some of the same qualities as a recent episode of Law and Order, there are still plenty of differences when compared to the real-life, forensic process.
"It's not quite as sexy as it is on television," said Dobbins. "It's a lot of dirt and decomposed fat."