forensics, journal, university

End of S1

Semester 1 is over. Goodbye, Surprise-4000-Word Assignment and 2000-Word Report on Planning A Project.

The plan I wrote basically involved driving a GPR over a disused cemetery where all the markers are missing (aka a Pioneer Park), then plug that data into computer software and create a rainbow “heat map” where all the old burials are.

You see, GPRs normally produce images called radargrams. Radargrams do not look dissimilar to grey TV static, and require a human interpreter to scrutinise patterns + see if they can detect changes in the masses of grey lines to find subsurface stuff. (Anyone who Google Image searches ‘GPR data’ will see examples of what I mean).

Image from Not far off from an actual GPR pic.

In contrast, below is an example of what a computer-modelled gravesite looks like (Minecraft anyone?):

3D plot of a real Cemetery in Nova Scotia, by Kelly et. al (2021)

Buried objects and people should become harder to miss when they are plotted intuitively like this. So this can be useful for forensic scientists too.

I borrowed the idea for this assignment, and that image, from this paper.

Just before I hit submit, I realised the marking rubric said the project had to span 4 weeks. With no good sense of how long archaeology projects take, I had written a lovely long Timeline that would have allowed project participants to dally around for 3 months getting materials together. Had to rewrite that section quick-ish.

Other things which have been happening:

• I found an old piano going second hand for $250, and have been noodling around on that.

• People at work know I’m enrolled in a certificate in Archaeology. I had only said that I had tagged along with researchers on a study when I took annual leave, but ex-students from the uni put 2+2 together. So it’s not really a secret now. Coworkers are pretty good about it. Only Corporate doesn’t know (yet)

• For the second time in my life, I have submitted an application to med school. This is an old dream. It took 15 minutes and was anticlimactic. Now I’m older and have learnt more things, I am okay with whatever the outcome is. We’ll see what happens.

Hope everyone is healthy, happy and well.


Kelly, T., M. Angel, D. O’Connor, C. Huff, L. Morris. G. and Wach 2021. A novel approach to 3D
modelling ground-penetrating radar (GPR) data – A case study of a cemetery and applications
for criminal investigation. Forensic Science International, (325):1-15.


13 thoughts on “End of S1

  1. Congratulations on having one semester under your belt. Sounds like you have lots of things in motion!! I hope your employer is understanding about your course work… And good luck on your medical school application!

    Liked by 1 person

  2. Congratulations! I feel excited with you on your successful completion of your first semester. You will be an archeologist or a medical doctor. Does an archeologist have to learn all the 206 bones of human body?

    Liked by 1 person

    • Thanks Haoyando! I did spend one short course offered by the Archaeology school learning it last year, it was very fun. It’s useful for people who want to go into forensic archaeology I think, but perhaps not mandatory for all.

      Liked by 1 person

  3. With this GPR technology I can imagine this would be useful in finding where Genghis Khan is buried, which nobody knows last time I checked.

    And congrats with everything you have complete and good luck with your future endeavors. It sounds like you will have an exciting life from here on out.

    Liked by 1 person

    • I didn’t know that about Ghengis, goodness me. Whoever finds him will make waves for sure. Thank you! There is still semester two ☺️ Dreaming is exciting… reality often turns out unexpectedly!

      Liked by 1 person

  4. I wish I had your energy and smarts. Good luck on Med School. My Mom was annoyed when I started putting rejection letters in a scrapbook. But being able to deal with rejection actually helps you accomplish more.

    Liked by 1 person

    • Thanks Geoff! That scrapbook sounds unironically awesome – I heard about one guy who made a project to deliberately get “no” 1000 or 10000 times from random people in public over a year, learnt a great deal, and wrote a book about it (Rejection Proof by Jia Jiang).

      Also, Mr King of horror fiction writing famously nailed all his rejection letters in a block onto his wall as his own encouragement.

      Learning to view “No” as an okay outcome has been a big life lesson!

      Liked by 1 person

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