Event Details

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How Dogs Can Be Useful: When and Why to Use Canines in Your Fieldwork [Foundational Skills]

When: December 05, 2023 3:00-4:00 PM ET

Duration: 1 hour

Certification: RPA-Certified


Individual Registration: Free to SAA members; $69 for non-members

Group Registration: Free to SAA members; $89 for non-members

Paul S. Martin, RPA, Martin Archaeology Consulting, LLC

Working a cold case investigation as a human remains detection canine handler I didn't know that my life was going to be changed forever. From that case I was introduced to archaeology and the greater world of anthropology, and that it would be the archaeologists looking at me, a dumb canine handler for answers that I didn't have. This put me on the pursuit of knowledge with questions being answered by anthropologists, archaeologists, research chemists, and more. At the same time, I was learning and being mentored by archaeologists and anthropologist while exploring the feasibility of utilizing dogs as a survey tool for historic and precontact remains. This pursuit of knowledge, my own questions, and work pushed me to return to school where I was able to also begin partnering the work of the dogs with shallow surface geophysical surveys. From there I have been able to work on a variety of projects across the world that have partnered both dogs and geophysics as part of the survey process to help direct excavations to either
enhance or prevent excavation of human remains.

Participants will be introduced to the growing survey method of archaeological or historical human remains detection dogs (AHRDD) and what makes them different when compared to the volunteer search and rescue human remains detection dog (SAR-HRDD) team. When to utilize canine resources during a project, what factors may impact their efficacy, and how to quantify/qualify the results.

  1. Participants will learn more about suitable canine teams for archaeological surveys.
  2. Participants will learn when or when not to include canines in a survey.
  3. Participants will learn how to quantify/qualify the results of the canine survey.