Professor Sue Black: A life in death…

World-renowned forensic anthropologist Professor Sue Black discusses her career and her new book with Caroline Lindsay, examining the many faces of death and the lessons she has learned from it.

Three human skulls sit on Professor Sue Black’s office shelves, two in profile and one looking directly into the room. While some people might prefer a nice paperweight or other cosy knick-knacks, Sue is entirely at home with the skulls – after all, they represent what she does and who she is.

One of the world’s leading anatomists and forensic anthropologists, Sue has led the award-winning Centre for Anatomy and Human Identification (CAHID) at Dundee University for the last 15 years. Focusing on mortal remains in her lab, at burial sites and scenes of violence and murder, her work has been crucial to many high-profile criminal cases.

In 1999 she was lead anthropologist for the British Forensic Team’s work in the war crimes investigation in Kosovo, and was one of the first forensic scientists to travel to Thailand following the Indian Ocean tsunami of 2004 to provide assistance in identifying the dead.

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Val McDermid