A 13th Century Guide to Forensic Anthropology

Names of human bones in Sung Tz’u’s The Washing Away of Wrongs, 1843 edition, edited by Ruǎn Qíxīn. Image from Wikipedia The oldest existing forensic science text is The Washing Away of Wrongs (also known as the Collected Cases of Injustice Rectified, or Hsi yuan chi lu), written around 1247 CE. Sung Tz’u (or Song Ci), who is considered to be the “Founding Father of Forensic Science in China,” wrote this text to help bureaucrats of the Southern Sung Dynasty navigate the complex inquest process, provide instructions on how examine a corpse, and determine cause of death.  This forensic manual predates the earliest European texts on the subject by hundreds of years. By the time The Washing Away of Wrongs was written in the mid-thirteenth century China had already been conducting forensic assessments for violent or suspicious deaths for centuries. Going as far back to at least the Ch’in Dynasty […] Read More