7 July 2009
Fromelles DIG in doubt

London-based correspondent Poala Totaro has raised serious concerns about the Fromelles dig, claiming the recovery project is in crisis. Rudd and the new Minister for Defence Personnel, Materiél and Science Greg Combet, have denied suggestions that archaeologists were cutting corners and defended Oxford Archaeology, but preceding the latest revelations the public had already been warned the head of Adelaide University’s Centre for Ancient DNA was concerned the prospects of DNA identification might be compromised if inappropriate forensic techniques are employed. The problems reported by Totaro included the jettisoning of hand sieving, heavy rain, silting and the lack of a contingency plan for drainage and toxic groundwater dispersal - all of which obviously affect the extraction process and the quality of results that might be obtained from old, degraded DNA.