Roland studied physics and astronomy in the early 1990s after completing his officer’s training in the German Military Police Force. He then moved on to archaeology, law and soil science at the University of Hamburg, Germany, before moving to Sheffield University, UK, graduating in archaeological sciences in 1998. He then completed his university education with a MSc in forensic archaeology at Bournemouth University, UK. Since then, he has been working as a freelance forensic archaeologist on international atrocity crime investigations in Bosnia, Croatia, Iraq, Cyprus and France as well as working on domestic crime cases in the UK and Germany. Roland regularly participates in delivering short courses in the USA and has done similar projects in Colombia. Most recently, Roland was one of the two Senior Archaeologists of the team that excavated 250 British and Australian Soldiers from WWI in Fromelles, France. For more information, please visit the Commonwealth War Graves Commission website (more information on the project).
Roland is also Director of Operations of the Inforce Foundation.
For a long time, Roland has promoted the importance of forensic radiography in the context of forensic archaeological and anthropological investigations and has recently been made an honorary associate member of IAFR (International Association of Forensic Radiographers).
Roland's main research interests focuses on the automated, quantitative analysis of virtual skeletal remains.
Since a tragic accident in 2011, in which Roland lost his partner Hazel Woodhams through carbon monoxide (CO) poisoning and which left him with lasting injuries, Roland focuses on raising both awareness and funding for research into this topic. So far, he has raised over £300,000 and is running two high profile CO + research projects. Roland also acted as one of four scientific advisers for Baroness Finley for her third report into CO and heads the new CO⁺ Science & Technology group of the 'All Fuels Action Forum on CO'. His aim is to reduce the number of CO poisoning victims through both campaigning and research.
- 'Conservation of Memories of the Genocide' project in Rwanda
- Delivery of training and exercising in disaster victim identification for UK police forces
- Book and article peer reviews
- Work on industry standards in forensic archaeology on a European level as well as in the USA
- Development of a completely new method of Virtual Skeletal Analysis (ViSA)
- Project Coordinator in various Carbon Monoxide (CO) Poisoning Research Projects
- Founder and Chairman of the CO+ Science & Technology group (part of the All Fuels Action Forum on CO)
- Presentation of various talks and posters at the annual American Academy of Forensic Science conference
- United Nations (ICTY, ICC)
- UK Foreign & Commonwealth Office
- UK and German Police Forces
- Commonwealth War Graves Commission (CWGC)
- Oxford Archaeology
- Gas Safety Trust
- House of Lords
Articles In Journals
- Schotsmans EMJ, Wessling R, McClue WA, Wilson AS, Edwards HGM & Denton J (2020) Histology and Raman spectroscopy of limed human remains from the Rwandan Genocide, Journal of Forensic and Legal Medicine, 70 (February) Article No. 101895.
- Nyombi A, Williams MR & Wessling R (2019) Toxic emissions from smouldering combustion of woody biomass and derived char with a case study of CO build-up in an ISO container, Energy Sources Part A Recovery, Utilisation and Environmental Effects, 42 (24) 2990-3007.
- Nyombi A, Williams RM & Wessling R (2019) Reactivity and free radical chemistry of lilac (Syringa vulgaris) charcoal, Energy and Fuels, 33 (2) 1227-1235.
- Nyombi A, Williams MR & Wessling R (2019) Catalytic effects on the nonisothermal oxidation of solid fuels by oxygen: an experimental study, Energy and Fuels, 33 (10) 10307-10316. Dataset/s: 10.1021/acs.energyfuels.9b02514/suppl_file/ef9b02514_si_001.pdf
- Marquez-Grant N, Wessling R, Öfele A & Moore V (2019) Searching for the missing soldier: identifying casualties from the First World War, Mètode Science Studies Journal, 2019 (10).
- Klinkner M & Wessling R (2013) The challenges for capacity building and subsequent impact assessment: The case of mass grave investigation training byInforceat Bournemouth University, Science and Justice, 53 (4) 442-444.
- Wessling R (2017) The influence of operational workflow and mortuary environment on identification: a case study from the WWI Battle of Fromelles. In: New perspectives in forensic human skeletal identification, London, UK: Elsevier, p. 323-332.
- Wessling R (2015) Chapter 50: the inforce foundation. In: Forensic Archaeology: A Global Perspective, Chichester: Wiley, p. 439-451.
- Cox M, Flavel A, Hanson I, Laver J & Wessling RR (2007) The Scientific Investigation of Mass Graves: towards protocols and standard operating procedures. Cambridge University Press, The Edinburgh Building, Shaftesbury Road, Cambridge CB2 8RU.