In their 1976 book “The File on the Tsar”, Anthony Summers and Tom Mangold challenged Sokolov’s conclusion that, in two days, even with a plentiful supply of gasoline and sulfuric acid, the executioners had been able to destroy “more than half a ton of flesh and bone” and as Ermakov claimed, “pitch (ed) the ashes into the air.”
Professor Francis Camps, a British Home Office forensic pathologist, explained how difficult it was to burn a human body. Fires char bodies, “and the charring itself prevents the rest of the body from being destroyed.” Professional cremation, performed in closed gas fired ovens at temperatures up to two thousand degrees Fahrenheit, can reduce a body to ashes.
But this technique of disposal and the specialized equipment was not available in the Siberian forest in 1918.
As for sulfuric acid, Dr. Edward Rich, an American expert from West Point, advised the authors Summers and Mangold, that with “eleven fully grown and partly-grown bodies …merely pouring acid on them would not do too much damage other than disfigure the surface.”
The most glaring discrepancy in Sokolov’s findings, which both the Home Office and West Point had agreed, was the complete absence of human teeth at the scene, because teeth are virtually indestructible.