University of Cambridge > > Biological Anthropology Seminar Series > Anthropology, mass graves and the politics of the dead

Anthropology, mass graves and the politics of the dead

Add to your list(s) Download to your calendar using vCal

If you have a question about this talk, please contact Michael Rivera.

In the past few decades, anthropologists, among other experts, have been called to assist in the investigation of mass graves by conducting exhumations, anthropological examinations and identifications of human skeletal remains. The reasons for this choice of specialists are several: anthropologists are trained in methods of grave location, archaeological excavation and identification by constructing the biological profile of the exhumed remains. In recent years, DNA analyses have been employed to verify the anthropological findings, bringing into the picture yet another scientific specialisation. The use of anthropologists in the investigation of mass graves started in Argentina in the mid-1980s and it has since become common in similar situations. When an international organisation such as the United Nations or even a government decide to investigate a mass grave, this can be for either legal or humanitarian purposes. In the legal context, the focus is to bring those responsible to justice, while in the humanitarian the main goal is to identify the remains and return them to their families for a proper burial according to local customs. The involvement of experts who employ scientific techniques in these investigations, is aimed at providing the objectivity and impartiality required in this context. But are the investigations always objective?

This talk is part of the Biological Anthropology Seminar Series series.

Tell a friend about this talk:

This talk is included in these lists:

Note that ex-directory lists are not shown.


© 2006-2018, University of Cambridge. Contact Us | Help and Documentation | Privacy and Publicity