Overriding politics and injustices

In October 2011, twenty skulls of the Herero and Nama people were repatriated from Germany to Namibia. So far, fifty-five skulls and two human skeletons have been repatriated to Namibia and preparations for the return of more skulls from Germany were at an advanced stage at the time of writing this article. Nonetheless, the skulls and skeletons that were returned from Germany in the past have been disappointingly laden with complexities and politics, to such an extent that they have not yet been handed over to their respective communities for mourning and burials. In this context, this article seeks to investigate the practice of ‘anonymising’ the presence of human remains in society by exploring the art and politics of the Namibian state’s memory production and sanctioning in enforcing restrictions on the affected communities not to perform, as they wish, their cultural and ritual practices for the remains of their ancestors.

Human Remains and Violence: An Interdisciplinary Journal
Results of the Charité Human Remains Project

From 2010 to 2013 the Charité Human Remains Project researched the provenance of the remains of fifty-seven men and women from the then colony of German South West Africa. They were collected during German colonial rule, especially but not only during the colonial war 1904–8. The remains were identified in anthropological collections of academic institutions in Berlin. The article describes the history of these collections, the aims, methods and interdisciplinary format of provenance research as well as its results and finally the restitutions of the remains to Namibia in 2011 and 2014.

Human Remains and Violence: An Interdisciplinary Journal

The Khmer Rouge forbade the conduct of any funeral rites at the time of the death of the estimated two million people who perished during their rule (1975–79). Since then, however, memorials have been erected and commemorative ceremonies performed, both public and private, especially at former execution sites, known widely as the killing fields. The physical remains themselves, as well as images of skulls and the haunting photographs of prisoners destined for execution, have come to serve as iconic representations of that tragic period in Cambodian history and have been deployed in contested interpretations of the regime and its overthrow.

Human Remains and Violence: An Interdisciplinary Journal

In contemporary forensic medicine, in India, the label of complete autopsy applies to a whole range of post-mortem examinations which can present consid- erable differences in view of the intellectual resources, time, personnel and material means they involve. From various sources available in India and elsewhere, stems the idea that, whatever the type of case and its apparent obviousness, a complete autopsy implies opening the abdomen, the thorax and the skull and dissecting the organs they contain. Since the nineteenth century, procedural approaches of complete autopsies have competed with a practical sense of completeness which requires doctors to think their cases according to their history. Relying on two case studies observed in the frame of an ethnographic study of eleven months in medical colleges of North India, the article suggests that the practical completeness of autopsies is attained when all aspects of the history of the case are made sense of with regard to the observation of the body. Whereas certain autopsies are considered obvious and imply a reduced amount of time in the autopsy room, certain others imply successive redefinitions of what complete implies and the realisation of certain actions which would not have been performed otherwise.

Human Remains and Violence: An Interdisciplinary Journal
The victims' struggle for recognition and recurring genocide memories in Namibia

children, had been killed by the time the violence ended. This scenario may assert the event as the first genocide of the twentieth century.2 It is also felt that the mass murder of Herero and Nama civilians, with impunity and in defiance of European martial codes, corroded German military morality and set the scene for even more extreme crimes by Hitler in Eastern Europe in the 1940s.3 While the campaign to annihilate the population of the Herero and Nama communities was ongoing, hundreds of human remains  –​especially skulls –​of the victims were collected and packaged

in Human remains in society

9 Beyond the witch trials Counter-witchcraft and popular magic The archaeology of counter-witchcraft and popular magic Brian Hoggard One aspect of the study of witchcraft and magic, which has not yet been absorbed into the main stream of literature on the subject, is the archaeological record of the subject. Objects such as witch-bottles, dried cats, horse skulls, shoes, written charms and numerous other items have been discovered concealed inside houses in significant quantities from the early modern period until well into the twentieth century. The locations

in Beyond the witch trials
Rumours of bones and the remembrance of an exterminated people in Newfoundland - the emotive immateriality of human remains

wilderness and so brought into the public sphere. This might be for the purpose of putting on display, or perhaps to be made available to anthropological or anatomical research. Invariably, given the dark allure of the history of extermination, these bones have been valued as a curious relic of an extinct people. The most famous of these ‘unearthings’ is the looting of the grave of Demasduit (she from whom the Reverend Leigh learned the word Beothuk) and her murdered husband Nonosabasut, whose skulls were taken by William Epps Cormack in 1828 and subsequently transported

in Human remains in society
Open Access (free)
How grave robbers, activists, and foreigners ended official silence about Stalin’s mass graves near Kiev

3 Bykivnia: how grave robbers, activists, and foreigners ended official silence about Stalin’s mass graves near Kiev Karel C. Berkhoff The story of Bykivnia is one of boundless mass murder by Stalin’s People’s Commissariat of Internal Affairs, or NKVD, against Soviet and Polish citizens, but also the depressing tale of how, for seven post-war decades, Soviet and post-Soviet authorities attempted to relegate the killing site to oblivion, how boys and men mangled and looted the skulls and bones for years, and how even after the official veil of silence and deceit

in Human remains and identification
Open Access (free)
A war of extermination, grave looting, and culture wars in the American West

harvested far more corpses than they could ever study. Tens of thousands of Native dead were stashed in boxes, cellars, and personal collections, only to be resurrected for display in cabinets of curiosities, museums, schools, and international expositions. In California, a skull collected on Santa Rosa Island was included in the US exhibition at the Columbian Historical Exposition in Madrid in 1892. In the 1920s and 1930s, Ralph Glidden, a self-styled archaeologist, filled and decorated the Catalina Museum of Island Indians with hundreds of crania and bones taken from

in Human remains and identification

seems partly inspired by the real-life Alfred Cort Haddon (1855–1940). As David McConnell explains in the programme notes, Haddon, a graduate from Cambridge University, was appointed Professor of Zoology at the Royal College of Sciences in Dublin in 1880: ‘A follower of Galton he became interested in distinguishing races and sub-races by measuring the shapes of skulls (craniology), and in relating these physical qualities to behaviour’.34 The Gallery Press edition of the playscript features both an extract from ‘Studies in Irish Craniology: The Aran Islands, Co Galway

in Irish literature since 1990