Magdalena Figueredo and Fabiana Larrobla

Between 1975 and 1979, thirty-one unidentified bodies bearing marks of torture appeared at various locations along Uruguays coastline. These bodies were material proof of the death flights implemented in neighbouring Argentina after the military coup. In Uruguay, in a general context of political crisis, the appearance of these anonymous cadavers first generated local terror and was then rapidly transformed into a traumatic event at the national level. This article focuses on the various reports established by Uruguayan police and mortuary services. It aims to show how,the administrative and funeral treatments given at that time to the dead bodies, buried anonymously (under the NN label) in local cemeteries, make visible some of the multiple complicities between the Uruguayan and Argentinean dictatorships in the broader framework of the Condor Plan. The repressive strategy implemented in Argentina through torture and forced disappearance was indeed echoed by the bureaucratic repressive strategy implemented in Uruguay through incomplete and false reports, aiming to make the NN disappear once again.

Human Remains and Violence: An Interdisciplinary Journal
Andrea M. Szkil

The subject of forensic specialist‘s work with human remains in the aftermath of conflict has remained largely unexplored within the existing literature. Drawing upon anthropological fieldwork conducted from 2009–10 in three mortuary facilities overseen by the International Commission on Missing Persons (ICMP) in Bosnia and Herzegovina (BiH), this article analyses observations of and interviews with ICMP forensic specialists as a means of gaining insight into their experiences with the remains of people who went missing during the 1992–95 war in BiH. The article specifically focuses on how forensic specialists construct and maintain their professional identities within an emotionally charged situation. Through analysing forensic specialists encounters with human remains, it is argued that maintaining a professional identity requires ICMP forensic specialists to navigate between emotional attachment and engagement according to each situation.

Human Remains and Violence: An Interdisciplinary Journal
Burials, body parts and bones in the earlier Upper Palaeolithic
Erik Trinkaus, Sandra Sázelová and Jiří Svoboda

The rich earlier Mid Upper Palaeolithic (Pavlovian) sites of Dolní Vĕstonice I and II and Pavlov I (∼32,000–∼30,000 cal BP) in southern Moravia (Czech Republic) have yielded a series of human burials, isolated pairs of extremities and isolated bones and teeth. The burials occurred within and adjacent to the remains of structures (‘huts’), among domestic debris. Two of them were adjacent to mammoth bone dumps, but none of them was directly associated with areas of apparent discard (or garbage). The isolated pairs and bones/teeth were haphazardly scattered through the occupation areas, many of them mixed with the small to medium-sized faunal remains, from which many were identified post-excavation. It is therefore difficult to establish a pattern of disposal of the human remains with respect to the abundant evidence for site structure at these Upper Palaeolithic sites. At the same time, each form of human preservation raises questions about the differential mortuary behaviours, and hence social dynamics, of these foraging populations and how we interpret them through an archaeological lens.

Human Remains and Violence: An Interdisciplinary Journal
Open Access (free)
Jenny Edkins

category one of the relevant sentencing guidelines, both higher culpability and greater harm have to be demonstrated.53 During the trial, police said that the body had not yet been formally identified. According to the prosecutor, ‘It appears as if that individual might have been someone that jumped from the tower and had not survived and was waiting to be moved to the coroner’s mortuary.’54 The report in the Independent noted that one man had told the BBC that the picture was of his brother, and that the trial ‘comes as the community continue to demand answers from the

in Change and the politics of certainty
Open Access (free)
Theoretical approaches
Finn Stepputat

key elements of culture that supposedly surface in mortuary ritual, and partly for the sake of developing more general theories of ritual, culture, society and power. This section will look at ways in which anthropologists and others have interpreted the ritualisation of death as linked to power and sovereignty. Common to these interpretations is the idea that the qualities of the dead body – the process of its immanent decay and its ambiguous being both subject and object, pure and impure, sacred and profane – endow the ritual with its symbolic power and political

in Governing the dead
Open Access (free)
The bodyand counter-revolutionary warfare inapartheid South Africa
Nicky Rousseau

: after the crime scene had been marked out, photographed, and sketched, and, where possible, fingerprints taken, the body would be removed to the nearest police mortuary. Mortuary records tell their own story of unnatural and violent death of Africans under apartheid. In one region’s records, listings for the bodies resulting from counter-revolutionary warfare opera­ tions interrupt the columns of numerous stillborn and infant deaths, homicides, winter deaths of the elderly, suicides, and un­ timely deaths in motor vehicle or mining accidents. In almost all cases, the

in Destruction and human remains
Missing persons and colonial skeletons in South Africa
Nicky Rousseau

skirmishes or ambushes were not secretly buried, but entered the legal regimes of the dead body. Accordingly, as is obligatory with unnatural or violent deaths, these bodies were assigned to a police domain. Photographed, fingerprinted, and transported to a police mortuary, the corpse would be recorded in a mortuary register as ‘unknown black male’ or ‘unknown terrorist’, and a state pathologist or state-appointed district surgeon would conduct a post-mortem examination. In many instances, even where identity had been established, these ‘unknown’ bodies were not released

in Human remains and identification
Open Access (free)
Negotiating sovereign claims in Oaxacan post-mortem repatriation
Lars Ove Trans

that Jacinto was declared dead, about forty-five relatives and fellow villagers showed up in the apartment of Jacinto and Norma for the first of nine consecutive evenings of rosaries (novenario) – a sequence of Travelling corpses 79 prayers – for the deceased. Normally, the novenario would begin on the day of the burial, but since the interment would be postponed a considerable time because of the transportation, it was decided that the saying of the rosary should begin that evening. Two days after the last rosary, the family held a wake (velorio) in the mortuary

in Governing the dead
The permeable clusters of Hanna Rydh
Elisabeth Arwill-Nordbladh

: 11). While investigating the painted design of the pottery, Andersson found it ‘evident that many of the painted designs were magic symbols’ (Andersson, 1929a: 26), linked to folk religion and similar perspectives. The range of these approaches urged Andersson to seek collaboration with other researchers, among them Hanna Rydh (Andersson, 1929a: 27). The point of departure for Hanna’s first article, ‘On Symbolism in Mortuary Ceramics’ (Rydh, 1929a), was Andersson’s own observation that the particular ornamentation of Neolithic black-painted Gansu pottery was always

in Communities and knowledge production in archaeology
Challenges and technological solutions to the ­identification of individuals in mass grave scenarios in the modern context
Gillian Fowler and Tim Thompson

study from Roman era tombs in Greece’, in Adams & Byrd (eds), Recovery, Analysis, and Identification, pp. 97–122. Djuric et al., ‘Identification of victims’. Ibid. R. Ferllini, R., ‘Forensic anthropological interventions: challenges in the field and at mortuary’, in Ferllini (ed.), Forensic Archaeology and Human Rights Violations, pp. 122–47. Ibid. Ibid. A. Mundorff, R. Shaler, E. Bieschke & E. Mar-Cash, ‘Marrying anthropology and DNA: essential for solving complex commingling problems in cases of extreme fragmentation’, in Adams & Byrd (eds), Recovery, Analysis, and

in Human remains and identification