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date: 21 September 2019

Abstract and Keywords

Since World War II, there has been a growing emphasis on exhumation and the scientific examination of human remains in the investigation of human rights abuses and civilian death during terror or conflict. In addition to the capacity of exhumation to substantiate a crime, and the evidential value of the bodies and objects recovered during an investigation, it is equally important to consider the political and symbolic potency of exhumation, and the emotional significance of the recovery of the dead for their families and communities. Exhumations may elicit shock, horror, empathy, and strong imaginative associations in those who witness exposed human remains. This chapter highlights some of the ethical, political, and theoretical challenges inherent in the application of archaeological techniques to the investigation of traumatic and violent events in the recent past.

Keywords: forensic archaeology, exhumation, human rights, conflict

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