Programmheft 2014 - page 16

Akademie Leysin
Arbeitsgruppe 1
“Reconstructing the Past” – The Study of Human
Remains in Archaeology and Forensic Practice
Dr. Lars T. Kuhn
European Neuroscience Institute, Göttingen
Dr. Nicholas Márquez-Grant
School of Anthropology and Museum Ethnography,
University of Oxford
Students originating from many different scientific backgrounds,
e.g. history, archaeology, medicine, chemistry, and political
science, are eligible to apply
Human remains constitute a key source of information to learn about our past as their
study allows to reflect on the socio-cultural context of a particular period. In archaeo-
logy, the examination of human bones has helped to better understand the origins of
the human species as it provides evidence of human ancestry. In a medico-legal context,
whether for a criminal inquiry or in the framework of a human rights investigation, foren-
sic anthropology aims to examine the human skeleton to identify the victim, reconstruct
the events surrounding death, and to observe signs of its cause.
Within this scope, we aim to raise awareness for the work of a forensic anthropologist and
to explore how the analysis of human remains assists in reconstructing the living condi-
tions of past populations. Also, the simultaneous application of forensic ecology and ar-
chaeo-anthropological techniques will be introduced and their role in aiding the process
of victim identification and crime scene investigation evaluated. Aspects to be covered in-
clude dietary reconstruction of skeletal remains, forensic genetics, crime scene investigati-
on, palaeodemography, biological profiling, ethics and human remains, and palaeopatho-
logy, i.e. the study of disease and its evolution. In addition, we will critically assess the role
of a forensic anthropologist in the post-genomic era.
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