Abstract: Giving Back Identity to Human Remains: Why Forensic Anthropology is Important

Lecturer: Eugénia Cunha

There are no two skeletons alike. To give back identity to human remains has become a key issue nowadays in society. Also, in the global world, the knowledge of the cause and manner of death are of major importance in solving cases such as crimes against humanity or some violent deaths. Forensic anthropologists play a foremost role in identification of human remains, since they are experts in generating osteobiographies as well as documenting violence on the basis of skeletal remains. The benefits to society are both obvious and worthwhile. Through the presentation of a variety of case studies, including routine cases, crimes against humanity, and mass disasters, the importance of this growing forensic science is shown. Emphasis will be given to an ongoing project  in Africa, called “Memories Preservation”, which is mainly the recovery and identification of the  bodies of  Portuguese soldiers who died during the Colonial War in Africa during the sixties and seventies.

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