John Harries, Linda Fibiger, Joan Smith, Tal Adler, and Anna Szöke
This article will query the ethics of making and displaying photographs of human
remains. In particular, we will focus on the role of photography in constituting
human remains as specimens, and the centrality of the creation and circulation
of photographic images to the work of physical anthropology and bioarchaeology.
This work has increasingly become the object of ethical scrutiny, particularly
in the context of a (post)colonial politics of recognition in which indigenous
people seek to recover dominion over their looted material heritage, including
the remains of their dead. This ethical concern extends to the question of how
and under what circumstances we may display photographs of human remains.
Moreover, this is not just a matter of whether and when we should or should not
show photographs of the remains of the dead. It is a question of how these
images are composed and produced. Our discussion of the ethics of the image is,
therefore, indivisible from a consideration of the socio-technical process by
which the photographic image is produced, circulated and consumed.
Colonialism, grave robbery and intellectual history
Larissa Förster, Dag Henrichsen, Holger Stoecker, and Hans Axasi╪Eichab
In 1885, the Berlin pathologist Rudolf Virchow presented three human skeletons
from the colony of German South West Africa to the Berlin Society for
Anthropology, Ethnology and Prehistory. The remains had been looted from a grave
by a young German scientist, Waldemar Belck, who was a member of the second
Lüderitz expedition and took part in the occupation of colonial
territory. In an attempt to re-individualise and re-humanise these human
remains, which were anonymised in the course of their appropriation by Western
science, the authors consult not only the colonial archive, but also
contemporary oral history in Namibia. This allows for a detailed reconstruction
of the social and political contexts of the deaths of the three men, named
Jacobus Hendrick, Jacobus !Garisib and Oantab, and of Belck’s grave
robbery, for an analysis of how the remains were turned into scientific objects
by German science and institutions, as well as for an establishment of
topographical and genealogical links with the Namibian present. Based on these
findings, claims for the restitution of African human remains from German
institutions cannot any longer be regarded as a contemporary phenomenon only but
must be understood as part of an African tradition of resistance against Western
colonial and scientific practices.
A skeletal collection from 105 burials excavated at the Old Kingdom and Ptolemaic
Period cemetery in Saqqara, Egypt, was investigated for evidence of
ante-mortem fractures of long bones. The collection comprised
57 males, 30 females, 14 unsexed sub-adults, and 4 unsexed mature individuals.
The majority of the skeletons were complete or almost complete, despite the
disturbance caused by tomb looters in antiquity. Fractures were recorded by
bone, side, location, type and state of healing. The prevalence of fractures was
calculated in male and female populations, as well as in individual age groups.
The state of healing of the fractures was examined in order to investigate the
possibility of medical treatment provided. No evidence of fractures was recorded
in subadults. Evidence of single fractures were found in fourteen adults, and a
further five individuals sustained two fractures to different bones of the upper
limb. The frequency of fractures by bone count was the highest among the Middle
and Old Adults. Fractures to the radius (37.5%) and the ulna (33.3%) were the
most common, while no fractures were recorded in the tibia. Angulation, rotation
and shortening were observed among the healed bones.
Interpreting Violence on Healthcare in the Early Stage of the South
Sudanese Civil War
Xavier Crombé and Joanna Kuper
had treated many wounded patients, most of them civilians,
including women and children. Not only were civilians the prime targets of violence,
the authors of the report asserted, but ‘healthcare itself’ had been
‘under attack’: in August 2011, only a few weeks after the
independence ceremony, an MSF-run health facility in Pieri had been looted and burnt
down; over the year that followed, armed groups had again ransacked, damaged or
destroyed three more health structures
and gave it to me. I hit Charles twice with it, he didn’t die, we left him there and launched an attack on Nyoni’s place. Nshimiyimana was leading us.
At Nyoni’s, we found him drinking banana beer from a gourd in front of his place along the road. The soldiers took RWF40,000 from him and then they left. Before they vanished, they told Sendasonga Vincent ‘the rest of the work is up to you’ and Sendasonga stabbed him once with a lance.
We started looting, my part in it was that I was among those involved in this attack. The next day, we went to Gakumba’s and he
How Can Humanitarian Analysis, Early Warning and Response Be
Aditya Sarkar, Benjamin J. Spatz, Alex de Waal, Christopher Newton, and Daniel Maxwell
community knew more about the assets and livelihoods of the target
group and could cause greater harm through looting, stealing and killing
livestock, and attacking food stores and other hidden assets. They were also
able to put those assets (e.g. livestock) to more immediate use ( Newton, forthcoming 2022a ). This
finding also contradicts a commonly held assumption among some humanitarian
analysts that ‘local’ or ‘communal’ forms of
Somalia, while the looting of humanitarian convoys by armed men on the main roads
made regular aid delivery to the IDP (internally displaced person) camps difficult.
Was armed protection necessary to ensure access to vulnerable populations? Five
years later, in 1997, three MdM-Spain volunteers were killed and a fourth wounded in
a targeted attack in Ruhengeri, Northern Rwanda. In Chechnya and the former
Yugoslavia, NGO personnel were being kidnapped or targeted. Those incidents made
The Law and Politics of Responding to Attacks against Aid Workers
Julia Brooks and Rob Grace
-raped several foreign women, singling out Americans and forcing the foreigners to watch. They also carried out mock executions, beat and robbed people and looted the compound. Throughout the attack, those at the compound appealed unsuccessfully for help to the UN peacekeeping force stationed less than a mile away, as well as to the US and other embassies. Eventually, South Sudanese security forces rescued all but three foreign women and around sixteen staff. Reports of the incident first became public only a month later, when several victims spoke with an Associated Press
Over 130 military museums in the United Kingdom preserve the historical collections of British regiments, corps and services (including two naval museums). Their collections contain artefacts acquired by British servicemen in colonial warfare and on imperial garrison duties across the globe. Outside military culture, the phenomenon of collecting in theatres of war is primarily associated with looting. However, those who encountered the British Army in its colonial garrisons and campaigns met with a remarkably heterogeneous enterprise. Drawing from a series of research workshops funded by the Royal Society of Edinburgh and case studies developed with British Academy/Leverhulme, support, the essays in this edited collection will combine the perspectives of anthropologists and historians to test current understandings of military collecting beyond Europe. Dividing the Spoils will variously address motivations and circumstances for collecting and appropriation, the place of collected objects in the context of military organisational culture and the legacy of military collections as material witnesses of encounters between non-European peoples and imperial forces. The book argues for an understanding of these collections within a range of intercultural relationships which embrace diplomacy, alliance, curiosity and enquiry, as well as conflict, expropriation and cultural hegemony.
Between 7 and 9 October 1860, British and French troops looted buildings in the Yuanmingyuan, known by foreigners as the ‘Summer Palace’ (now the Old Summer Palace), to the north of Beijing. Ten days later, British soldiers set fire to the entire site, under the direct orders of the British High Commissioner to China, Lord Elgin (1811–63). The immediate trigger was the torture, in some cases to death, of several dozen prisoners, both British and Indian army troops, by the Chinese. 2 It took two days and over 4,800 men to incinerate the numerous buildings 3