Constanze Schattke Natural History Museum Vienna/University of Vienna

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Fernanda Olivares Fundación Hach Saye

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Hema'ny Molina Fundación Hach Saye

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Lumila Menéndez University of Vienna/University of Bonn

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Sabine Eggers Natural History Museum Vienna/University of Vienna

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Osteobiographical re-individualisation of the Selk'nam human remains at the Natural History Museum Vienna

Osteological collections are key sources of information in providing crucial insight into the lifestyles of past populations. In this article, we conduct an osteobiographical assessment of the human remains of fourteen Selk'nam individuals, which are now housed in the Department of Anthropology, Natural History Museum Vienna, Austria. The aim is to bring these individuals closer to their communities of origin by using non-invasive methods aimed at rebuilding their biological profiles (i.e., age-at-death, biological sex and health status), adding to these with results from provenance research. This way, the human remains were assigned a new identity closer to their original one, through a process that we call ‘re-individualisation’. This is especially significant since it must be assumed that the individuals were exhumed against their cultural belief system. We conclude that building strong and long-lasting collaborations between Indigenous representatives and biological anthropologists has a pivotal role in research for reappraising Indigenous history.

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