Psycho-Social Issues in Forensic Archaeology in the Disturbing Past: Does your Research Give you Nightmares?
Authors: Hanson, I.
Journal: Archaeological Review from Cambridge
Is this work archaeologists should undertake? Are they trained to cope with these extreme atrocities? Are their skills suitable? If they cannot do it, then who can? This paper discusses how the theme of ‘the disturbing past’ can apply to the work of forensic archaeologists, who take their professional archaeological expertise and apply it to investigations of crime. In most cases, this involves assisting in recovery of evidence in the form of bodies and artefacts, at levels from domestic homicide to mass murder and genocide. Forensic work means encountering recent death and corruption, talking with living survivors and relatives of the dead, and even receiving threats to the life of the archaeologist. The work involves not the remote past, but, rather, a recent disturbing past that is still part of the present, affecting lives and futures, including those of the archaeologists involved.