Modern Myths of Biological Constants: Sex and Race in Body Identification


Megan Fuller

Date of Award


Degree Type

Archival Copy

First Advisor

Ben Alberti


The history of body identification is filled with practices that are now understood to be superstitious and irrational, based on the beliefs commonly held at the time. Today our modern perceptions of sex and race, developed by our social world, still impact what significance professionals in the fields of archaeology and forensic anthropology give to the dead, which can lead to very unscientific assumptions about who and what these people were. In many ways these prejudices have no place in academia and only serve to hinder the advancement of learning, but in others they bear a significance that cannot be overlooked: how can remains be respected without cultural attachments, and with what person or people should the responsibility lie? In some instances, to ignore cultural significance is to ignore the inherent humanity in how we view our dead.

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