ANU anthropologists help identify fallen soldiers


I have worked with human remains for many
years now. The skills that I use for reconstructing the
life ways of ancient people, those techniques and skills are applicable to the location,
recovery and identification of Australian service people who have lost their lives in
various conflicts. The main thing we do with this work is we are creating
a biological profile from the remains that we find and then we use the records, the medical
records, of the soldiers of the time to try to match those remains to the soldiers and
try to get a positive identification. For me it’s obviously being able to find and
identify and repatriate Australians is the ultimate goal, but it’s also enormously satisfying
to be able to do that with respect to other soldiers who were involved in that conflict,
even if they had been enemies of Australia at the time. I believe everyone deserves an identity,
it doesn’t matter who they are and these are young people who have gone away to try to
fight for their country and they have never come home and their family also needs be able
to have that sort of resolution, that this is their relative be it however long ago but
it is sort of more than that in a way for that soldier themselves, to regain their identity
and to be recognised for their sacrifice they made. ANZAC Day is a day to reflect, a special time
to sit back and think about those sacrifices and to also think about the fact that you
can make some small contribution to the greater effort I guess.

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