Museo de la Memoria & Forensic Anthropology

The region of Huamanga (Ayacucho) was the center of a violent conflict between Sendero Luminoso (Shining Path) and  the Peruvian military in the 1980s to 1990s. Sadly, that conflict led to the death of tens of thousands of peasants and Ayacucho city dwellers, and many of those victim’s bodies are now being recovered by human rights groups staffed with forensic anthropologists. Our bioarchaeology team sometimes confers with those forensic investigations, sharing resources and consulting on cases to identify skeletal trauma.

Mirza Del Castillo and I discussing a case of skeletal trauma (blunt force trauma and a gunshot wound) with Roberto Parra (Peruvian forensic anthropologist) at the morgue in Ayacucho. (The skeleton has been intentionally blurred in this photo.)

Many of the women in Huamanga who lost loved ones have come together to build the Museo de la Memoria (Museum of Memory) para que no se repita (so that these [violent events/injutsices] won’t be repeated (see photo above). My former student Ella Wilhoit wrote her Senior Honor’s Thesis about this museum. She is now an anthropology graduate student at Northwestern.

To read more about the Museo de la Memoria (Museum of Memory) in Ayacucho, see this recent article by Jospeh Feldman.…/85.2.feldman.pdf