Human Skeletal Remains: Identification of Individuals

  • Soren BlauEmail author
  • Luis Fondebrider
Living reference work entry

Identification Defined

Identification is defined as the act of establishing an identity that makes an entity definable and recognizable (Black 2007; see also Latham et al. 2017; Mallett et al. 2014). While identification may be important in cases involving the living (e.g., Black et al. 2010; Blau et al. 2006: 387), in archaeological and forensic cases, identification involves attributing a correct name to human remains. There are various circumstances where there may be a requirement to establish the identity of a deceased individual: following an unexplained natural death, homicide, suicide, or accident; in cases of death following political, ethnic, or religious violence; and mass disaster incidents. The attempted identification of historic figures has also been pursued (Blau et al. 2014; Bogdanowicza et al. 2009; Clark 2011; Stone et al. 2001).

While the cause and manner of death can be determined independently of identification, the absence of the name of the deceased person means...

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Copyright information

© Springer International Publishing AG 2018

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.Department of Forensic MedicineVictorian Institute of Forensic Medicine, Monash UniversityMelbourneAustralia
  2. 2.The Argentine Forensic Anthropology Team (Equipo Argentino de Antropologı’a Forense, EAAF)Buenos AiresArgentina

Section editors and affiliations

  • Soren Blau
    • 1
  • Luis Fondebrider
    • 2
  • Douglas H. Ubelaker
    • 3
  1. 1.Department of Forensic MedicineVictorian Institute of Forensic Medicine / Monash UniversityMelbourneAustralia
  2. 2.The Argentine Forensic Anthropology Team (Equipo Argentino de Antropología Forense, EAAF)Buenos AiresArgentina
  3. 3.National Museum of Natural HistorySmithsonian InstitutionWashingtonUSA