Remains of the dead: exploring a human anatomical collection from Brazilian Amazon

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Osteological lesions can be important to positively identify human remains in forensic contexts, as well as contribute to past population studies. However, their analysis requires training and appropriate research conditions, which may be lacking in certain geographic areas as, for example, the northern region of Brazil. Emphasising existing resources, such as anatomical collections, may help to address this issue. This study explores the anatomical collection of Professor Dr. Manuel da Silva Braga of the Federal University of Pará (Brazil), introducing the traumatic lesions identified in seven crania (13.7%; 7/51) of male (four) and female (three) individuals. The sample profile and the cases identified are in accordance with the pattern of violent victims in the region. This study is the first of its kind in the Pará State, contributing with case studies and examples, to the disciplines of biological anthropology, paleopathology, and bioarchaeology and forensic discipline. It also highlights the significance that anatomical collections may have in the development of those disciplines, suggesting a need for reappraisal and reevaluation of existing resources, as these may be of use for training and research. Lastly, this study builds a bridge towards the social and cultural context of the collection, reinforcing the value of an interdisciplinary approach to human remains.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)787-798
Number of pages12
JournalInternational Journal Of Osteoarchaeology
Issue number5
Early online date2015
Publication statusPublished - 2016


  • Anatomical collection
  • Brazil
  • Trauma
  • Violence


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