Hedley Malloch Posted 3 December , 2002 Share Posted 3 December , 2002 There are three good pieces in the current edition of Archaeology on the work of the US Army's Central Identification Laboratory, Hawaii (CILHI). This is the unit of the US army whose remit is the bodies of nearly 90,000 US servicemen unaccounted for from WW2 onwards. CILH employs 250 military and civilian personnel and has the largest staff of forensic anthropologists of any institution in the world. In addition the Lab employs interpreters, photographers and radio operators grouped into 18 search and rescue teams.of 10 to 14 people each Their work takes them the four corners of the globe. To identify bodies they use of wide variety of techniques including facial reconstruction based on comparing bones and photographs, and DNA samples from potential descendants, as well as medical and dental records. Using these techniques they have managed to identify more than 1050 sets of remains collected since 1973. They are presently to trying to identify the remains of the crew of the USS Monitor sunk in 1862. At one level it is all rather depressing reading as it makes our efforts look what they are: unprofessional and under-resoured. This is not a criticism of individuals, rather of how the whole business is conceived, run and funded and where successful recovery and identification of WW1 dead can depend upon talented, dedicated amateurs (and I mean that in the very best sense of the phrase) like the Diggers and John Sheen - and a very large slice of luck. One of the outcomes is that we find more than 20 bodies near Arras last year and we can only put names to two of them. It is a cause for concern The CILHI web-site is at http//:www.army.mil. It has an up-to-date report on their current work. Link to comment Share on other sites More sharing options...
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