Abstracts: Panel Session 6
Vedrana Glavaš , Andrea Pintar 
 Department of Archaeology, University of Zadar,  Center S.PAS (Croatia)
How to discover mass graves? Croatian model of searching for missing persons
The searching for mass graves in Croatia is being conducted by the Ministry of Veterans' Affairs using interdisciplinary approach and methodology. The methodology of mass graves research is divided into two phases: pre-excavation work and excavation. In this presentation we will focus more on pre-excavation work and locating of mass graves positions, which is often problematic. During the process of locating, several methods of research are used, such as field and aerial reconnaissance, the use of ground penetrating radar, the use of Human Remains Detection Dogs (HRD), cartographic analysis and spatial GIS documentation, as well as witness testimonies.
The research is focused on mass graves from the period of World War II and the War in Croatia (1991-1995). Different environmental conditions (geology, vegetation, environmental changes during time) cause many problems in locating mass graves and consequently require adaptation of research to each specific position. In this paper, we will present problems as well as solutions of using such research methodology.
The Case for a 'Body Farm' in the UK
Dr Anna Williams
University of Huddersfield
This presentation will explore the use of specialist outdoor laboratories called Human Taphonomy Facilities, often referred to as 'body farms', where donated human cadavers are left to decompose for forensic research and aiding criminal investigations. It will describe the current situation in the UK and the rest of the world for using human cadavers for forensic anthropology research, and look at the myriad of different research that is being done at the existing human taphonomy facilities in the USA and Australia, and that which could be done on such facilities. It will also discuss some of the social, legal and ethical issues surrounding the establishment of taphonomy facilities and consider their future in the UK and abroad. It will demonstrate some of the challenges associated with trying to set up a facility in the UK. The presentation aims to stimulate debate about the need for a Human Taphonomy Facility in the UK, by putting forward the arguments for and against establishing such a facility in the UK, and discussing results from recent surveys of public opinion.
Remember the Alamo (and Only its Dead Texas Heroes): Maintaining Texan Identity Through Tourism
Texas’ long-running tourism slogan, “Texas, it’s like a whole other country” trades heavily on the notion that Texas is distinct. The foundation of this concept was partly inspired by the mythology that was catalyzed by much of Texas’ tragic history, especially the Alamo and other events that took place during the Texas Revolution. This myth, and the subsequent identity it fostered, emphasizes sacrifice and honor, and has impacted the way in which many Texans view both historical death and contemporary mortality. This identity, combined with the state’s conservative values, have created a tourism landscape in which producers eschew most forms of dark tourist activity, while embracing those that adhere to the myth, or conform the product’s narrative to fit the myth.
The overarching purpose of this presentation will be to explore how the state and local governmental organizations in Texas touristically utilize the dead to confirm the Texas myth to locals and to transmit it to tourists. To fulfil this purpose, the presentation will draw from a comprehensive examination of the supply of dark tourism products and experiences in Texas that was conducted by the presenter. The presentation will also highlight several examples of how death is utilized at a number of Texas’ dark tourism attractions, including The Alamo and the various sites and products associated with the Texas Revolution, the Texas State Cemetery, the Huntsville Prison Museum, The Sixth Floor Museum, and the site of the Waco Siege.
Let the Bones Out!: The significance of public engagement on skeletons and dead bodies.
Winsome HinShin Lee
University of Leicester
In Chinese culture, talking about death is almost forbidden, except on the Ancestor Day. Likewise, people who work in death-related industries are either spooky to others, or consider to have a brave heart. Chinese concept of death seems to be changing slowly with the assistance of globalized TV culture. Yet, the commonality of death on big screens does not signify the true acceptance of it. The lack of public engagement is surprising given the public fascination, fantasy and imagination with forensics and the dead, but without debunking the myths.
Certainly, there are journalists, and death positive activists in the society are trying to promote death discussion stimulated by the global pop culture. From my public engagement experiences, my work with the dead and skeletons are praised for two cultural reasons: (1) for being a young female in the Chinese society to, (2) work with the spookiest death-related materials, namely decomposed bodies and bones. I have started contributing regularly since April 2016 for a local Chinese Online News Platform to stimulate public thinking and discussion regarding skeleton and forensics. Using existing sample of the blog dated from April to December 2016, I would like to argue that public engagement on talking about death and dead bodies helps break the Chinese denial of death significantly.
My goal of this presentation is three folds: (1) to categorize and present the topics have been covered in the blog over the last 8 months, and identify the audiences likeliness of the covered topics; (2) to purport public intellectualism is crucial to reduce the conflicts between the old and the new thinking in a society; and ending on a positive note, (3) to suggest the change begins with breaking the gender stereotype in death professions.