A Weeknights at the Wagner lecture with Dr. Janet Monge
Forensic anthropologist Dr. Janet Monge will share the challenges, techniques, and lessons from her work analyzing human remains. Forensic anthropologists deal with human remains that have lost “personhood” through decomposition, burning or dismemberment. Most of these are cases where only bones are left or remains are mummified. It is challenging to analyze damage to bones, especially from old or even ancient tools (e.g. musket balls, stone knives or axes), and when healing happened afterwards if the person lived for a while. Among other lessons, these bones and remains demonstrate that interpersonal violence, including violence against women, and primitive surgery, has a long history in humans that extends at least 150,000 years.
Dr. Janet Monge is the Curator-in-Charge and Keeper of the Skeletal Collections at the Penn Museum and Adjunct Professor in Anthropology at the University of Pennsylvania. She also serves as a forensic anthropology consultant, including the recent excavation and analysis of the body of H.H. Holmes, the infamous Chicago World’s Fair mass murderer from the late 1800s.