A Voice For the Voiceless


The Advocacy Project (AP) recruits students to help marginalized communities tell their story and claim their rights.

My RSS Feed

Twitter: #apfellows

Forensic Anthropology 101

Zach Parker | PostedJune 18th, 2009 | Latin America

The workshop was a great success.  Jess and I returned to Lima from Abancay, Apurimac on Monday, back to the office in Jesus Maria.  We spent last week learning about forensic anthropology from EPAF, alongside judges and prosecutors from the Apurimac region of Peru.  EPAF brought its tools, expertise, and its human-sized dolls to the workshop.  There were nine of us from EPAF, including Jess and I, on hand at the workshop. 

Armed with our cameras, we recorded much of the workshop including the three different cases that were used as tutorials for the participants, who were divided into three groups.  One case was of a very recent murder in a hotel room, where the victims–represented by the dolls–were strewn about the room along with the evidence.  The other two cases were of the bodies of victims buried in mass graves for the participants to uncover and examine.  The tutorials were preceded by comprehensive lectures on the application and interpretation of human rights law both internationally and in Peru, as well as a step by step description of the methods used in forensic anthropology to gather and examine evidence.  The workshop concluded with presentations by each group outlining the evidence collected, their assumptions, and finally their conclusions demonstrating what they had learned.

The day before the workshop, on Wednesday, EPAF held a meeting with local human rights organizations; CDH (Center for Human Development), APRODEH (Association for Human Rights), FONCODES (Social Development Cooperation Foundation), Defensoría del Pueblo (Human Rights Ombudsman), as well as four family members of victims of forced disappearances.  The meeting was held to introduce EPAF to the community and the organizations in Abancay, and serve as a jumping off point to further collaboration on human rights efforts, preserving the memory and seeking justice for the victims of forced disappearances.         

The open forum that was to kick off the workshop on Thursday night was cancelled, and the workshop was nearly cancelled altogether due to the protest marches that took place in Abancay.  The marches, as in many areas of Peru, were in protest to the violence that took place recently in northern Peru.  Protesters clashed with police in Bagua, over two laws that were passed, opening up mineral and mining rights on land being used in that area by Amazon tribal groups, leaving many dead.  Today in Peru’s congress, the laws were finally reversed.   

While the protestors marched, Abancay shut down.  The street was full of protestors all morning and into the afternoon, with different groups marching along the streets in all directions.  The protests were peaceful, and Jess was able to capture some video of the marches themselves.  While everything shut down during the day, Abancay was back to normal by nightfall.  The protests only took place on Thursday, and things calmed down after that.  We spent the rest of that Thursday strolling through Abancay and seeing the sights. 

Savoring our last free moments before the workshop began the following day, Jess, Renzo (the historian), and I took the opportunity to look for the memorial that we had heard was within the city of Abancay, dedicated to the memory of victims of forced disappearances in the region.  As we had a general idea of its location, we ventured into the city in search of this memorial relying on the local residents as our guides.  As we walked in search of the memorial, we asked various residents of Abancay if they could point us in the direction of this memorial.  To our frustration, not a soul that we asked had the same answer, and all lead us to a certain park which looked like an enormous jungle gym for kids.  We didn’t find the memorial that day. 

Renzo set out the following morning with better information, and did finally find the memorial.  Perhaps the lack of knowledge of the memorial’s existence in Abancay is a further testament to the work that remains for human rights organizations and the victims’ families in preserving their memory.  Or maybe we didn’t ask enough people.     


People gather in the Plaza de Armas to protest (Abancay, Peru)
People gather in the Plaza de Armas to protest (Abancay, Peru)

People gather in the Plaza de Armas to protest (Abancay, Peru)

3 Responses to “Forensic Anthropology 101”

  1. Tina Chen says:

    these blog entries are great! sad that no one knew where the memorial was…hope part of the workshop was pointing out the memorial! sounds like you’re really enjoying your time there!

  2. iain says:

    Very interesting that the monument to disappeared was so hard to find. Quite a comment on how little attention is paid to this – and hence how important EPAF’s work is. I’m curious whether the Indigenous of the south feel a common identity with the protesters in the north, given how different their needs are?

  3. mom says:

    how large was this rural town you were in that people were not aware of the location of the memorial? Love reading your blogs.

Leave a Reply

Security Code:

Fellow: Zach Parker

EPAF in Peru





2013 Fellows


Benan Grams
Meron Menwyelet
Mohammed Alshubrumi
John Steies


Andra Bosneag
Chris Pinderhughes
Emily MacDonald
Jasveen Bindra
Kelly Howell
Raymond Aycock
Sujita Basnet

Middle East

Mona Niebuhr

2012 Fellows


Dane Macri
Laura McAdams
Mallory Minter
Megan Orr
Oluwatooni Akanni
Katie Hoffman


Adam Kruse
Alex Kelly
Alicia Evangelides
Heather Webb
Jesse Cottrell
Matthew Becker
Rachel Palmer


Claire Noone
Elise Filo

Latin America

Laura Burns

Middle East

Nur Arafeh
Thayer Hastings

North America

Caroline Risacher

2011 Fellows


Charlie Walker
Charlotte Bourdillon
Cleia Noia
Dina Buck
Jamyel Jenifer
Kristen Maryn
Rebecca Scherpelz
Scarlett Chidgey
Walter James


Amanda Lasik
Chantal Uwizera
Chelsea Ament
Clara Kollm
Corey Black
Lauren Katz
Maelanny Purwaningrum
Maria Skouras
Meredith Williams
Ryan McGovern
Samantha Syverson


Beth Wofford
Julia Dowling
Quinn Van Valer-Campbell
Samantha Hammer
Susan Craig-Greene

Latin America

Amy Bracken
Catherine Binet

Middle East

Nikki Hodgson

North America

Sarah Wang

2010 Fellows


Abisola Adekoya
Annika Allman
Brooke Blanchard
Christine Carlson
Christy Gillmore
Dara Lipton
Dina Buck
Josanna Lewin
Joya Taft-Dick
Louis Rezac
Ned Meerdink
Sylvie Bisangwa


Adrienne Henck
Karie Cross
Kerry McBroom
Kate Bollinger
Lauren Katz
Simon Kläntschi
Zarin Hamid


Laila Zulkaphil
Susan Craig-Greene
Tereza Bottman

Latin America

Karin Orr

North America

Adepeju Solarin
Oscar Alvarado

2009 Fellows


Adam Welti
Alixa Sharkey
Barbara Dziedzic
Bryan Lupton

Courtney Chance
Elisa Garcia
Helah Robinson
Johanna Paillet
Johanna Wilkie
Kate Cummings
Laura Gordon
Lisa Rogoff
Luna Liu
Ned Meerdink
Walter James


Abhilash Medhi
Gretchen Murphy
Isha Mehmood
Jacqui Kotyk
Jessica Tirado
Kan Yan
Morgan St. Clair
Ted Mathys


Alison Sluiter
Christina Hooson
Donna Harati
Fanny Grandchamp
Kelsey Bristow
Simran Sachdev
Susan Craig-Greene
Tiffany Ommundsen

Latin America

Althea Middleton-Detzner
Carolyn Ramsdell
Jessica Varat
Lindsey Crifasi
Rebecca Gerome
Zachary Parker

Middle East

Corrine Schneider
Rachel Brown
Rangineh Azimzadeh

North America

Elizabeth Mandelman
Farzin Farzad

2008 Fellows

Adam Nord
Annelieke van de Wiel
Juliet Hutchings
Kristina Rosinsky
Lucas Wolf
Chi Vu
Danita Topcagic
Heather Gilberds
Jes Therkelsen
Libby Abbott
Mackenzie Berg
Nicole Farkouh
Ola Duru
Paul Colombini
Raka Banerjee
Shubha Bala
Antigona Kukaj
Colby Pacheco
James Dasinger
Janet Rabin
Nicole Slezak
Shweta Dewan
Amy Offner
Ash Kosiewicz
Hannah McKeeth
Heidi McKinnon
Larissa Hotra
Hannah Wright
Krystal Sirman
Rianne Van Doeveren
Willow Heske

2007 Fellows

Johnathan Homer
Adam Nord
Audrey Roberts
Caitlin Burnett
Devin Greenleaf
Jeff Yarborough
Julia Zoo
Madeline England
Maha Khan
Mariko Scavone
Mark Koenig
Nicole Farkouh
Saba Haq
Tassos Coulaloglou
Ted Samuel
Alison Morse
Gail Morgado
Jennifer Hollinger
Katie Wroblewski
Leslie Ibeanusi
Michelle Lanspa
Stephanie Gilbert
Zach Scott
Abby Weil
Jessica Boccardo
Sara Zampierin
Eliza Bates
Erin Wroblewski
Tatsiana Hulko

2006 Interns

Laura Cardinal
Jessical Sewall
Alison Long
Autumn Graham
Donna Laverdiere
Erica Issac
Greg Holyfield
Lori Tomoe Mizuno
Melissa Muscio
Nicole Cordeau
Stacey Spivey
Anya Gorovets
Barbara Bearden
Lynne Engleman
Yvette Barnes
Charles Wright
Sarah Sachs

2005 Interns

Eun Ha Kim
Malia Mason
Anne Finnan
Carrie Hasselback
Karen Adler
Sarosh Syed
Shirin Sahani
Chiara Zerunian
Ewa Sobczynska
MacKenzie Frady
Margaret Swink
Sabri Ben-Achour
Nitzan Goldberger

2004 Interns

Ginny Barahona
Michael Keller
Sarah Schores
Melinda Willis
Pia Schneider
Stacy Kosko
Carmen Morcos
Christina Fetterhoff
Stacy Kosko
Bushra Mukbil

2003 Interns

Erica Williams
Kate Kuo
Claudia Zambra
Julie Lee
Kimberly Birdsall
Marta Schaaf
Caitlin Williams
Courtney Radsch