Forensic Anthroplogy and the Korea 208 Project

Anthropologist Jennie Jin manages the Korea 208 projectForen­sic anthro­pol­o­gist Jen­nie Jin of the Defense POW/MIA Account­ing Agency will make two pre­sen­ta­tions on the UH Mānoa cam­pus March 8 and March 10, 2016. Jin man­ages the Agency’s Korea 208 project, which has iden­ti­fied more than 150 U.S. ser­vice mem­bers who died dur­ing the Kore­an War.

Jin’s first pre­sen­ta­tion, titled “Bones for Jus­tice and Clo­sure: Foren­sic Anthropology’s Role in Human Rights Inves­ti­ga­tions and Miss­ing Per­sons Iden­ti­fi­ca­tions,” will take place Tues­day, March 8 at 3:20 p.m. in Class­room 4 at the William S. Richard­son School of Law.

This talk will focus on how foren­sic anthro­pol­o­gists solve cas­es using a com­bi­na­tion of oste­ol­o­gy, DNA, archae­ol­o­gy, and his­to­ry. Analy­sis of bones can help reveal the sex, age, stature, and ances­try of uniden­ti­fied indi­vid­u­als. Foren­sic anthro­pol­o­gists con­duct such stud­ies to sup­port a vari­ety legal cas­es in pur­suit of jus­tice and in aid of pros­e­cu­tion.

Talk on Korea 208

The sec­ond talk will be pre­sent­ed as part of the Anthro­pol­o­gy Department’s 2016 Col­lo­qui­um Series and will take place Thurs­day, March 10, at 3:00 p.m. in Craw­ford Hall 115. The top­ic will be “The Korea 208: A Large-scale Com­min­gling Case of Unac­count­ed-for Amer­i­can Remains from the Kore­an War.”

some individuals identified in Korea 208 projectSome 36,000 Amer­i­can ser­vice mem­bers lost their lives dur­ing the Kore­an War. Despite recov­ery efforts dur­ing and after the war, the remains of 7,800 indi­vid­u­als are still unac­count­ed for. In the ear­ly 1990s, the North Kore­an gov­ern­ment repa­tri­at­ed 208 cas­kets claim­ing that each rep­re­sent­ed one Amer­i­can. In fact, the remains of mul­ti­ple indi­vid­u­als were mixed in the cas­kets. Fur­ther recov­ery oper­a­tions in North Korea between 1996 and 2005 yield­ed addi­tion­al sets of remains that also fre­quent­ly proved to be mixed. Jin’s project ana­lyzes these remains using tech­niques drawn from anthro­pol­o­gy, his­to­ry, and genet­ics to solve the com­min­gling issue with the ulti­mate goal of iden­ti­fy­ing and send­ing them home.

Dr. Jen­nie Jin is a grad­u­ate of Seoul Nation­al Uni­ver­si­ty; earned her M.A. in anthro­pol­o­gy at Stan­ford Uni­ver­si­ty in 2005 spe­cial­iz­ing in human skele­tal biol­o­gy and pale­oan­thro­pol­o­gy; and received her Ph.D. from Penn­syl­va­nia State Uni­ver­si­ty in 2010 with a dis­ser­ta­tion focus­ing on a zooar­chae­o­log­i­cal analy­sis of a fau­nal assem­blage from a 9,000-year-old Neolith­ic site in Yun­nan Province, south­west Chi­na.

Jin’s research inter­ests include bioar­chae­ol­o­gy, zooar­chae­ol­o­gy, taphon­o­my, and pale­oan­thro­pol­o­gy. She has field and lab­o­ra­to­ry expe­ri­ence in Chi­na, Korea, Rus­sia, South Africa, Tan­za­nia, and Hon­duras. She is the author of a biog­ra­phy of Louis Leakey and Jane Goodall writ­ten in Kore­an that received the Best Book in Sci­ence 2009 Award from the Kore­an Min­istry of Cul­ture. She is cur­rent­ly work­ing on two more bio­log­i­cal anthro­pol­o­gy books for gen­er­al audi­ences in Korea and is an active sci­ence colum­nist for major news­pa­pers and mag­a­zines in Korea.

For more infor­ma­tion about the March 8 pre­sen­ta­tion, con­tact Prof. Tae-Ung Baik (tubaik@hawaii.edu). For fur­ther infor­ma­tion about the March 10 talk, con­tact the UH Anthro­pol­o­gy Depart­ment (anthprog@hawaii.edu).