University of Massachusetts Amherst

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In Pictures

Entry to Exit: Studying Skeletal Trauma to Understand Systemic Violence

This hole in the rear of a skull cast is the exit path a bullet took as it left its victim’s skull. Bone casts allow anthropologists to closely examine the harm done to the skeletal structure without fear of damaging fragile remains. The cast belongs to physical anthropologist and archaeologist Ventura Pérez, in the Department of Anthropology, who is putting his award-winning techniques to work in Juarez, Mexico as he researches the mechanisms that allow systematic violence to take place. His analysis is demonstrating how cartels use violence very purposefully—their victims are used to communicate the cartels’ demands to others. Learn more.

Photo credit: Amanda Drane