A “Bone Woman” Chronicles the World’s Massacres

A “Bone Woman” Chronicles the World’s Massacres
The New York Times
April 24, 2004

Clea Koff was present at the big events of the 1990’s: Rwanda, Bosnia, Kosovo. Just out of graduate school, she was not a fledgling diplomat, nor a journalist. She was wearing overalls, protective gloves and boots.

Her job was to dig out the aftermath: the decayed bodies, the skeletons and bones, hoping to make sense of the senseless.

Most of the time, she was able to keep her composure, even under the most gruesome of circumstances, facing the recent dead.

She would concentrate, she said, on the notion that she was helping provide critical evidence for the international trials where the authorities in Rwanda and the former Yugoslavia have been charged with crimes against humanity and genocide. That is what it meant to be a forensic anthropologist.

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