Anthropology, Department of


First Advisor

William R. Belcher

Date of this Version


Document Type



A thesis presented to the faculty of the Graduate College at the University of Nebraska in partial fulfilment of requirements for the degree of Master of Arts

Major: Anthropology

Under the supervision of Professor William R. Belcher

Lincoln, Nebraska, August 2023


Copyright © 2023, Patrick Barchett


Despite many international agreements and treaties prohibiting the use of CBRNE (Chemical, Biological, Radiological, Nuclear, and Explosive) weaponry, the proliferation of contaminated human remains displays the historic and continued use of inhumane war efforts. Due to the complications of recovery, contaminated human remains are often left unrecovered and unidentified. This thesis works to create a framework for the recovery of contaminated human remains for organizations with a focus on creating safe and sustainable working environments for those conducting the recovery. Much of this thesis assumes the remains are being recovered from interred mass graves. This thesis provides an introduction to disaster management and International Humanitarian Law, a three-phrase implementation of remains recovery which includes contaminant surveys and personal protective equipment recommendations, and a theoretical case study for the recovery of the victims of the 1988 Halabja Massacre.

Advisor: William R. Belcher