Graduate Studies


First Advisor

William R. Belcher

Second Advisor

LuAnn Wandsnider

Third Advisor

Phil Geib

Date of this Version


Document Type



Kennison, Finn R. 2023. Then and Now: The History and Methodology Behind The Excavation of a WWII Boeing B-29 Superfortress Aircraft Crash Site in Assam state, India. Master's thesis, Department of Anthropology, University of Nebraska-Lincoln, Lincoln.


A THESIS Presented to the Faculty of The Graduate College at the University of Nebraska In Partial Fulfillment of Requirements For the Degree of Master of Arts, Major: Anthropology, Under the Supervision of Professor William Belcher. Lincoln, Nebraska: July 2023.

Copyright © 2023 Finn R. Kennison

Since March 2020, the University of Nebraska-Lincoln and the Department of Defense's Defense POW/MIA Accounting Agency entered into an academic and logistical partnership. This partnership covers but is not limited to joint research projects, training programs, as well as faculty and employee exchange and student internships.


From 1942 to 1945 the United States supplied military aid to China to keep the country from being overtaken by the Japanese Empire. As all land and sea routes to China were under Japanese control the only way to deliver aid was by air; this was formally known as The Hump Airlift. Referring to the flight over the Himalayas, The Hump was known for its devastating weather conditions that in some circumstances had the ability to rip a plane in half. In the three years the airlift was operating over 600 aircraft were lost and more than one thousand crewmen had died in the steaming jungles of Burma and over the icy mountains. In June of 1944, a Boeing B-29 Superfortress crashed in Assam State, Indian Empire. What was supposed to have been a routine flight ended unexpectedly; all crew members were killed in action. The following thesis will explore the broader historical events that led to The Hump Airlift, the airlift itself, and an archaeological site report of a crashed Boeing B-29 Superfortress, excavated from 2018 to 2023.

Advisor: William R. Belcher