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Reconstructing Korean War Battlefields from Body Recovery Information

Author(s): Alexander Christensen

Year: 2017

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During the Chinese Spring Offensive of April and May 1951, Chinese People’s Volunteer Forces pushed United Nations troops back from their defensive lines in the Republic of Korea, with extensive casualties on both sides. Because UN forces were driven back, many of the dead were not recovered and identified until the battlefields were retaken. In some cases this occurred days after the battle, but for many it was weeks, months, or even years later. Individual Deceased Personnel Files (IDPFs) for each casualty provide information on where remains were recovered, the condition they were found in, and the identification process. The IDPFs from two different battles, the 7th Infantry Regiment’s defense of the Kansas Line on 25 April 1951 and the 2nd Infantry Division’s defense of the No-Name Line 24 days later, were examined to investigate the distribution of casualties across each battlefield, and in particular how the recovery locations fit with more traditional historical accounts. In general, files for individuals recovered immediately after the battles contain the least information about the condition and location of the remains, while those recovered later, by personnel not involved in the battles, provide artefactual, anthropological, and archaeological context, including inventories and sketch maps.

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Reconstructing Korean War Battlefields from Body Recovery Information. Alexander Christensen. Presented at The 81st Annual Meeting of the Society for American Archaeology, Vancouver, British Columbia. 2017 ( tDAR id: 429891)


Spatial Coverage

min long: 66.885; min lat: -8.928 ; max long: 147.568; max lat: 54.059 ;

Record Identifiers

Abstract Id(s): 16757

Arizona State University The Andrew W. Mellon Foundation National Science Foundation National Endowment for the Humanities Society for American Archaeology Archaeological Institute of America