A new generation of Cypriots uncovers the missing

UNDP Eurasia
Sep 22, 2017 · 10 min read
Bones are shown in the laboratory of the Committee on Missing Persons in Cyprus (CMP). Identifying human remains is a puzzle for anthropologists and geneticists.

Taking the first steps

Murat Soysal talks to a 95-year old witness at her family farm.

Xenophon Kallis kneels at the edge of a recently-discovered mass grave.

Finding the remains

Clockwise: A map of secret burial sites across the island; Marking the remains at a burial site; Remains are often found in disused water wells.
Recording the remains at a burial site.

Mehmet at an excavation site.

Left: Archaeologist Maria Solomou prepares a numbered ID card prior to photographing a newly discovered grave. Right: Archaeologist Andria Avgoust, centre, works at a new gravesite.

Putting the pieces together

Photis Andronicou (left) and Emine Çetinsel (right) examine remains.

Anthropologist Theodora Eleftheriou pieces together individual bones to establish the age, sex and height of a missing person.

Identifying the missing

Left: Anthropologists record what can be seen on the bones. Right: Bone samples are cut and sent abroad to a specialist laboratory to extract the deceased person’s DNA.
Istenç Engin looks at recorded remains.
Bone samples are sorted.

Laying bodies and mind to rest

Clockwise from top: Psychologist Lisa Zamba comforts the bereaved; Anthropologist Emine Çetinsel at the grave of her grandfather, whose remains she helped identify; Suna Özikiz holds up her own family photo. She is still looking for her father.

At the funeral for a young man killed decades earlier, the family grieves.

A race against time


UNDP Eurasia

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