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New Publication: Special issue of the Bulletins et Mémoires de la Société dAnthropologie de Paris (BMSAP): Invasive, micro-invasive and non-invasive analyses of anthropobiological remains

As part of its 2023 annual meeting, the Société d'Anthropologie de Paris (SAP) organised a thematic session: "Invasive, micro-invasive and non-invasive analysis of anthropobiological remains. How and why?"

KLI fellow Anne Le Maître, along with other members of the scientific committee of SAP, viz., Gwenaëlle Goude, Benoît Bertrand and Aurélien Mounier, coordinated a special issue on this topic now published online in the Bulletins et Mémoires de la Société d'Anthropologie de Paris (BMSAP). This special issue comprises several articles stemming from the presentations given during the annual meeting, including an invited talk by Alessia Nava.

In this special issue, the authors consider the impact of the technical and scientific progress of the last decades on biological anthropology and related fields. The development of biological analyses sensu lato, and of virtual anthropology, have led anthropologists to modify both their theoretical approaches to the subjects they study, and their "vision" of anthropobiological remains, which constitute their primary support for interpreting past societies and environments.

According to Anne and colleagues, these methodological developments go hand in hand with the implementation of new practices, while also influencing the preservation of heritage, its enhancement, and its availability for study by current researchers and future generations. These practices are also dependent on conservation policies at the national level and differ from one country to another, sometimes leading researchers to a differentiated treatment of the material which can make scientific results difficult to reproduce and interpret. The dialogue between researchers and conservators leads to a confrontation between the interest of a scientific problem and the potential degradation that this type of methodology may cause. Nevertheless, technical developments make it possible to acquire information that was previously inaccessible, and in the era of Open Science, the simplicity of sharing this type of data can constitute a considerable advance.

These thematic session of the SAP meeting and subsequent BMSAP special issue provide a space for reflection on these methods, their use at different levels of impact on anthropobiological remains from the field to the laboratory, their sometimes considerable scientific contributions compared to traditional methods, and their museographic and heritage interests.