SUMMER READING SALE! 30% off all eBooks until Sept 2nd! These Were People Once: The Online Trade in Human Remains and Why It Matters | BERGHAHN BOOKS
Join our Email List Berghahn Books Logo

berghahn New York · Oxford

  • Facebook
  • Twitter
  • Youtube
  • Instagram
Click to Expand Gallery These Were People Once: The Online Trade in Human Remains and Why It Matters

View Table of Contents

Email Newsletters

Sign up for our email newsletters to get customized updates on new Berghahn publications.

Click here to select your preferences

These Were People Once

The Online Trade in Human Remains and Why It Matters

Damien Huffer and Shawn Graham

236 pages, 20 illus., bibliog., index

ISBN  978-1-80539-086-2 $149.00/£110.00 / Hb / Published (September 2023)

eISBN 978-1-80539-363-4 eBook

View CartYour country: - edit Request a Review or Examination Copy (in Digital Format)Recommend to your LibraryAvailable in GOBI®


“An easy read on a difficult subject, its beautiful encapsulations of the tragic lives behind their commodified remains highlight the urgency of the authors’ project and public and commercial responses to it. The grim thread of mistreatment of the dead guides the reader through the labyrinth of Big Tech, how cynical tech companies and equally-cynical users are complicit in each other’s harms.” • Samuel Andrew Hardy, Cultural Property Criminologist


People buy and sell human remains online. Most of this trade these days is over social media. In a study of this ‘bone trade’, how it works, and why it matters, the authors review and use a variety of methods drawn from the digital humanities to analyze the sheer volume of social media posts in search of answers to questions regarding this online bone trade. The answers speak to how the 21st century understands and constructs ‘heritage’ more generally: each person their own expert, yet seeking community and validation, and like the major encyclopedic museums, built on a kind of digital neocolonialist othering of the dead.

Damien Huffer is an osteoarchaeologist and interdisciplinary illicit trafficking researcher. He was most recently Lecturer in Criminology in the School of Social Science at the University of Queensland, Australia. He is one of the cofounders of the Alliance to Counter Crime Online.

Shawn Graham is a digital archaeologist. He is Professor of Digital Humanities in the Department of History at Carleton University, Ottawa, Ontario. He is also a cofounder of the Alliance to Counter Crime Online.

Subject: ArchaeologyHeritage StudiesPolitical and Economic Anthropology


Download ToC (PDF)

Back to Top

Library Recommendation Form

Dear Librarian,

I would like to recommend These Were People Once The Online Trade in Human Remains and Why It Matters for the library. Please include it in your next purchasing review with my strong recommendation. The RRP is: $149.00

I recommend this title for the following reasons:

BENEFIT FOR THE LIBRARY: This book will be a valuable addition to the library's collection.

REFERENCE: I will refer to this book for my research/teaching work.

STUDENT REFERRAL: I will regularly refer my students to the book to assist their studies.

OWN AFFILIATION: I am an editor/contributor to this book or another book in the Series (where applicable) and/or on the Editorial Board of the Series, of which this volume is part.