View Full Version : 19th century Algerian skulls in France's museum of natural history

10-31-2017, 08:44 AM
Recently, France's museum of natural history has identified five hundred skulls, out of its huge collection of 17,000 human skulls collected during the 19th and the 20th centuries.

Out of those identified, 36 belonged to the huge number of Algerian resistance leaders who were decapitated during the 19th century by the French during the conquest of Algeria. Among them the original skulls of Mohamed Ben Lamdjad Ben Abdelmalek, who is known as Cherif Boubaghla, Sheikh Bouziane, the leader of the battle of Zaatcha in 1849, Moussa Darkaoui, Si Mokhtar Ben Kaddour al-Titrawi, Issa al-Hammadi, and the complete mold of the head of Mohamad Ben Allel, who is the right arm of Emir Abdel Kader.


Engraving from a famous book "The Army of Africa since the conquest of Algiers" (http://gallica.bnf.fr/ark:/12148/bpt6k6358287d/f309.image), 1888 by Dr. F. QUESNOY, former medical inspector of the health service of armies, showing heads of Bouziane, his son and Si Moussa who were beheaded by the French in 1849 after the battle of Zaatcha.
https://img4.hostingpics.net/thumbs/mini_362726tetesBouZianetdesonFilsetdeSiMoussa.jpg (https://www.hostingpics.net/viewer.php?id=362726tetesBouZianetdesonFilsetdeSiM oussa.jpg)
Excerpt from the book (in French): "Ce qu'il y a eu de cadavres dans ces décombres de Zaatcha, nul ne le sait. Bou-Zian, son fils et le chériff Si Moussa, retrouvés parmi les défenseurs, furent décapités et leurs têtes exposées au camp afin que tous les Arabes sussent bien que les fauteurs de l'insurrection avaient payé de leur vie leur incroyable présomption. Après avoir été exposées pendant deux jours au camp sous Zaatcha, ces têtes furent également exposées au marché de Biskra, où tous les Arabes des Zibans et de l'Aurès s'étaient donné rendez-vous "

Let's hope they can get some DNA extracted ...

10-31-2017, 08:56 AM
Also looking forward to see what DNA they can extract.

It would also be a nice gest to repatriate these remains [after attempted DNA extraction].

Edit: "after attempted DNA extraction"

10-31-2017, 09:41 AM
Anybody hear about extracting DNA from skull? They must be long bones no?

10-31-2017, 09:49 AM
Anybody hear about extracting DNA from skull? They must be long bones no?

The inner part of petrous bones and the cementum layer in teeth roots are currently recognized as the best substrates for Ancient DNA.