7:30 p.m., April 3rd, Hixson-Lied Visiting Scholar: Caroline Sturdy Colls Ph.D.

Caroline Sturdy Colls at Treblinka.
Caroline Sturdy Colls at Treblinka.

Dr. Caroline Sturdy Colls of Staffordshire University (U.K.) and one of the foremost forensic archaeologists in the world, will present two public lectures at the University of Nebraska–Lincoln in April on her work at the Treblinka death camp in Poland.

Sturdy Colls will present “Finding Treblinka: Forensic and Archaeological Approaches to Nazi Death Camps” on Monday, April 3 at 7:30 p.m. in Richards Hall Rm. 15. The lecture is free and open to the public and is part of the School of Art Art History & Design’s Hixson-Lied Visiting Artists & Scholars Lecture Series.

Sturdy Colls will also present “Forensic Approaches to Buried Remains: 21st century approaches to investigating unlawful deaths” on Wednesday, April 5 at 4 p.m. in the Nebraska Union Auditorium (2nd floor). This lecture is also free and open to the public.

As one of the three Operation Reinhard death camps located in Poland, the name Treblinka is fairly well known. Described as the most “perfected” of the camps, Treblinka gained notoriety for being and extermination camp where it is estimated that between 800,000 and 1,000,000 European Jews, Poles and Romani were killed during the Holocaust. Although a broad historical narrative exists, there has been little clarity concerning the appearance of the camp and the physical evidence pertaining to it has received little attention; thus its layout, the extent and nature of the mass graves and cremation pits, and the processes of killing were poorly understood.

Therefore, in 2007 a forensic archaeological investigation was launched which sought to locate, record and interpret the physical evidence that survived at Treblinka in association with the body of evidence that could be derived from archives, witness testimonies and modern digital data. Sturdy Colls will demonstrate how a considerable amount of physical evidence survives at Treblinka, which has lain un-investigated for more than 70 years.

This evidence includes the gas chambers and previously unmarked mass graves. She will discuss the various different experiences of inmates sent to Treblinka and how the architecture of the camps influenced living and working conditions, and the ability of individuals to engage in acts of resistance. She will also describe the interdisciplinary approaches taken in the investigation at Treblinka that has revolutionized how mass killing sites are explored and documented.

Sturdy Colls is an Associate Professor of Forensic Archaeology and Genocide Investigation at Staffordshire University (U.K.). She is also the Research Lead of the Centre of Archaeology at the same institution.

Sturdy Colls has led the first forensic archaeological investigation at Treblinka extermination and labor camps and in August 2015, she installed a new permanent exhibition entitled “Finding Treblinka” at the Museum of Struggle and Martyrdom in Treblinka based on the findings of her research. She has led forensic archaeological investigations at several other Holocaust sites across Europe, including in Adampol (Poland), Bergen-Belsen (Germany), Semlin (Serbia) and Alderney (Great Britain). She is the author of numerous publications concerning forensic and Holocaust archaeology. Her most recent volume “Holocaust Archaeologies: Approaches and Future Directions” was published by Springer in 2015.

Sturdy Colls’ lecture is sponsored by UNL Hixson-Lied College of Fine and Performing Arts, the UNL Research Council, the UNL Department of Anthropology, the UNL Harris Center for Judaic Studies, the Program in Forensic Science, and the Lincoln-Omaha Society of the Archaeological Institute of America.

The remaining lectures in the Hixson-Lied Visiting Artist & Scholars Lecture Series this spring include:
• Graphic Designer Ellen Lupton on April 6 at 5:30 p.m. Lupton is a writer, curator, educator and designer. She is the senior curator of contemporary design at Cooper Hewitt, Smithsonian Design Museum in New York City.

• Sculptor David Lobdell on April 13 at 5:30 p.m. Lobdell is Professor of Fine Art and Chair of the Visual and Performing Arts at New Mexico Highlands University.

• Photographer Lawrence McFarland on April 20 at 5:30 p.m. McFarland, who received his M.F.A. from the University of Nebraska–Lincoln in 1976, is professor emeritus from the University of Texas at Austin, where he taught from 1985 until 2013. He was awarded the first William and Bettye Nowlin Endowed Professorship in Photography in 2003.

More details at: http://arts.unl.edu/art/news/two-forensic-archaeology-lectures-be-presented-staffordshire-universitys-sturdy-colls