Archeological human remains: Scientific, cultural, and ethical considerations

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Archeological human remains: Scientific, cultural, and ethical considerations

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Current Anthropology


Jones, D. Gareth and Harris, Robyn J.

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Abstract: Recent developments regarding the repatriation of human skeletal remains have raised questions of profound significance for both archeologists and anthropologists. The various responses to these questions have tended to focus on the implications of these developments for the future of the academic disciplines and skirted the ethical issues at stake. In addition, little attention has been devoted to the relationship between approaches to human skeletal remains and to dead human bodies. As a result, discussions of skeletal remains tend to occur in isolation and fail to benefit from a consideration of values considered relevant in related areas. From our perspective as anatomists, we will apply a broader analysis to the issue of archeological human remains; in determining relevant values, we will draw on the experience of other disciplines involved in research on human tissue and human material.

Additional tags: human skeletal remains; repatriation; ethical considerations


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