Session: #339

Theme & Session Format

Archaeological theory and methods beyond paradigms
Session format:
Regular session

Title & Content

Ethics and Practice in the Excavation and Analysis of Historic Human Remains and Associated Cultural Material
Over the last 25 years, the archaeological study of historic and recent skeletal and other body tissues, the coffins, burial clothing and accessories and any accompanying items of material culture has become widespread in Europe. Whilst scientifically important, the disturbance, recording and analysis of human remains and any closely associated material culture have ethical dimensions which are unique when related to material from recent centuries. The remains are often in consecrated ground, and the descendants of the deceased under study may be identifiable. Preservation may be exceptional, through mummification or embalming, and the ethics of illustrating remains in publications or public displays require careful consideration. This session brings together those experienced in dealing with these assemblages to outline and share not only practice and results but also how the ethical dimension was dealt with in the planning and permission stage, and then in fieldwork, and finally during analysis and dissemination.
The session organisers invite for paper submissions discussing the practice and ethics of not only study, identification and display of human remains, but also the debatable issues concerning the associated textiles, coffins and other material remains.
ethics, historic human remains, funerary material, mummies
Session associated with MERC:
Session associated with CIfA:
Session associated with SAfA:
Session associated with CAA:
Session associated with DGUF:
Session associated with other:


Main organiser:
Sanna Lipkin (Finland) 1
Harold Mytum (United Kingdom) 2
Titta Kallio-Seppä (Finland) 1
Erika Ruhl (United States) 3
1. University of Oulu
2. University of Liverpool
3. SUNY at Buffalo