Download Curating Human Remains : Caring for the Dead in the United by Myra Giesen PDF

By Myra Giesen

How one can take care of, shop, exhibit and interpret human continues to be, and problems with their possession, are contentious questions, ones that must be replied with care and due attention. This publication deals a scientific assessment of the responses made via museums and different repositories within the united kingdom, offering a baseline for knowing the scope and nature of human is still collections and the practices regarding their care. The advent units united kingdom practices inside of a global context, whereas next chapters, all written via top specialists, hide quite a lot of issues via key case experiences: laws and moral tasks; problems with either long term and temporary care; differing views linked to human continues to be collections in numerous elements of the united kingdom; a comparability of attitudes and methods in huge associations and small museums; the inventive use of redundant church buildings; and demanding situations dealing with research/teaching laboratories and collections as a result of fresh archaeological excavations. Myra Giesen is Lecturer on the overseas Centre for Cultural and background reports, Newcastle collage. individuals: Myra Giesen, Liz White, Hedley Swain, Charlotte Woodhead, Kirsty McCarrison, Victoria Park, Jennifer Sharp, Mark A. corridor, Rebecca Redfern, Jelena Bekvalac, Gillian Scott, Simon Mays, Charlotte Roberts, Jacqueline I. McKinley, Mike Parker Pearson, Mike Pitts, Duncan Sayer, Margaret Clegg.

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Sadongei (2004, 19), in a discussion focusing on sacred objects, suggests that neutrality can be the most important form of respect that repositories can show; where neutrality ‘takes into account the diversity of human belief and cultural expression and acknowledges that no single belief is privileged over another’. We concur with this approach and recommend that neutrality be extended to the care of human remains, while balancing the spiritual and practical concerns of descendants with the important historical information that human remains research can provide.

The issue of outraging public decency has arisen in the context of the display of human remains; in the case of R v Gibson [1990] 2 QB 619 (CA), the first defendant, Sylveire, ran a gallery called ‘Young Unknown Gallery’ and the second defendant, Gibson, had assembled a work entitled ‘Human Earrings’ which was made from freeze-dried human foetuses. Both defendants were found guilty of outraging public decency when the work was displayed in the gallery. A coroner’s inquest also cautioned against outraging public decency.

So is anyone actually doing anything wrong? Is anyone suffering? There is no doubt that excavating and studying human remains leads to new knowledge and new understanding. It is also the case that advances in science will lead to even more new knowledge in the future. DNA is often quoted as the great opportunity but it is in other areas such as isotopes that recent advances have been most notable. However, it is also the case that archaeologists often hide behind a bland ‘huge potential for future knowledge’-like statement when defending the retention of remains instead of being specific.

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