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Curating Human Remains


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How to care for, store, display and interpret human remains, and issues of their ownership, are contentious questions, ones that need to be answered with care and due consideration. This book offers a systematic overview of the responses made by museums and other repositories in the United Kingdom, providing a baseline for understanding the scope and nature of human remains collections and the practices related to their care. The introduction sets United Kingdom practices within an international context, while subsequent chapters, all written by leading experts, cover a wide range of topics through key case studies: legislation and ethical obligations; issues of both long-term and short-term care; differing perspectives associated with human remains collections in different parts of the United Kingdom; a comparison of attitudes and approaches in large institutions and small museums; the creative use of redundant churches; and challenges facing research/teaching laboratories and collections resulting from recent archaeological excavations.

Myra Giesen is Lecturer at the International Centre for Cultural and Heritage Studies, Newcastle University.

Contributors: Myra Giesen, Liz White, Hedley Swain, Charlotte Woodhead, Kirsty McCarrison, Victoria Park, Jennifer Sharp, Mark A. Hall, Rebecca Redfern, Jelena Bekvalac, Gillian Scott, Simon Mays, Charlotte Roberts, Jacqueline I. McKinley, Mike Parker Pearson, Mike Pitts, Duncan Sayer, Margaret Clegg.


A comprehensive overview for the professional. BRITISH ARCHAEOLOGY


First Published: 21 Mar 2013
13 Digit ISBN: 9781843838067
Pages: 212
Size: 24.4 x 17.2
Binding: Hardback
Imprint: Boydell Press
Series: Heritage Matters
Subject: Archaeology
BIC Class: HD

Details updated on 23 Apr 2014


  • 1  Introduction: Human Remains Curation in the United Kingdom
  • 2  International Perspectives towards Human Remains Curation
  • 3  Dealings with the Dead: A Personal Consideration of the Ongoing Human Remains Debate
  • 4  Care, Custody and Display of Human Remains: Legal and Ethical Obligations
  • 5  The Impact and Effectiveness of the Human Tissue Act 2004 and the Guidance for the Care of Human Remains in Museums in England
  • 6  Dead and Forgotten?: Some Observations on Human Remains Documentation in the UK
  • 7  Tethering Time and Tide? Human Remains Guidance and Legislation for Scottish Museums
  • 8  The Quick and the Deid: A Scottish Perspective on Caring for Human Remains at the Perth Museum and Art Gallery
  • 9  Museum of London: An Overview of Policies and Practice
  • 10  Curating Human Remains in a Regional Museum: Policy and Practice at the Great North Museum: Hancock
  • 11  Curation of Human Remains at St Peter's Church, Barton-Upon-Humber, England
  • 12  Archaeological Human Remains and Laboratories: Attaining Acceptable Standards for Curating Skeletal Remains for Teaching and Research
  • 13  'No Room at the Inn' ... Contract Archaeology and the Storage of Human Remains
  • 14  Changes in Policy for Excavating Human Remains in England and Wales
  • 15  Conclusions and Ways Forward
  • 16  Appendix I:DCMS Guidance for the Care of Human Remains in Museum
  • 17  Appendix II: MGS Guidelines for the Care of Human Remains in Scottish Museum Collections

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