Encyclopedia of Global Archaeology

2014 Edition
| Editors: Claire Smith

Ethics and Human Remains

Reference work entry
DOI: https://doi.org/10.1007/978-1-4419-0465-2_160

… due dignity and respect should be afforded in the recovery, storage, investigation and reburial of human remains regardless of their context (Hunter et al. 2001: 176).

Introduction

Most professions adhere to an agreed code of conduct, commonly referred to as a “code of ethics,” with the intention being that all practitioners should undertake “best practice.” In reality, however, definitions of “best practice” vary because different cultures, societies, and groups have diverse set of value systems, namely, their own definitions of what is considered right (appropriate) and wrong (Walker 2000: 20). Because of the emotive nature of death, the treatment of human remains is often contentious and poses many ethical dilemmas.

Definition

Ethics is a branch of philosophy concerned with the evaluation of the principles and standards of human conduct that govern the behavior of individuals and groups (Bottorff 2005).

Key Issues/Current Debates

Locating and Recovering Human Remains: Digging up...

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References

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Further Reading

  1. Adams, P. 2000. Death and contemporary popular culture, in A. Kellehear (ed.) Death and dying in Australia: 105-15. Oxford: Oxford University Press.Google Scholar
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  5. Cantwell, A. 2000. “Who knows the power of his bones”: reburial redux. Annals of the New York Academy of Sciences 925: 79-119.Google Scholar
  6. Jones, D.G. & J.R. Harris. 1998. Archaeological human remains: scientific, cultural and ethical considerations. Current Anthropology 39: 253-64.Google Scholar
  7. Loff, B. & J. Black. 2004. Research ethics committees: what is their contribution? Medical Journal of Australia 181: 440-1.Google Scholar
  8. MacDonald, H. 2005. Human remains: episodes in human dissection. Melbourne: Melbourne University Press.Google Scholar
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Copyright information

© Springer Science+Business Media New York 2014

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.Department of Forensic MedicineVictorian Institute of Forensic Medicine, Monash UniversitySouthbankAustralia