chapter  13
18 Pages

ETHICS AND HUMAN REMAINS

Because human remains are the remnants of once-living people, they have a special significance in all human societies. What constitutes appropriate treatment of human remains varies widely between people from different cultures and with different beliefs. The treatment of human remains may therefore be the source of disagreement, and may arouse strong feelings. Excavation, study and archiving of human remains from archaeological sites raises moral issues that do not arise with other classes of archaeological finds. In many countries, the distinctive status of human remains in archaeology is recognised in the legal system so that it is unlawful to excavate human remains from an archaeological site without legal permission. Osteoarchaeologists must familiarise themselves with the legal framework and behavioral norms pertaining to human remains of the country they are working in.