chapter  8
22 Pages


This final chapter considers some underlying reasons why forensic archaeology and anthropology are such popular subjects within the UK and internationally, and how they sit within a wider social and ethical framework (see also Cox 2001). Neither is simple to define. Popularity is ostensibly a result of archaeologists and anthropologists responding to a need to deploy familiar principles and techniques within the judicial system; it allows them to enhance criminal investigation procedures and provides some satisfaction in contributing to society. Conversely, the perceived lack of support for, and interest in, forensic archaeology from within the traditional discipline of archaeology, suggests that the readiness of increasing numbers of archaeologists to participate in this new discipline has a more fundamental basis (see, for example, the recent establishment of ‘Archaeologists for Human Rights’; http 1). With respect to ethics, there is no lesser difficulty in establishing, within an existing context of ethics and codes, a framework for these new disciplines. These are challenging and complex areas for a profession accustomed to dealing with anonymous human remains without living relatives. Further, they present particular challenges to those used to operating under a relatively minimum of legal constraints, with no particular implication regarding their findings or the manner by which results are achieved.