Ethics and Human Remains

  • Soren BlauEmail author
Living reference work entry

… 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)

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). 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 value systems, namely, their own definitions of what is considered right (appropriate) and wrong (Walker 2000: 20; White 2000: 319). Because of the emotive nature of death, the treatment of human remains is often contentious and poses many ethical dilemmas.

Locating and Recovering Human Remains: Digging Up the Dead

While human remains may be located...

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Copyright information

© Springer International Publishing AG 2018

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.Victorian Institute of Forensic Medicine/Department of Forensic Medicine, Monash UniversityMelbourneAustralia

Section editors and affiliations

  • Soren Blau
    • 1
  • Luis Fondebrider
    • 2
  • Douglas H. Ubelaker
    • 3
  1. 1.Department of Forensic MedicineVictorian Institute of Forensic Medicine / Monash UniversityMelbourneAustralia
  2. 2.The Argentine Forensic Anthropology Team (Equipo Argentino de Antropología Forense, EAAF)Buenos AiresArgentina
  3. 3.National Museum of Natural HistorySmithsonian InstitutionWashingtonUSA