Human Remains: Guide for Museums and Academic Institutions

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9780759109551: Human Remains: Guide for Museums and Academic Institutions

This edited volume contains valuable information for museums and academic institutions concerning the care and conservation of human remains. The editors provide all the essential information required concerning the curation of human remains, from oft posed ethical questions to storage and transport issues. Jam-packed with references, this collection is up to date and is a must have resource. This volume should be required reading for institutions with osteology collections, as well as scholars and students. With a foreword by Brian Fagan.

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About the Author:

Vicki Cassman is Assistant Professor of Conservation at the University of Delaware. Nancy Odegaard is Professor of Anthropology at the University of Arizona as well as a conservator at the Arizona State Museum.Joseph Powell is Assistant Professor of Anthropology at the University of New Mexico, Albuquerque and a physical anthropologist.


This book is an excellent and comprehensive resource that incorporates both theory and practical guidelines to elucidate a very complex and sensitive subject. It is an important review of a continually evolving aspect of anthropological and museum science with a global focus. The answers, guidance, and cultural insights that it provides will be useful to professionals, students, and other stakeholders endeavoring to balance the issues and concerns involved with human remains. (Paul S. Storch, Senior Objects Conservator, Minnesota Historical Society, Contributing author: Caring for American Indian Objects: A Practical a)

At the foundation of this terrific volume is respect for the deceased who are revered by descendent communities, excavated by archaeologists,analyzed by interdisciplinary teams of scientists, and preserved and curated by conservators and curators. All of these groups will benefit from the wealth of information in this book on the ethical handling, management, and care of human remains in the field, lab, repository, and beyond. The case studies and guidelines are especially potent and useful. A must for all who care about and work with human remains or ever think they might. (S. Terry Childs, co-author of Curating Archaeological Collections: From the Field to the Repository)

This important collection of papers provides discussion of and recommendations for the recovery, treatment, documentation, curation, and study of human remains, largely from the perspective of conservation and the long-term commitment to care of skeletons. The conservation point of view has been expressed in various literatures over the years, but nowhere has it been done so in such an interesting and comprehensive fashion, all under the cover of a single book. The various and thoughtful perspectives represented in this book gives much material for discussion about the central importance of conservation of the remains of ancestors. Although the book is intended mainly for institutions and the collections that may be under their care, this book is a must read for a wider audience-anyone who deals with human remains derived from any context. (Clarke Spencer Larsen, Distinguished Professor of Social and Behavioral Sciences and Chair, Department of Anthropology, The Ohio State University)

This book would be a useful reference for anyone involved with the recovery, care or treatment of human remains. It combines both practical and philosophical considerations of a complex and contentious area of archaeology, conservation and museology. (Journal Of Cac, February 2009)

The authoritative guide to the institutional curation of human remains will serve as the ultimate reference for decades. From ethics to insects, these internationally-recognized authors offer solutions to everyday concerns of museum and institutional curation of human remains. (Professor Arthur Aufderheide, M.D., University of Minnesota)

This handsome and unique book can serve both as a reference guide and as a comprehensive manual for establishing policies related to the curation and conservation of human skeletal remains. With a title that is printed on the spine in a large and legible font and possessing a colorful yet durable pictorial cover, it is ready to be plucked off the bookshelf, quickly consulted and swiftly returned to its designated spot among other frequently used reference works. It is appropriate for students, professionals, and stakeholders who are concerned with the ethical care of human remains collections....This revolutionary book contains all the tools needed to begin the process of creating or revising policy so as to meet the goals set by the authors: improved preservation and management practices in concert with new attitudes that approach these remains with respectful concern for their humanity.

(Museum Anthropology Review)

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