Dilmun Bioarchaeology Project

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Research on the ongoing work in the Hearst museum on the Cornwall collection.

DBP Query about Ethics Published by the IVSA

The International Visual Sociology Association published their new statement of ethics in the latest issue of their society’s journal, Visual Studies. Included in the introduction to the code of ethics is an email that I sent to the IVSA mailing list, quoted almost in full:

…As part of a wider research project researching human remains and associated artifacts excavated in 1940s Bahrain and currently curated in our Anthropology museum, we have been developing an ethics statement regarding in part the visual documentation and dissemination of materials related to the project.  As many list members may know, the visual display of human remains has become a contentious issue in archaeology and this has become even more complicated by our wish to share research with our colleagues and the public on the internet.

Most ethics statements I have seen primarily deal with people who are still living or with museum display standards–I would appreciate any insights regarding the ethics of display of past peoples and artifacts on the internet. As background we are basing most of our practices on the World Archaeological Congress’ various ethics accords, but could probably stand to shore up our arguments from other literature.

Again, any comments or insights would be appreciated!

In the coming weeks we will review the IVSA statement to see how well it meshes with our existing statement. The ethics of depiction of past people and artifacts remains a topic of deep interest for our research group, so watch this space for more updates!

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Filed under: archaeology, Ethics, , ,

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