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Ancient History Essay 24/25: Ethical issues related to the study of human remains in Pompeii and Herculaneum

Ancient History

9 Pages Essays / Projects Year: Pre-2018

How and why has the understanding of ethical issues related to the study of human remains in Pompeii and Herculaneum changed over time? “Together, the buried cities of Vesuvius form the longest continuously excavated archaeological zone in the world- an honor they can never lose, and a burden they can never shift.” The human remains discovered at Pompeii and Herculaneum have captivated modern audiences, such as the fascinating “Ring Lady” in Source A. Excavations have revealed unprecedented examples of preserved remains, as seen in Source B, and inspired a passion to develop knowledge of the past. The recent collision of archaeology and ethics, however, has transformed these sites into ethical minefields, and Source C shows our understanding of the relevant ethical issues rapidly changing. The development of archaeology as a discipline as well as advancements in technology have altered the nature of the study of these human remains, and accelerated the improvement in our understanding of ethical issues. Sources D, E, F, G and H all demonstrate changing ethical concerns which fall into three broad areas; the display, ownership and treatment of human remains at Pompeii and Herculaneum.


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