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Ethical considerations associated with the display & analysis of juvenile mummies of Palermo, Sicily

SQUIRES, Kirsty and Piombino-Mascali, Dario (2021) Ethical considerations associated with the display & analysis of juvenile mummies of Palermo, Sicily. In: AnthroEthics, 5th July 2021 - 9th July 2021, Staffordshire University.

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Abstract or description

The Capuchin Catacombs of Palermo (Sicily) is a unique and culturally rich site utilised from the late sixteenth to early twentieth century. The catacombs are home to the largest collection of partly or completely mummified remains (n=1284) in Europe, and the largest collection of juvenile mummies (n=163) in Sicily. As a result, the site attracts thousands of visitors every year. The aim of this presentation is to explore some of the ethical concerns associated with the display and analysis of mummified individuals, particularly juvenile mummies, at this site. The first part of this presentation will tackle ethical issues that arise when displaying mummified children and how best to educate visitors about the cultural and societal significance of the mummification of children in late modern Palermo. Subsequently, the importance of adopting non-invasive techniques in the investigation of mummified juvenile remains as a means of furthering our understanding of the lives and deaths of these individuals will be explored. The use of such methods is essential, not only for conservation purposes, but in order to respect the religious beliefs and wishes of the deceased and their next of kin. This presentation will demonstrate that ethical concerns can be alleviated by adopting a multi-disciplinary approach to research, and by working transparently and encouraging an open dialogue with religious groups and cultural heritage bodies. The outcome not only ensures that juvenile mummies are displayed and analysed appropriately, but guarantees the beliefs and wishes of the living, and deceased, are respected.

Item Type: Conference or Workshop Item (Paper)
Uncontrolled Keywords: Mummy studies, Bioarchaeology, Display, Non-invasive investigation, Sicily, Ethics, ethical issues, bioethics, virtual analysis, virtual osteology, human osteology, anatomy, pathology, mummy, Italy, Palermo, Europe, natural mummy, Capuchin Catacombs, Bioanthropology ethics, Ethical concerns
Faculty: School of Law, Policing and Forensics > Forensic Sciences and Policing
Event Title: AnthroEthics
Event Location: Staffordshire University
Event Dates: 5th July 2021 - 9th July 2021
Depositing User: Kirsty SQUIRES
Date Deposited: 12 Jul 2021 08:57
Last Modified: 24 Feb 2023 14:02

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