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Ethical Considerations Associated with the Display and Analysis of Juvenile Mummies from the Capuchin Catacombs of Palermo, Sicily

SQUIRES, Kirsty and Piombino-Mascali, Dario (2022) Ethical Considerations Associated with the Display and Analysis of Juvenile Mummies from the Capuchin Catacombs of Palermo, Sicily. Public Archaeology. ISSN 1753-5530

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Abstract or description

The Capuchin Catacombs of Palermo (Sicily) are a unique and culturally rich site utilized from the late sixteenth to mid-twentieth century. The Catacombs are home to the largest collection (n = 1,284) of partly or completely mummified remains in Europe, and the largest assemblage of juvenile mummies (n = 163) in Sicily. As a result, the site attracts thousands of visitors every year. This raises a number of ethical concerns in terms of the preservation, display, and scientific analysis of these mummies. This article will investigate the ethical challenges associated with the display and analysis of juvenile mummified individuals in the Capuchin Catacombs. Initially, ethical issues that arise when displaying mummified children at a visitor site will be explored. Subsequently, the value of adopting non-invasive techniques to answer highly focused, ethically grounded research questions will be addressed. Furthermore, this article will demonstrate the importance of transparent, open dialogue with religious groups and cultural heritage bodies in the study of juvenile mummies. Recommendations for best practice are provided at the end of this paper. These guidelines aim to ensure that juvenile mummies are displayed and analysed appropriately, whilst simultaneously respecting the beliefs and wishes of the living and deceased.

Item Type: Article
Uncontrolled Keywords: Bioarchaeology; Human Remains; Juveniles; Display; Museum; Catacombs; Public Archaeology
Faculty: School of Law, Policing and Forensics > Forensic Sciences and Policing
Depositing User: Kirsty SQUIRES
Date Deposited: 25 Mar 2022 14:13
Last Modified: 24 Sep 2023 01:38

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