The reasons underlying ethics within the archaeo-anthropological arena

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Rosagemma Ciliberti
Marta Licata


Human remains, post-mortem, ethical competence, healthcare, moral competence


Human historical findings of the past represent a precious scientific and cultural source for acquiring knowledge of humankind's evolution. 

In Italy, still timidly, albeit with a greater frequency if compared to the past, the ethical reflection is turning its attention over processing the material mentioned above, which dwells in an intermediate position between living and what cannot be deemed living anymore. 

The reasons for a specific codification aimed at processing those findings, with the ultimate goal of fostering the spreading of good practices among researchers and those who operate within the cultural heritage field, are miscellaneous. In the search for a balance between anthropologic, ethical, and religious instances evoked by these findings and those on the development of knowledge and scientific research, which those findings can ensure, ethical expertise may furnish the necessary coordinates to question the needed interventions within the area of interest in the view of specific human values. 

It is hence necessary to provide in the curricular path of archaeologists, anthropologists, physicians, biologists, museum curators and those working in this particular disciplinary field, a proper ethical education on the handling of these artefacts, which could ensure adequate consideration of the various interests and rights involved and a proper balance between research and respect.

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