Mr Simon Hughes, BA MSc
Museums, curation and the preservation of human remains in the UK
Research on Human Remains in a Museum Context: Storage, Study or Reburial?
The primary aim of this research is to evaluate the relationship between the history and extent of research (published and in the grey literature) conducted on a skeletal collection curated in a museum and its current state of preservation, and particularly whether there is evidence of deterioration of the collection. The secondary aim is to create or improve a method for recording preservation in skeletal remains. Although scales currently exist for recording preservation, it is hoped that a new method would be more detailed and more applicable to skeletal damage caused by post-excavation treatment, meaning it is therefore more practical for researchers to use on curated collections.
The overall outcome of this study would be to explore if the research outcomes outweigh the impact of deterioration on the remains. Equally it may be discovered that the deterioration of the remains is minimal, meaning that research on them should continue whilst they are currently being curated and the research funding exists for such studies.
Staff Member and Volunteer Coordinator at the Durham Museum and Heritage Centre