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Department of Philosophy

Staff

Publication details for Professor Geoffrey Scarre

Scarre, Geoffrey. (2003). Archaeology and respect for the dead. Journal of applied philosophy 20(3): 237–249.

Author(s) from Durham

Abstract

Contemporary archaeologists commonly acknowledge moral responsibilities to the descendants of the subjects whose remains they disturb. There has been comparatively little reflection within the professional community on whether they have duties to the dead themselves. I argue that doing wrong to the dead is not reducible to harming their successors; that there are ways in which archaeologists can wrong the dead qua the living persons they once were; and that nevertheless this may not have such radical implications for the practice of archaeology as might first be imagined.