TAG2019-UCL has ended
The UCL Institute of Archaeology is delighted to host the 41st annual Theoretical Archaeology Group Conference in December 2019. Founded in 1937, the Institute is one of the largest centres for world archaeology, archaeological sciences and heritage & museum studies in the UK, situated in the heart of the capital.

Venue: UCL Institute of Education, 20 Bedford Way, London WC1H 0AL
Back To Schedule
Tuesday, December 17 • 2:00pm - 5:30pm
TAG27 | The treatment of the dead in current archaeological practice: exploring knowledge gain, value and the ethical treatment of remains from burial ground excavations for HS2 in a national and international context

Sign up or log in to save this to your schedule, view media, leave feedback and see who's attending!

The treatment of the dead in current archaeological practice: exploring knowledge gain, value and the ethical treatment of remains from current major burial ground excavations for HS2 in London and Birmingham, alongside comparative investigations in the UK, Europe and internationally. The current archaeological excavations at two large urban cemeteries at St James Gardens, Euston, and Park Street Gardens, Birmingham, as part of the HS2 Historic Environment Research and Delivery Strategy, are providing significant insights into the treatment of the dead in the late eighteenth and nineteenth centuries. The identification of named individuals, including the recent discovery of Captain Matthew Flinders, has also raised the profile of historical human remains in the present and the potential political significance of such discoveries. The scale of the burial ground excavations at Park St and St James, with the latter containing tens of thousands of buried individuals, raises questions about contemporary attitudes to the mass excavation of human remains. Excavations of human remains at this scale place a focus upon ethical and social considerations regarding their treatment through the processes of excavation, study and reburial as well as the personal responses of those involved in the excavation process. Archaeological excavation may be considered an acceptable treatment of the remains of the dead, in return for scientific knowledge. It is, however, necessary to consider how archaeological excavation and scientific study of human remains contribute to our understanding of past societies, how research aims are determined and what the potential impact of that knowledge is to those in the present. The session will explore attitudes to the treatment of the dead in present and past societies, how burial ground excavations are perceived from a public and political perspective and question the processes of selection for study. Papers will discuss these themes with comparative burial ground studies in the UK, Europe and United States.

Organisers: Michael Court; HS2 • Andrea Bradley; HS2 Ltd. • John Halsted; HS2

14:00 | Session organisers | Introduction

14:10 | Mary Ruddy, WSP; Mike Kimber, MHI | Doing the right thing? A can of ethical worms.

14:35 | Caroline Raynor, Costain-Skanska | The social impact and effects on wellbeing of working with human remains at St James’s Gardens, Euston

15:00 | John Lawson, City of Edinburgh Council | Archaeology through the fence line: The excavation of medieval human remains in Leith

15:25 | - | BREAK

15:55 | Kae Neustadt, Atkins | The challenges of scientific research on human remains – a comparison with the work of colleagues in the USA

16:20 | Louise Loe, Oxford Archaeology | Identifying the Missing: The excavation of First World War Mass Graves at Fromelles, Northern France

16:45 | Katie Dalmon, University of Alba Iulia, Romania | Improving scientific research outcomes from human remains excavated in Romania

17:10 | Andrea Bradley, HS2 Ltd. | Discussion

17:30 | - | END


John Lawson

City of Edinburgh Council

Katie Dalmon

University of Alba Iulia, Romania

Louise Loe

Oxford Archaeology

Andrea Bradley

The University of York

Tuesday December 17, 2019 2:00pm - 5:30pm GMT
Room 784 20 Bedford Way, Bloomsbury, London WC1H 0AL