Funded by the Flemish Heritage Agency, MEMOR will create an inventory of all available human skeletal collections (burnt and unburnt) in Flanders. For this purpose, an open access database will be created to provide information on the excavation, site, size of the collection, time period, conditions of the bone material (burnt or unburnt), availability and accessibility, and where the collections are stored. The database will initially be filled with information on human skeletal collections alone, but by the end of this project, more categories can be added, such as the presence and nature of grave goods and animal remains. The second aspect of MEMOR revolves around the ethical aspect of working with human remains and how to develop a ‘best-practice’. Questions such as: “What part of the excavated human skeletal collection can be discarded” or “How long do human skeletons need to be stored” are a vital part in the discussion. Together with several different parties, such as archaeologists, physical anthropologists, religious organisations, and museums, an ethical framework will be developed.
The aim of this project, therefore, is twofold. Firstly, an open access database is created that provides a complete overview of all available human skeletal collections in Flanders. Secondly, an ethical framework will be developed by discussing ethical issues with a variety of partners, including several religious organisations, which will improve the choices regarding the keeping, storing, and/or reburying of human remains.
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