Of the parts of the human body, the bones have a unique durability that lends itself to collection. Provided a body has not been cremated, the skeletal remains can be recovered even millions of years after death, cleaned of flesh and debris, studied at length, and stored indefinitely without the maintenance that wet specimens require. Motivations for collecting human skeletal material range from the practical (in anthropology, medicine, forensics) to the ritualistic (phrenology, in the relics of martyrs and saints). This book is an examination of those motivations and the collections they have brought about - catacombs, ossuaries, mass graves, prehistoric excavations, private collections, and institutions. The book contains sections on procuring, handling, storing, transporting, cleaning, and identifying skeletal remains. The repatriation of remains and legislation covering the topic are also addressed.
Politics-Social-Sciences, Anthropology, Cultural,