Bioarchaeological Conservation and Ethics in Mainland Southeast Asia


This paper identifies the ethical and conservation challenges of working with skeletal remains from mainland Southeast Asia, a region including Thailand, Cambodia, Laos, Vietnam and Myanmar. Due to the increasing political rest experienced over the past decades, researchers have had better opportunities to work in these countries, with relatively easier access to appropriate permissions to excavate archaeological sites. The first-hand accounts of bioarchaeological research conducted by the authors, including current field and laboratory analysis issues will be discussed. Some of the challenges within local bioarchaeological practice include the development of local expertise, limited finances, challenging environmental and storage conditions, a lack of resources and specialized equipment, and restricted access to materials and sites. These concerns can limit the methods available for the analysis of human skeletal remains in this region, sometimes hampering chances for publication with the expectation of the use of new technologies in bioarchaeology. For example, the practice of display of human remains in open-air museums, and local museums run by the local communities in Southeast Asia will be discussed. This presentation also identifies several examples of recent challenges with bioarchaeological ethics, including exporting bone samples for analyses to other international universities.

Cite this Record

Bioarchaeological Conservation and Ethics in Mainland Southeast Asia. Jennifer Newton, Kate Domett, Siân Halcrow, Korakot Boonlop. Presented at The 81st Annual Meeting of the Society for American Archaeology, Vancouver, British Columbia. 2017 ( tDAR id: 431468)


Spatial Coverage

min long: 66.885; min lat: -8.928 ; max long: 147.568; max lat: 54.059 ;

Record Identifiers

Abstract Id(s): 17113