As I’ve indicated in the past, I’ve been working with a team of researchers here at UC Berkeley to document a previously uninvestigated collection in the Phoebe A. Hearst Museum. As we have been getting further with the materials, it has become clear that we needed an unambiguous stance for our particular project’s goals in studying human remains and digital distribution of images of artifacts associated with these remains. So we cooked up a nice collaborative work in google docs (which I’ve been using heavily for collaboration–it’s great!) and posted it on the BBP Blog, located here:
Here’s an excerpt from the digital documentation side:
Given that the Bahrain Bioarchaeology Project is working with human remains excavated in the 1940s by Peter Bruce Cornwall, who did not receive prior consent from the national government of Bahrain or from regional interests, we feel that we must be explicit in our methodology and goals in depicting the excavated materials curated in the Phoebe A. Hearst Museum. In this digital age it is easy for members of western academic institutions to share both visual and textual information regarding our research and while it is often desirable to keep an open dialogue with fellow colleagues and an interested public, this same openess can be seen as disrespectful when the display of human remains and associated artifacts runs contrary to the desires and beliefs of stakeholders associated with the site. We believe that it is important to clarify this relationship and our stance regarding the data we are gathering as part of the Bahrain Bioarchaeology Project (BBP).
You can read the rest here: http://bbproject.wordpress.com/2009/06/09/bahrain-bioarchaeology-ethics-statement/