Cities of Vesuvius: Ethical Issues

Cities of Vesuvius: Ethical Issues

Pompeii and Herculaneum

Reconstructing and Conserving the Past - Ethical Issues

Below are a list of useful resources relating to the many ethical issues currently faced at Pompeii and Herculaneum, specifically, issues with excavation, conservation, theft and the study and display of human remains.

Suggested resources to prompt discussion in the classroom

E. Finn, “Pompeii should teach us to celebrate people’s lives, not mock their death” The Conversation (27 June 2018).
This thought-provoking opinion piece draws attention to the many issues surrounding the display of human remains, specifically in relation to the recent excavation of a seemingly decapitated skeleton in Regio V.

A. Borchi, “Pompeii’s stolen frescoes are the latest case in a long history of neglect” The Conversation (25 March 2014).
In the wake of a fresco being stolen from Pompeii in 2014 this article explores the black-market trade and topic of stolen antiquities:

K. Killgrove, “New Skeletons from Pompeii Shed Light on Humans Response to Disaster”, Forbes Magazine (25 October 2019).
Discusses issues surrounding the treatment of human remains.

The Pompeii Casts Project.
This collaborative project seeks to debunk the myths surrounding the plaster casts of Pompeii, challenge previous interpretations of these individuals and provide the victims of Vesuvius with the respect they deserve through their scientific analysis:

L. O'Neill, "Skeletal analysis reveals Pompeii myths are getting long in the tooth", University of Sydney media release (18 Aug 2016).
This University of Sydney news article provides a summary of the current work being conducted on the Pompeii plaster casts and skeletal remains by Dr Estelle Lazer.

E. Lazer, Resurrecting Pompeii (London and New York, 2009).
See especially the section on "Skeletons as Artefacts" on pages 5-9.

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