CA Forum on Anthropology in Public: Archeological Human Remains: Scientific, Cultural, and Ethical Considerations

by D. Gareth Jones, Robyn J. Harris
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Title:
CA Forum on Anthropology in Public: Archeological Human Remains: Scientific, Cultural, and Ethical Considerations
Author:
D. Gareth Jones, Robyn J. Harris
Year: 
1998
Publication: 
Current Anthropology
Volume: 
39
Issue: 
2
Start Page: 
253
End Page: 
264
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Language: 
English
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CURRENTANTHROPOLOGY
 
Volume 39, Number 2, April 1998 O 1998 by The Wenner-Gren Foundation for Anthropological Research. All rights reserved ~~II-~~o~/~~/~~o~-ooo~$I.oo
 
CA* FORUM ON ANTHROPOLOGY IN PUBLIC
Archeological Human Remains
 
Scientific, Cultural, and Ethical Considerations
by D. Gareth Jones and Robyn J. Harris1
 
Recent developments regarding the repatriation of hu- man skeletal remains have raised questions of profound significance for both archeologists and anthropologists. The various responses to these questions have tended to focus on the implications of these developments for the future of the academic disciplines and skirted the ethical issues at stake. In addition, little attention has been devoted to the relationship between approaches to human slzeletal remains and to dead human bodies. As a result, discussions of skeletal remains tend to occur in isolation and fail to benefit from a consideration of values considered relevant in related areas. From our perspective as anatomists, we will apply a broader anal- ysis to the issue of archeological human remains; in de- termining relevant values, we will draw on the experi- ence of other disciplines involved in research on human tissue and human material.
 
Background
 
Reflection upon the repatriation of human skeletal re- mains brings to the fore two opposing forces: the West- ern scientific values of archeology and a global cultural renaissance among indigenous peoples. Some writers see these as implacable opponents, the one represent- ing sensitivity and the other militancy and obduracy (Gough 1996). Concern has been expressed that destruc- tion of ancient evidence by indigenous communities simply replaces European cultural imperialism (Mulva-
 
I. Department of Anatomy and Structural Biology, University of Otago, P.O. Box 913, Dunedin, New Zealand (gareth.jones@stone bow.otago.ac.nz].
 
ney 1989, 1991). An additional concern is that physical
 
anthropology as a field of academic study and the free-
 
dom of scholarly and scientific disciplines to define
 
their own goals and chart their own courses are being
 
replaced by a repatriation agenda (Meighan 1992, 1993;
 
Maslen 1995).
 
Views of this nature have emerged against the back- ground of the now commonplace return of slzeletal re- mains from anatomy departments, medical schools, and museums to tribes for reburial. For instance, in 1991 the University of Edinburgh returned nine Tasmanian Ab- original slzulls housed for more than a century in its Anatomy Department to Australian government repre- sentatives. Also returned was a collection of over 300 Aboriginal bones, including skulls or cranial fragments and four skeletons (Aldhous 1991). Remains of Aborigi- nal skeletal material have also been returned from other European universities and museums, including Bradford University, the Pitt-Rivers Museum at Oxford, the Pe- terborough City Museum, and Dublin University. Aus- tralian universities and museums have also returned slzeletal material for reburial; particularly contentious was the return of the human remains from Kow Swamp by the Museum of Victoria. These bones were estimated to have been between 9,000 and 15,ooo years old (Mulvaney 1990) and raised the issue of where the re- sponsibility lies for bones hundreds of generations re- moved from living Aboriginal Australians (Mulvaney 1991). Similarly, 14,ooo-year-old bones from Coobool Creek in the Murray Black collection [1,8o0 slzeletons) were returned to Aboriginal communities (Mulvaney 1989, Ewing 1990).
 
In the United States, remains of Native American people have been returned for reburial by universities such as Stanford, Minnesota, South Dakota, and Ne- braska and by the Smithsonian Institution, which had a collection of 18,000 mostly prehistoric bones [Bahn 1989, Lindley 1989). A bitterly divisive case of repatria- tion involved the 1991 return by the Smithsonian of 756 sets of slzeletal remains comprising an estimated ~,ooo individuals and a large collection of associated funerary objects to the people of Larsen Bay, Kodiak Island, off the southwestern coast of Alaska. The bones dated back 2,000 years and had been collected in the 1930s from some 800 unmarked graves. The scale of this repatria- tion was unprecedented in the history of the museum, and negotiations between the two parties were pro- tracted and sometimes hostile. Within the archeologi- cal community the case evoked considerable disquiet (Bray and Killion 1994). Other contentious repatriations include those of remains from the 2,ooo-year-old Adena mound in West Virginia and a ~o,ooo-year-old skeleton found in Idaho (Meighan 1993). It has been conserva- tively estimated that between the Mississippi River and the Continental Divide and the Canadian and Mexican borders, 5,124 excavated mortuary sites have so far pro- duced the remains of 52,540 individuals (Rose, Green, and Green 1996). With figures of this magnitude, dis- putes concerning the correct treatment of skeletal re- mains and their repatriation will continue.
 
254 1 CURRENT ANTHROPOLOGY Volume 39, Number 2, April 1998
 
The appropriate treatment of ancient slzeletal re- mains will remain highly problematic and contentious. In a very recent example, bones estimated to be 9,300 years old were uncovered in the state of Washington. Since the bones make up one of the oldest and most complete skeletons ever found in the Pacific North- west, they have the potential to yield important infor- mation about the lives and ethnic backgrounds of the first people to colonise America, but current U.S. law requires that they be handed back to the indigenous people of the area, the Umatillas. The likely outcome is reburial of the bones according to their customs and beliefs. Many anthropologists involved in the case be- lieve that since the skeleton's features do not suggest any close relationship to the Umatillas, it is inappropri- ate for its fate to rest solely with the Umatillas (Lem- onick 1996).
 
The time span of these slzeletal remains is crucial, ranging from a few generations to as many as 400-1,200 generations before the present (Mulvaney 1989). At the recent end of this range, one is dealing with spiritual and cultural values similar to those of contemporary so- cieties; at the remote end, the relevant values have to do with their significance for global history.
 
Policy Developments
 
The repatriation of human remains has become an issue of such importance that clearly articulated policy state- ments are required. Policies have now been issued by the community of archeologists, by indigenous peoples' groups, and by state and federal governments.
 
In 1991, the World Archaeological Congress outlined a range of ethical principles for approaching the study of human skeletal material. These guidelines include a number of principles for archeologists working with indigenous populations, among them the following (quoted in Powell, Garza, and Hendricks 1993:6-7):
 
To aclznowledge the importance of indigenous cul-
 
tural heritage, including sites, places, objects, arte-
 
facts, human remains, to the survival of indigenous
 
cultures;
 
To acknowledge the importance of protecting cul-
 
tural heritage to the well being of indigenous peoples;
 
To aclznowledge that the important relationship
 
between indigenous peoples and their cultural heri-
 
tage exists irrespective of legal ownership;
 
To aclznowledge that indigenous cultural heritage
 
rightfully belongs to the indigenous descendants of
 
that heritage;
 
To seek, whenever possible, representation of in-
 
digenous peoples in agencies funding or authorising
 
research to be certain their view is considered as
 
critically important in setting research standards,
 
questions, priorities and goals.
 
A previous World Archeological Congress in 1989 had issued the Vermillion Accord, with its stress on mutual respect and cooperation between archeologists and in- digenous peoples (Bulmer 1991). Included in this accord was respect for the mortal remains of the dead and re- spect for the wishes of the dead concerning their dispo- sition, on the one hand, and respect for the scientific research value of slzeletal remains, on the other.
 
A number of professional bodies in the United States, including the American Anthropological Association, the Society for American Archaeology, the American Society for Conservation Archaeology, and the Society of Professional Archaeologists, have issued professional ethical guidelines. A review of the details of these poli- cies appears elsewhere (Watkins et al. 1995).
 
The Australian Archaeological Association has is- sued a policy supporting the transfer of post-1788 re- mains to communities (Meehan 1984). It has endorsed the return of Aboriginal slzeletal remains of known indi- viduals according to the wishes of the deceased or to an appropriate Aboriginal community. Particular empha- sis was placed on fostering a collaboration between the Aboriginal community and the archeological profession with the aim of protecting and preserving prehistoric sites, and the establishment of Aboriginal keeping places and the training of Aboriginal people to main- tain these places were recommended. The policy also stressed that all other Aboriginal skeletal remains are of scientific importance and should not be destroyed through reburial or cremation.
 
In a number of jurisdictions, legislation has been passed to regulate the storage, study, and repatriation of human slzeletal material. In 1990 the U.S. Congress passed the Native American Graves Protection and Re- patriation Act (NAGPRA), the culmination of more than two decades of lobbying by Native American groups for the return of human remains (for a historical overview of the act, see Ferguson 1996). We do not in- tend to engage in a detailed discussion of this legislation here, but brief consideration of its general principles is relevant to the purpose of this article.
 
First, NAGPRA asserts that human remains do not belong to individuals or to institutional or governmen- tal organisations. Secondly, it declares that descendants have the right to determine what happens to human re- mains. Although the law grants Native Americans the right to repatriate human remains from federal and In- dian land, it does not ban excavation of or research on Native American skeletons. What the law does demand is consultation with Native Americans concerning what is done with skeletal material (Rose, Green, and Green 1996). To assist in this aim, institutions are re- quired to prepare inventories of their collections of hu- man skeletal remains. The law provides criteria to as- sist in assessing which tribal group is the appropriate custodian of given remains. Even so, one of the most difficult issues in relation to this legislation is de- termining which tribe or tribes are culturally affiliated with the skeletal remains and associated artefacts (Rose, Green, and Green 1996).
 
In other jurisdictions, Australian federal law states that all remains pre-1770 are by definition Aboriginal and must be controlled by Aboriginal authorities. In Is- rael, a new interpretation by the government of the An- tiquities Act has led to the reburial of all human re- mains younger than 5,000 years (Koch and Sillen 1996).
 
Archeologists and anthropologists in New Zealand are facing the same ethical issues as have arisen in Australia, Britain, and the United States (Gathercole and Lowenthal 1990). The indigenous people of New Zealand, the Maori, are becoming increasingly active in determining the disposition of the skeletal remains of their ancestors and items of cultural significance (taonga Maori). In current legislation, excavated mate- rial belongs to the crown, and archeologists must apply to the government for permission to excavate. The granting of such a permit is conditional upon the ap- proval of the local Maori people, and, where excavation is approved, researchers hold the material for the mu- seum which is ultimately to store it. Proposed legisla- tion would create a governmental agency with responsi- bility for the establishment of a register of taonga held overseas to ensure that they could not be sold without prior consultation with Maori and for securing the re- turn of skeletal remains or, where this is not vossible.
 
remains (koiwi tangata) found in its tribal area (rohe) are to be managed (Gillies and O'Regan 1994). As a gen- eral principle, the policy specifies that authority and control over ancestral bones should be revested in iwi. The tribe regards the collection and possession of tribal koiwi tangata by anyone other than the tribe itself as abhorrent and culturally insensitive. Its clear preference is that, wherever possible, koiwi tangata in situ should not be disturbed and that the integrity of burial sites should remain intact. Where the koiwi tangata have al- ready been removed from the site, the policy calls for the repatriation to the iwi of those remains under its jurisdiction. The iwi has negotiated the arrangement of secure keeping places in existing museums to which the koiwi tangata can be removed pending scientific in- vestigation and a final decision as to the proper place for the remains (Gillies and O'Regan 1994).
 
Far from advocating wholesale reburial, the policy recognizes that scholarly investigation can play a role in furthering an understanding of tribal ancestry and that appropriate research in this area is a legitimate scien- tific interest. However, the policy reserves the right of iwi to consider and edit for reasons of cultural sensitiv-
 
seeking to have them remoked from display (1nk 1~~6):
 
ity any material proposed for publication. For remains
 
As do other indigenous peoples, Maori groups call for full responsibility for the future control and manage- ment of their cultural heritage. In June 1993, a meeting of Maori representatives adopted the Mataatua Declara- tion on Cultural and Intellectual Property Rights of In- dinenous Peovles. This document, since tabled at the ~gited~atioLs,states that "indigknous peoples of the world have the right to self-determination; and in exer- cising that right must be recognised as the exclusive owners of their cultural and intellectual property; the first beneficiaries of indigenous knowledge (cultural and intellectual property rights) must be the direct in- digenous descendants of such knowledge" (quoted in Inns 1996:14). More recently, the Maori worldview has been stated by participants in a conference held to ex- plore the use of human genetic information. In this fo- rum, Maori in attendance unanimously agreed that tis- sue and other bodily material talzen from Maori always belongs to Maori and that the individual must always be in a vosition to make informed decisions on how such maierial can be used. Furthermore, it was stated that "whilst the spirit of science may be independent of commercial, political and religious interests, in real- ity it is often driven by those forces. Culturally unsafe scientific intrusion precludes acknowledgment of the Maori world view. This alienates Maori in yet another process of colonisation" (Baird et al. 1995:3). Calls have been made for museums to function less as the final resting places for artefacts and to acknowledge the con- tinuing relevance of taonga to a dynamic Maori culture and to New Zealand culture in general (Hogan 1995).
 
Each individual tribe (iwi) has responsibility for es- tablishing its own guidelines on the appropriate treat- ment of archeological remains. One of the larger tribal groups of New Zealand has been the first to produce a definitive policy on the manner in which any human unearthed now, the options are immediate reburial or removal to a safe keeping place pending scientific inves- tigation. The policy does not specify the basis on which decisions of this nature would be made.
 
Scientific Interest and Indigenous Concerns
 
On the surface, tension exists between scientific inter- est and the provision of valuable clues to humanity's past and the sacred feelings and beliefs of indigenous peoples. In its extreme form, this leads to antipathy be- tween scientists and indigenous peoples, although, as some of the policies already alluded to make clear, an- tagonism is not inevitable if an awareness of both posi- tions is talzen into account ( Goldstein and Kintigh I990, Ortner 1994, Murray 1996). Mulvaney (199 I) advocates a custodianship principle whereby the indigenous groups (Aboriginal groups in his discussion) act as cus- todians of the material rather than as all-inclusive own- ers of it. For him, this is more in harmony with the ethos of traditional culture and is a reflection of the fact that science and archeology are not white racial monop- olies but increasingly amenable to Aboriginal participa- tion. This participation will, in turn, serve as a means of deepening Aboriginal peoples' understanding of their own biological and cultural origins. In South Africa, this custodianship principle underlies the proposal to establish a community-run museum on the site of exca- vations from which local people could grant scientists permission to study slzeletal remains (Koch and Sillen 1996). In New Zealand terms, it is precisely this type of leadership shown by some Maori groups that has led to the insights and valuable possibilities of a policy such as that described above. Issues of sovereignty and frus- tration at the lack of recognition of unique cultural val-
 
256 I CURRENT ANTHROPOLOGY Volume 39, Number 2, April 1998
 
ues and worldview underpin many of the claims by in- digenous peoples for the return of ancestral remains.
 
On the scientific side, human skeletal material pro- vides essential information on topics ranging from the organization of tribal societies to the origin of diseases such as rheumatoid arthritis. Science as much as any other organized way of thinking can be viewed as a cul- ture with its own system of ethics. Goldstein and Kin- tigh (1ggo:5 86) have written: "Although anthropolo- gists are concerned about the cultural beliefs of the people they study, they also want to pursue the 'truth.'" Data of potential interest include blood groups and other genetic features, which are of considerable impor- tance for tracing interconnections between individuals from different regions. Significant information on di- etary and nutritional changes, life expectancy patterns and population density, health and diseases, surgical knowledge, and ritual practices also become available (Mulvaney 1989, 1990). Within a scientific framework, skeletal remains are part of the world's heritage, since the information they yield is relevant to and may even be said to belong to all human communities. In this sense, the remains are of such general interest that they should not be restricted to direct, let alone indirect, de- scendants.
 
When viewed alongside these arguments, the position of some indigenous peoples is strikingly different, since it emphasises respect for the remains of tribal ancestors and the religious and cultural importance of such re- spect. In many instances, this notion of respect is ac- companied by a right to determine precisely how the re- mains are treated-a right that contradicts any general interest others may express in the material. The focus on respect may itself be closely linked with a desire for restitution in the face of past mistreatment (past disre- spect) and therefore be part of an ongoing struggle for rights and recognition. At a different level there is the perception that much of the scientific work fails to use the skeletal remains available to investigators or that when it does the information obtained in these studies is not passed on to or shared with indigenous communi- ties (Elson 1989). In view of this, the communities feel that they are little more than bystanders, the remains of their forebears being used as a form of colonialism.
 
As already indicated, the scientific and indigenous positions are not inevitably poles apart. They represent two extremes that constitute the substratum on which confrontation can flourish. Additional com~lexities are introduced by the uniqueness of each caseIAthe unwillingness of governments to support science when seelz- ing reconciliation with indigenous peoples, and the in- creasing pressure to support the politics of indigenous heritage (Murray I996).
 
Pullar (1994) believes that the core difference be- tween the scientific community and indigenous peoples is their fundamentally different worldviews. According to him, it is because the two groups do not share con- cepts concerning time, death, and self-identity and ei- ther do not recognise the differences or are unable to comprehend each other's position that repatriation ne- gotiations can become so emotionally charged. The dif- ferences in the concept of time are an excellent illustra- tion of how these worldviews collide. Pullar writes
 
(P 19):
 
Western scientists see time as linear . . . a sequence
 
of events containing generations of people. In the
 
western world people are usually concerned with
 
only a very few generations into the past, rarely fur-
 
ther back than their grandparents. . . . to indigenous
 
people, time is circular. Those ancestors who may
 
have died hundreds of years ago are . . . still mem-
 
bers of the group of people living today.
 
The Maori understanding of time differs significantly from the traditional Western perspective. From a West- ern point of view, the past lies behind the individual and the future stretches out in front of him/her. In Maori culture the reverse is true-the past stretches out in front of the individual, because events of the past are well known, while the future is seen as standing behind them, because it cannot be seen and is unknowable. As a result of this worldview, the Maori regard the past as intertwined with the present and feel a spiritual link to their ancestors the extent of which is often seriously misunderstood by those from Western cultures. Ances- tors are accorded much higher value than merely signi- fying part of a historical record and therefore respect for indigenous peoples' cultural beliefs must incorporate respect for the remains of their ancestors.
 
The significance of this perception is the greater when it is recognised that scientific data are not empiri- cally given but constructed in relation to a specific worldview. According to Bray and Grant (1994:157), "Science should . . .be understood as embedded within a particular socioeconomic configuration and associ- ated with a specific world view. As the ideological and political motivations of scientific inquiry and so-called facts become more transparent, it is possible to see how indigenous interpretations of culture history can be ad- mitted as alternative ways of understanding the past." From this it is a short step to questioning the nature of science from the perspective of archeologists and an- thropologists and that of indigenous groups. While dis- cussion is usually based on the premise that this debate centres on science versus non-science (or even anti- science), it may on occasion centre on a clash between alternative approaches to science.
 
Assessing the Claims
 
Assessing these various claims is a complex matter in- volving permutations of three variables: the age of the skeletal material, the time at which the material was unearthed (ranging from the present to, most commonly, the 18th and 19th centuries), and the manner of death (at its extremes either natural death or murder). These three variables can be thought of as three inde- pendently operating sliding scales. A particular instance
Remote past (prehistoric) Recent pasr
 
Y
 
Variable 1
 
I I
 
Age of material
Eighteenth century Present
 
Variable 2
 
Z Y X
 
I I I
 
Time of discovery 1 I
Murder Natural death
 
Variable 3
YZ X
 
Manner of death I I
 
I I I
 
FIG. I. Three variables which have to be taken into account in assessing claims to skeletal material. X,Y,
 
and Z denote specimens of human remains.
 
of unearthed skeletal material will fit somewhere on the continuum of each variable (fig. I), and therefore at- tempts to devise broadly applicable rules for the han- dling of human skeletal material are fraught with diffi- culty.
 
Specimen X in figure I is prehistoric material un- earthed recently, and the death of the individual appears to have been due to natural causes. The predominant issue in this instance is its prehistoric dating and whether any indigenous groups should be able to lay claim to it. Specimen Y is from the recent past, was un- covered IOO years ago, and probably resulted from mur- der. Indigenous groups in the past have sought to have material in this category returned to them for reburial on account of its provenance and association with an atrocity committed against the group. Specimen Z is again prehistoric in origin, has been in a museum for many years, and appears to represent some form of rit- ual murder. No serious research has ever been carried out on it, and no indigenous group is requesting its return. Each of these hypothetical cases raises ethi- cal issues: who has sovereignty over the material, the relevance of the age of the material for claims of sover- eignty, whether any group (including a museum or uni- versity) can possess human material, the significance of the manner of death of the individual whose remains are under discussion, and whether the manner in which human remains are kept and what is done with them during this period are of ethical interest.
 
Our fundamental premises are that respect for the be- liefs and feelings of indigenous peoples is implicit in the respect we show them as human persons and that the human dignity of entire groups of peoples is inextrica- bly bound up with a study of the past (see also Bray 1996). Consequently, the basis ethical principles of au- tonomy, beneficence, non-maleficence, and justice have to be applied to groups of people rather than simply to individuals, and the welfare of the groups involves tak- ing account of the past and not just the present with some extension into the future. Acknowledgment of the autonomy of indigenous peoples confers on them responsibility for deciding what is done with skele- tal material. In a similar vein, beneficence and non- maleficence require that the scientific community take serious note of the mores of indigenous peoples and ac- knowledge the importance to them of skeletal remains. The application of justice requires that account be taken of any injustice in the past.
 
This interpretation of ethical principles may have negative implications for others in the community, in- cluding the scientific community, which is claiming to act on behalf of the interests of human beings in gen- eral. In our view, a balance has to be attained between these two sets of interests, with preference in this situa- tion given to indigenous groups. This is because the harm done to indigenous peoples by ignoring their in- terests is greater than any harm that results from ignor- ing the interests of the community in general or the sci- entific community in particular. This conclusion does not hold, however, when the skeletal remains are pre- historic and not directly linked to indigenous peoples today. In this circumstance, general human interests should take precedence.
 
The three specimens depicted in figure I highlight the unusual pressures brought to bear on these princi- ples. Consider the autonomy of indigenous people who might have an interest in specimen X. Their interest is dependent on their ability to demonstrate links be- tween this prehistoric material and themselves. In the absence of such links, their autonomy is not jeopardized by the specimen's being studied by others. As we shall see, there may be debate about what constitutes such links (scientific demonstration or cultural appropria- tion), but this introduces considerations beyond the present narrowly focused ethical ones. With specimen Y, the indigenous group in question has good grounds, on the basis of all four ethical principles alluded to, for sovereignty over the material. By reburying the material this group is not laying claim to the material but hon- ouring the remains of those now dead. With specimen Z, the ethical principles are not placed at risk as far as any indigenous group is concerned, but it can be argued that maintaining human remains in the absence of any good reason is itself an indignity.
 
258 I CURRENT ANTHROPOLOGY Volume 39, Number 2, April 1998
 
ETHICAL INTEREST OF DEAD HUMAN MATERIAL
 
The debate can now be broadened by considering why dead human material is normally considered to be of ethical interest. As demonstrated in discussions on the recently deceased human body, a close association ex- ists between the body and a known human person (Campbell et al. 1997). The rationale underlying this as- sociation is based on movement from the living to the dead, from knowledge of them as living persons to re- spect for those features most intimately associated with them when they were alive and functioning as persons. Even though this argument is based on a lznowledge of individual persons and their bodies, it can be extended to groups of persons and their bodies. However, can it be extended the far greater distance to the bodies or, more accurately, the skeletal remains of people long since deceased? If it can, what limits are there to this endeavour?
 
There appear to be certain limits, since most people do not have misgivings about looking at the remains of prehistoric individuals or Egyptian mummies. The ano- nymity of these remains protects both us and them, in that we do not expect too much of them but at the same time thev are sufficientlv similar to more familiar hu- man bodies to demand something of us. They evoke awe and reverence. We realize that even in circum- stances where no link can be established with a particu- lar living person or group of people, the material is still of human origin; it retains moral value because it has human connotations even in the absence of links with the uresent.
 
consider the ethical framework of a parallel area- the handling of genetic information. In this case a dis- tinction is made between the storage of personal genetic information about a specific person and the storage of anonymous genomic information in data banks. Infor- mation about identifiable individuals directly relates to specific people and is relevant to their welfare and well- being. As such, it is generally accepted that it should be obtained only after the person has given his/her in- formed consent and that the results should be keut con- fidential by those who gather it and shared on& with those to whom it refers. For anonymous genomic infor- mation, however, such ethical constraints do not apply, because the information is impersonal and widely appli- cable to humanity in general, just as information on the structure and function of the liver is impersonal infor- mation with wide applicability (Maddox 1992, Camp- bell et al. 1997)
 
Similarly, ancient skeletal remains, for which no links can be established with a direct descendant or a group of descendants, should be available for reputable scientific investigation, since the findings will, in the broadest terms, be applicable to all humanity. Using this approach, prehistoric bones from the Murray Black collection and the Larsen Bay collection, for instance, would not be reburied.
 
It is generally accepted that the study of human mate- rial is important for an understanding of human culture and that, in principle, there are no ethical problems as long as consent has been obtained (Goldstein and Kin- tigh 1990). Along the same lines, there is a legitimate place for the scientific study of archeological human re- mains, but does this apply in the absence of adequate consent? Until a few years ago, consent was rarely sought from anyone for the study of archeological re- mains, even where there were people with a direct in- terest in them. This either makes study of these re- mains unethical or renders consent less relevant than when dealing with other human remains.
 
We accept that consent should be obtained whenever possible. Where this was not done for material collected 50-150 years ago, a compromise position is that, if liv- ing descendants can be identified, discussions should now be held with them. The aim is agreement between archeologists and indigenous communities regarding the fate of the material-open availability for continu- ing study, the establishment of keeping places with agreed-upon access arrangements, or reburial. If the lat- ter eventuates, one possibility is a defined time for sci- entific study of the remains prior to reburial. Ideally, such cooperative solutions should be reached earlier rather than later and in a context of communion with and sensitivity to the concerns of any descendants (see also Goldstein and Kintigh 1990).
 
This does not, however, address the matter of remains, especially prehistoric ones, lacking identifiable descendants. In the absence of such, what becomes of consent? The distance of many of the remains from the present and the inevitable lack of clear associations with the living suggest that whatever consent may be required is far less demanding than that required when dealing with identifiable and identifiably related remains. In this instance, consent is of secondary impor- tance, since what now becomes of preeminent signifi- cance is the best uses to which the material can be put in terms of its contribution to an understanding of hu- man development and culture. Implicit in this conclu- sion is another, namely, that this general significance cannot be overridden by the demands of special interest groups (calling, for instance, for reburial). No group can override the material's general interest.
 
NEWLY DISCOVERED REMAINS
 
The discussion thus far has revolved around reburial of remains currently in museums or laboratories. But what about newly discovered remains? A frequent as- sumption appears to be that these should be handed over to living descendants for immediate reburial.
 
Although the decision is for descendants to make, it is possible that they could themselves benefit from study of the remains. For instance, assistance may be provided with the definitive identification of the mate- rial. Beyond this, scientific examination of the material in the field may be able to provide basic identification of the person, indicating height and weight, and an esti- mate of how long ago the burial took place. This would give an impression of the person/people represented by the skeletal material. Another possibility, dependent upon a few days' access to the material in a laboratory, might include the provision of data on age, sex, and health status. Measurements could be taken and infor- mation (including photographs and radiographs) recorded in a permanent database. Retention of skeletal fragments would open the possibility for future analy- ses including DNA, isotope, or trace-element analysis (Ross 1992). These benefits reflect the perspective of Western science, and an important step in this process may be discussion of the indigenous groups' perceptions of how science (in their terms) may be expected to bene- fit them.
 
Currently in South Africa the scientific study of hu- man skeletal remains is able to offer ~ractical benefits for living indigenous people. The South African govern- ment has set the target of returning 30% of the coun- trv's arable land to its original owners within the next
 
L,
 
five years. The commission established to assess the land claims is recognising graves as legitimate evidence of occupation before the introduction of the segregation and apartheid laws, and exhumed bones can be used as evidence in support of the land claim if DNA tests link the remains to living people (Koch and Sillen 1996).
 
There is a hierarchy of possibilities here, each step de- pending upon a close working relationship between in- digenous groups and scientists (and all dependent on the granting of appropriate permission). Even if such possi- bilities are rarely acted upon, they are meant to stimu- late discussion about the reasoning behind reburial when information of interest to indigenous groups can be elicited. Thev should also focus attention on the need to specify the nature of the differences, if any, be- tween material that has lingered in museums for aeons and that which has been recentlv unearthed. We are un- able to detect any differences. ~ecentl~
 
uncovered ma- terial from the prehistoric past is exactly the same as material uncovered many years ago. We believe that the scientists involved in uncovering the material should
 
-
 
have a major say in its short-term fate, since its avail- ability is entirely dependent on their efforts.
 
HUMAN REMAINS OF PREHISTORIC ORIGIN
 
In line with our conclusions, various archeologists and anthropologists have questioned the wisdom of handing back remains to indigenous groups when the age of the material gives it a significance beyond these groups. In assessing ancient remains, Mulvaney (I99I:I6) adopts the following position:
 
Kow Swamp bones . . . are rare survivals from the
 
millions of burials which have occurred and van-
 
ished across the past 15,ooo years. Their kin cannot
 
be presumed to have shared the same cultural val-
 
ues or religious concepts of this generation. . . . this
 
vast time factor, combined with their distinctive
 
physical differences, ensure that any line of descent
 
is to the Aboriginal race everywhere, not to Echuca
 
people alone.
 
Mulvaney likens the reburial of prehistoric human re- mains to the destruction of the Egyptian pyramids or the razing of the Taj Mahal. He argues that were these events to occur "people of all races, creeds and cultures would appeal to those same universal human values which govern UNESCO principles. . . .why should Aus- tralia's Aboriginal past, or its present indigenes, be ex- empt from applying considerations of cross-cultural values?" (p. 18). Similar views have been expressed by Meighan (1992) and Mulvaney (1989). Gough (1996: 133-34) writes:
 
The humans whose remains have been excavated in
 
the past 70 years were the predecessors of modern
 
Aborigines, but not necessarily the direct ancestors
 
of any particular Aboriginal group. Hardly a single
 
one of the famous archaeological sites in Australia
 
was known to modern Aborigines, much less vener-
 
ated. . . . the sites had been forgotten and deserted
 
for as much as ten or twenty thousand years. . . . it
 
is absurd that one generation of activists . . . should
 
claim the right to hide or destroy material that
 
would be of immense value to future generations of
 
Australians of all racial backgrounds.
 
Ancient human remains have the potential to explain a great deal about the prehistory of humankind, includ- ing information on the nutrition, health, stature, life expectancy, and population density of various peoples. Greater understanding of the ways in which commu- nities were organised, what technologies were available, and the cultural practices of societal groups is also possible from scientific examination of such mate- rials (Mulvaney I 99I, Bonnichsen and Schneider 1995, Gough 1996). In some instances, the resulting informa- tion has been used by certain groups for specific aims. An example of this is the use of research findings by in- digenous Australians of Tasmania to support political and land claim aspirations (Mulvaney I99I ).More gen- erally, however, the data are of worldwide interest, since they relate to people who form part of the ancestry of modern humankind.
 
Our conclusion concerning prehistoric remains should not, however, be taken as support for the view that the results of scientific studies need not be shared openly with those outside the academic community. It is vitally important that, since the research work is of general interest to humankind, any findings be made available to the community at large so that all may ben- efit. Furthermore, studies must have a legitimate scien- tific rationale. In addition, our conclusion should not be seen as endorsement of the view that the scientific community has the right to claim ownership of human remains. The scientist's role is akin to that of a custo- dian who, through well-considered and methodologi- cally sound research, has the potential to enrich the common heritage of all peoples.
 
Bray identifies those she sees as stakeholders in the past as "physical anthropologists and Native American rights advocates, museum curators and antiquities deal-
 
260 I CURRENT ANTHROPOLOGY Volume 39, Number 2, April 1998
 
ers, tribal government officials and traditional religious leaders, archaeological experts and would-be research- ers, government agents and non-Federally recognized tribes, pan-Indian organizations and tribal historians" (Bray 1996:442]. We suggest that all peoples, regardless of their ethnic background or cultural affiliation, are stakeholders in the past. From this perspective, when the future of prehistoric human remains is at issue re- solving this question is as much a matter for the com- munity at large as it is for any group in particular.
 
Some have suggested that the view that scientific en- deavour benefits all humanity is used to rationalize the scientific community's preemption of power over infor- mation and information sources (Grose 1996). One can question exactly what is meant by the "good of human- ity" or "humanity as a whole." In many contemporary societies, indigenous communities are reappropriating the power to author their own histories, which often means disputing the scientific version-not necessarily because this is wrong but because it does not contribute to the version of history which the indigenous commu- nities wish to affirm (J. Weiner, personal communica- tion, March 25, 1997). It is possible to dismiss these varying worldviews as "mysticism" lacking solid evi- dence (Meighan 1992)~ but such an approach is un- helpful.
 
Bray (1996) suggests that rather than focusing on es- tablishing an authentic or authorized version of the past, different interpretations should be presented for discussion to ensure that the past not only remains a source of inspiration but also serves democratic goals. Scientists must accept that knowledge need not always be universal and that their own truth will not neces- sarily be accepted by others. For their part, indigenous peoples must accept that scientists have a legitimate interest in exploring the past. Respect and sensitivity must be shown by those on both sides of the equation (Meighan 1992). The world consists of a collection of different knowledge systems, some big and encompassing, others small and focused. Recognising where the limits of one's own knowledge system are is a step towards tolerance of other systems (Weiner, personal communication, March 25, 1997).
 
PAST MISTREATMENT AND MORAL COMPLICITY
 
The intellectual environment in which so much extant human slzeletal material was obtained, characterized as it was by enthusiasm for craniology, phrenology, and evolutionary ideas concerned with the relative advance- ment of different races, is far removed from that of to- day. Even when these interests were not the motiva- tion, the collecting of skeletal material was generally not in accordance with established archeological prac- tice or ethics. The Murray Black collection, for exam- ple, was acquired by grave robbing (Mulvaney I98 9). The obsession with fitting people into racial categories led to a fascination with collecting skulls, especially those of Australian Aborigines, who were thought to repre- sent a "primitive" race. Investigations into the Aborigi- nes' status as a possible evolutionary link between hu- mankind and ape became a central concern of anato- mists in the latter part of the 19th century and led to the dissection of Aboriginal cadavers and a huge de- mand from museum curators for Aboriginal skulls (Markus 1990, Monaghan 1991). Studies of the cranial capacities of Aboriginal people were used as evidence of their racial inferiority (Fry and Pulleine 193 I). In the United States, a similar research agenda led to the col- lections of the remains of Native Americans (Powell, Garza, and Hendricks 1993, Ferguson 1996). Delamothe (1991) has stated that "the world's colonisers were us- ing evolutionary theory to buttress their claims to racial superiority over the people they were colonising."
 
Conclusions drawn from the scientific study of Ab- original bones were used to sanction and institutional- ize 20th-century racism (Monaghan I99 I). While the predominant view of indigenous groups' racial inferior- ity had a direct impact on the lives of all native peo- ples, the effect was particularly profound in early-zoth- century Australia. There, the dominant European cul- ture used Aborigines1 supposed racial inferiority as a justification for denying them adult suffrage and for laws that not only forcibly segregated them from the white population but allowed for the removal of half- caste Aboriginal children from their parents (Monaghan 1991). The legal status of the Aborigines at this time was analogous to that of children or the insane (Marlzus
 
19901. It is possible to regard this sequence of events as a his- torical curiosity. Such erroneous concepts are undeni- ably tragic errors, but since they are no longer held within anthropological circles, it could be argued that they amount to little more than an unsavoury historical episode in the development of what is now a respectable academic discipline. This response might be satisfac- tory were it not for the preservation in university de- partments and museums of the human material on which these ideas were seemingly based. Riding In (1992) is a harsh critic of the history of archeology and insists that researchers should not use data obtained through "immoral" forms of archeological research. Furthermore, he believes that universities and libraries should remove from their collections all works that contain references to such studies. Should the uses to which this material was put IOO or so years ago have repercussions on our view of this material in the present? Let us suppose that this material had been collected and simply displayed in museums (or left in drawers) without any thought's being given to its purported evo- lutionary significance. If that had been the case, would the material in question differ in any respect from the material we are considering with its previous use in wayward evolutionary studies? The material itself would be unchanged, but in all probability it would not have been collected in the first place, since it would have had no relevance to supposedly scholarly theories. Hence, the context provided by the material's original collection is significant.
 
The building of such collections involved grave rob- bing, contract killing, massacres, and murder (Mon- aghan 1991). It has been estimated that the graves of 5,ooo-~o,ooo Australian Aborigines were opened, the bodies dismembered, and parts stolen for scientific studies. Additionally, bodies were decapitated so that the heads could be added to collections (Monaghan 1991). Aboriginal deaths were often the result of massa- cres connected with the dispersal of indigenous settle- ments. As a result, study of the slzulls was closely linked to racial inferiority concepts, either because Ab- origines were lzilled on this pretext or because, once they had been killed, their remains were acquired to demonstrate this same point scientifically.
 
The circumstances surrounding these collections have much in common with the collecting of cadavers in Britain in the 18th and early 19th centuries and even with Nazi experimentation during World War I1 (Rich- ardson 1988, Jones and Fennel1 1991, Proctor 1992). In all these instances, unethical practices were employed in order to obtain the human material required for re- search and teaching endeavours. Nevertheless, the guid- ing principles behind these activities varied consider- ably, from principles with which we have considerable sympathy today (obtaining an accurate picture of the dead human body, as in early anatomy) to those with which we have no sympathy (experiments using living humans without their consent, such as the Nazi experi- ments).
 
Where do these anthropological collections fit in? Their original intention was research rather than teaching, and hence some appear to fit more closely with the Nazi work (although comparisons of this nature can be misleading). Now that the collections exist, the only justification for keeping them in labora- tories and museums stems from their research poten- tial. Educational reasons are not relevant, since casts of the material are sufficient for this purpose. New research reasons-reasons that could not have been contemplated so-IOO years ago-do exist, among them DNA polymerase chain reaction testing of bone frag- ments as part of research into the genetics and demo- graphy of our ancestors (Hagelberg 1990, Ross 1992). While the detailed prospects for this technique remain debatable, the goal is the testing of hypotheses regard- ing human evolution, migration, and disease. In addi- tion, since many current anthropological concepts are vastly different from those of years ago, the study of archeological material (or casts) is essential if current concepts are to be tested and elaborated. All scientific studies are theory-driven, and since ideas and interpre- tations are constantly changing, new generations of anthropologists need access to relevant human material if their academic discipline is to remain scientifically vibrant.
 
It is at this point that the notion of moral complicity becomes a relevant consideration. According to this ar- gument, those who use material or data obtained uneth- ically are themselves implicated in the unethical prac- tices. As in other areas, two responses predominate. For some writers, such as Hagelberg (1ggo:14), moral com- plicity must be rejected:
 
The study of skeletal remains can truly enhance our understanding and appreciation of past cultures and make us mourn their destruction. Naturally, scien- tists have a vested interest in wishing to preserve the integrity of skeletal collections, but the return of these collections to their presumed descendants will not make any oppressed people less oppressed and may only serve to alienate cultural and ethnic minorities even more from the mainstream of mod- ern life.
 
In a similar vein, Neiburger (1ggo:zg7) claims that, far from rectifying the wrongs committed against indige- nous peoples, the return of remains will "destroy the heritage of many prehistoric peoples, retard land claim litigation and narrow rights and freedoms . . .[and] harm the very people it is meant to help."
 
For others, acceptance of moral complicity and its consequences leads to an emphasis on past atrocities with serious ethical implications for the professions implicated in them, especially anthropologists. Dela- mothe (1991:1564) writes: "Our medical forebears, par- ticularly anatomists and pathologists, were deeply im- plicated in this whole gruesome business-from body snatching to racial theorising that ended in genocide. Restitution of the human remains will hardly atone for their deeds, but it seems the least bad option at our dis- posal." Acceptance of the moral-complicity argument leads inevitably to reburial of this material not so much because this accords with the wishes of living descen- dants as because of the inherent evil of the actions that led to its existence. Alternatively, rejection of the argu- ment leaves the way open for serious discussion of how this material may be used within contemporary society.
 
As argued elsewhere, moral complicity is problematic (Jones 1991). In this instance, its acceptance does not automatically lead to protection of the rights or wishes of living descendants, since it is too blunt an instru- ment to accomplish this. It leads to reburial of much anthropological material even when there is no sugges- tion that gross atrocities were committed. It errs in this direction because the material was probably obtained under conditions unacceptable by present-day ethical standards. Those wishing to work on the material today were not responsible for any atrocities committed 80- 120 years ago (neither were some anthropologists of the time), and in no way could they have stopped them. They are not, therefore, implicated in the unethical ac- tivities of those times. Even though they are now in a position to benefit from them, we can find no moral connection between the killing and grave robbing of IOO years ago and work undertaken today. What is impor- tant is the rationale for the proposed contemporary sci- entific work, the quality of this work, and its potential value to the human community (including the descen- dants of those whose bones are to be studied).
 
A case can be made for studying archeological re-
 
262 1 CURRENT ANTHROPOLOGY Volume 39, Number 2, April 1998
 
mains in spite of past atrocities and wayward scientific theories as long as the myriad factors relevant to this material are taken into account. The opposing argu- ment, as expressed by Delamothe (1991)~ is essentially a pragmatic one; it stands or falls on the influence of reburial on race relations. While this may accomplish limited political goals, it lacks a consistent ethical base.
 
Guidelines for Study of Human Remains
 
If wholesale reburial is not advocated, then what? We cannot justify a situation whereby thousands of skeletal remains from the recent past linger unstudied in univer- sities and museums for years on end. If they are in stor- age for scientific purposes, ongoing (even if sporadic) scientific work is essential to justify their maintenance. However, considerable care is required in imposing time limits for study prior to reburial. Ames and co- workers contend that keeping objects in anticipation of future developments in scientific techniques must be weighed against other scientific considerations, such as the relative uniqueness of the object and its theoretical relevance, as well as more practical considerations such as the physical limitations of museum storage (Ames, Harrison, and Nicks 1988). The expectation that one day someone may want to work on them is not suffi- cient reason for keeping them. This argument is similar to that opposing the use of IOO rats in a scientific study when the project can only justify the use of 10. Human material can only be kept ethically if the purposes for which it is being kept have ethical justification. Storage per se (except when equated with burial) fails to satisfy this criterion. Nor can educational purposes be used as justification for unlimited storage, since casts of the material are sufficient for teaching.
 
These are arguments against the indefinite keeping of material obtained in the recent past. The problem is that any studies that could be undertaken within the next 5-10 years will be limited by the techniques avail- able and also by current concepts. We have little idea what might be done with the material in another 50 years. There appear to be two options: reburial or the use of safe keeping places. The reburial of human mate- rial will definitely have detrimental repercussions on prospective scientific investigations. The reproducibil- ity of scientific results is crucial, and the availability of raw data and raw material for a number of years is im- portant if checking for fraud is required.
 
In cases where an individual or group of individuals can be identified as descendants of the human material, there should be agreement between national authorities and those descendants over issues relating to storage of the material in accessible sites and scientific study. Accessibility is a two-way phenomenon, serving the interests of both the scientific and the indigenous com- munity, although preeminence should be given to in- digenous communities, since this is their material to "give." From this it follows that the rights and wishes of the people being studied supersede the research needs of the scientific communities (Zimmerman 1989). Put negatively, archeologists and anthropologists do not have preeminent rights to human remains and objects considered sacred by living communities (Ucko I99 I, Klesert and Powell I 993). Scientific imperialism does not rest on an ethical foundation. The use of human material, especially when it is from the recent past, can be ethically justified only when carried out within the context of human obligations, fears, expectations, and hopes. To ignore this context, as expressed by those having a direct interest in the material itself, does un- told damage to the cause of investigating any human material.
 
Where material is to be held in safe keeping places, its use for scientific purposes will depend entirely on the granting of permission by those indigenous people with responsibility for it. For this to occur, close cooper- ation and mutual trust between its custodians and sci- entists (who themselves could belong to the indigenous groups in question) will be essential. Also vital is that the material be treated in a manner which recognises its cultural, spiritual, scientific, and educational impor- tance and regarded with the same respect as given to any grave or burial place.
 
If scientific investigation is permitted, the results of the studies must be openly shared with those with a di- rect cultural and/or religious interest in the material. Failure to do this is a reflection of cultural arrogance on the part of the scientific community and an implicit de- nial of the potential significance of the remains to living people. Indigenous anthropologists may play a role here; against an American background, Trigger (I995:8 3 7)has written: "Only attracting an ever larger number of Na- tive Americans to become anthropologists and museol- ogists will terminate Americanist anthropology's role as a colonizing discipline and help to resolve it from its untenable position on the 'racial1 firing line."
 
When we turn to the case of very ancient remains where no direct descendants can be established, no bias towards returning the material to indigenous groups ex- ists. Material in this category is not left in a vacuum, but it receives less protection than material of known provenance. Where direct descendants are not identifi- able, the interests of humanity in general should take precedence, and the remains should be made available for reputable scientific investigation. The lack of clear associations with the living also suggests that consent to undertake scientific study is of secondary impor- tance, since what becomes preeminent is enhancing the material's ability to contribute to our understanding of human development and culture. These guidelines should apply equally to recently uncovered material from the prehistoric past; scientists involved in uncov- ering the material should have a major say in its short- term fate, since its availability is entirely dependent on their efforts.
 
Concluding Comments
 
Our proposals here can be illustrated by a set of scenar- ios concerning a fictitious group, the Iroame, that is known to have inhabited a region for 500 years. Human skeletal remains are uncovered in each instance, but the circumstances surrounding the discovery vary. The sce- narios highlight the ways in which the principles dis- cussed above may be put into practice in determining the disposition of the material.
 
Scenario I. The remains are found to be approxi- mately IOO years old. Because they are of relatively re- cent origin, it is possible to identify direct descendants. The descendants are informed of the discovery, take re- sponsibility for deciding what should happen to the re- mains, and rebury them.
 
Scenario 2. The remains are shown to be around 300 years old. As in scenario I, a group of direct descendants is identified. The remains are returned to them, and they decide to maintain them in a safe keeping place pending further discussion with local anthropologists.
 
Scenario 3. The remains are ~,ooo years old. Given what is known about the length of occupation of the Ir- oame, this means that they belong to a group predating the Iroame in the region. The Iroame accept that the re- mains do not have ancestral links with them, since they lay no claim to having inhabited the region for more than 500 years, but they nevertheless claim sovereignty over the material because it is of indigenous origin. Here the remains are of significance to all people, not to one particular group alone. The government grants the Iroame sovereignty over the remains on purely po- litical grounds.
 
Scenario 4. In contrast to scenario 3, in this instance the Iroame reject the scientific view that they have re- sided in the region for only 500 years. They claim to have been living in the area from the beginning of time and thus deny that the ~,ooo-year-old bones could possi- bly predate them. The government grants the Iroame possession of the remains just as in scenario 3.
 
From these scenarios it is clear that three variables determine the nature of the debate in any given situa- tion: the scientific data, in particular, the age of the bones and the evidence regarding the length of occupancy of the group involved, the cultural values of the group, and the governmental response. Any decision will depend on the balance achieved between these fac- tors. The governmental response to the claims of indig- enous peoples is by far the most fickle of the three, and priority must therefore be placed on attempting to find a balance between the scientific data and the group's cultural values.
 
Our emphasis in this article has been on the scientific data, since it is they that provide insight into the re- mains. Without the scientific input, in many cases the very existence of the material would remain unknown. In the four scenarios just outlined, the scientific data are a contributing factor in I and 2 and a major factor in 3 and 4. At the same time, a cooperative relationship between scientists and the indigenous people is critical. A recognition of the perspective of each party is a pre- condition for viable discussions, let alone any agree- ment. In scenarios I, 2, and 4, the scientific data and cultural values have essential contributions to make to any resolution of the issue. However, in scenario 4, where there appears to be irreconcilable conflict be- tween the worldviews of the two parties, a political re- sponse is required, although it will leave the conflict unresolved at least for the moment. Scenario 3 presents a cautionary lesson in that a political response is im- posed when the cultural issues might be resolved through full discussion. An ethically sound way for- ward may prove possible in this instance, and every ef- fort should be made to ensure that this occurs.
 
Ethical perspectives provide a basis for mutually ben- eficial discussions and should be developed further be- fore the debates on repatriation issues have all been resolved politically. In the final analysis, many indige- nous cultures have uses for archeological and anthropo- logical study, whether these be learning more about their past or gaining knowledge to assist in the manage- ment of their heritage resources. For their part, scien- tists have an opportunity to add a fresh humanistic di- mension to their research by incorporating an appreciation of the power of their work in constructing knowledge of the past (Ferguson 1996). In reviewing the wider implications of the repatriation debate for the dis- cipline of archeology, Murray (1gg6:219) has written:
 
Archaeology [has] to leave the safety of "scientific objectivity" and travel to a disciplinary space where archaeological knowledge is de-colonized and the distinction between producers and consumers of that knowledge is broken down. . . . the act of seek- ing reconciliation between archaeologists and indige- nous peoples sets up a process of consultation and interaction which tells us that this unknown post- colonial landscape will be created by us all, in a form as yet unknown. Equally important, it seems clear enough that this process, now that it is begun, has no end-point.
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