the issue of ethics in pompeii and Herculaneum

Essay by bridubHigh School, 12th gradeA, October 2014

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Briana Wallace

Ancient History Assignment 1: ETHICS

The excavations at Pompeii and Herculaneum have raised a number of ethical and conservation issues. The issues include; the display human remains, materials and methods used in restoration, tourism and ownership of archaeological finds. Ethics is defined as a system of moral principals by which a person's actions are judged either good or bad, right or wrong. Conservation can be defined as the action of protection, preservation, or restoration.

In 1997 Pompeii became a world heritage site and an agreement between UNESCO and Italian government was created. According to the agreement, UNESCO will provide professional advice to the Italian government about ways to improve the conservation of the site, keeping with the World Heritage Committees standards. Francesco Bandarin, Assistant Director-General for culture said 'this agreement is the result of a long-standing cooperation between UNESCO and Italy in support of the conservation of World Heritage." This shows that the Italian government and UNESCO are determined to preserve the ancient cities.

An ethical issue is the display of human remains; many people have strong opinions towards this issue. For example, the Roman culture believes that for a soul to peacefully rest after death, the body must be given a proper burial. This shows that some cultures and religions can be offended by the display of human remains. Hence there became an increased push on the issue of displaying human remains. Many museums are now adopting measures to address this issue, some museums display signs warning tourists that there are remains on display. Other museums create casts of the remains (a method originally developed by Fiorelli) and display the casts instead. Also adding to the issue of the display of human remains is the deliberate movement of the skeletons to add theatrical effect. In the past...