Replicating human remains for display and study

This is a ‘behind-the-scenes’ video, rather like the ones you sometimes see at the end of wildlife documentaries which explain how things were done. In this case we show you the process behind 3D printing - one of the latest technologies being applied in archaeology.

We would be interested to hear what you think about the ethics of 3D printing. While 3D prints of human remains may be a good tool for teaching and for exhibitions, would it be right for a digital file to be widely shared so that replicas of the the same skeleton can be printed off all over the world? What are the rights of dead? Who takes the decisions about people’s ‘digital afterlife’ like the 3D facial reconstructions we showed you in Step 2.13?

Make some comments below and tell us your views. It seems to us that we all need to think more carefully about the issues raised by new technology.

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This video is from the free online course:

Archaeology and the Battle of Dunbar 1650: From the Scottish Battlefield to the New World

Durham University