Institutions receiving skeletal collections

BABAO acknowledges the value and importance of proper curation of human skeletal collections from archaeological contexts, as well as those from former anatomical collections. Correct storage in appropriate facilities is crucial to the success of ongoing and future research involving such collections. In recent years growing numbers of human skeletal remains have been excavated in the UK, largely in relation to development-led archaeological projects. The results of these excavations have placed increased pressure on curating institutions to provide adequate storage facilities. Although we believe that the duty of curation for these remains and their accompanying material culture lies with local authorities in the first instance, we also recognize that, due to a variety of factors, some are vulnerable to disposal/reburial, which is counter to our organisation’s ethos. Therefore, we offer to find appropriate curation facilities for these remains through participating departments on a case-by-case basis. These will be used for both research and teaching.

As part of this process, we expect institutions to comply with BABAO’s good practice guidelines and ethical standpoint and to bear in mind that this list is not an endorsement by the association, but a list of institutions which are prepared to receive collections of human skeletal material in need of curation. All of these institutions have appropriate storage facilities, written policies on the curation of human bone and staff that are suitably qualified and experienced to care for human remains.

Museum curators, project directors or others wishing to make enquiries regarding the possibility of depositing skeletal collections with these institutions are asked to contact them directly using the details given on the spreadsheet.

In addition, it has been agreed by the BABAO comittee that non-UK institutions can be listed on this page for receiving UK skeletal collections, as long as they were on loan and not permanently curated by the institution / country. Thus, BABAO would agree that such a temporary loan was viable, provided Museums Association principles are followed.

The museums association principles for lending and borrowing from UK museums

A List of institutions wanting to receive or loan collections 

Human Tissue Act and Public Display Advice