Human Remains Advice

English Heritage offers specialist advice on human remains recovered from archaeological sites in England. 

Photograph from the archaeological excavation of an Anglo-Saxon burial

An Anglo-Saxon burial from Barrow Clump

Published guidance

'Human Bones from Archaeological Sites: Guidelines for Producing Assessment Documents and Analytical Reports' is a guidance note concerning the role of the human osteologist in archaeological fieldwork projects with an emphasis on the production of MoRPHE compliant assessments and analytical reports.

'Guidance for Best Practice for Treatment of Human Remains Excavated from Christian Burial Grounds in England' is a guideline on ethical, archaeological, scientific and legal considerations associated with excavation, study and archiving of human remains and associated artifacts and grave-markers from Christian burial sites in England. Published in collaboration with the Church of England.

'Science and the Dead: A Guideline for the destructive sampling of archaeological human remains for scientific analysis' aims to provide a framework to help organisations responsible for the care of archaeological human remains in responding to requests from researchers for removal of bone or tooth samples for the purposes of scientific analysis.  The guideline describes some of the pertinent legal, ethical and scientific considerations involved. Published by APABE, supported by English Heritage.

Advisory Panel on the Archaeology of Burials in England (APABE)

The Advisory Panel on the Archaeology of Burials in England (APABE) provides case-work advice on any aspect of archaeological burials.  The objective is to foster a consistent approach to ethical, legal, scientific, archaeological and other issues surrounding the treatment of archaeological human remains and associated material culture.  

The Panel has been compiled so that its membership collectively has broad experience of dealing with human remains in a variety of different professional settings and circumstances. It may give advice on specific matters and may also advise and comment on general issues of principle or policy.  This is a free service supported by English Heritage, The Church of England and the Ministry of Justice.