Manchester Human Remains Public Consultation

Location: Manchester and the World Wide Web

Museum: The Manchester Museum

Era: Stone Age

Status: Active Project

Tradition: Other

Objective: Reburial


Consultation on unprovenanced and poorly provenanced human remains

Manchester Museum is doing a public consultation on some of the human remains in its collection.

Of the 1700(+) human remains in their collection, 370 human remains of British or European origin have very little or no associated information, and in many cases even their provenance is unknown. Since such poorly documented remains have little obvious benefit for display, teaching or research, Manchester Museum is consulting about their future.

This consultation is a direct result of HAD’s approach to the museum for information about its British human remains, which has since resulted in HAD being involved in several programmes with Manchester.

Manchester’s approach and questions are quite different from the earlier Avebury consultation by the National Trust and English Heritage, and the process could be valuable in creating a better precedent for how such consultations should be conducted. For example, the Manchester Museum criteria clearly state that the option for reburial should not be seen as a ‘last resort’, but as having equivalent status to the other options proposed, particularly given the lack of contextual data.

The options proposed by the Museum, to which it is seeking responses, are:

  1. Retention: Should these remains be retained within Manchester Museum? Yes or no. If yes, please give realistic and practical proposals for their future use.
  2. Transfer: Should these remains be transferred to another museum or institution? Yes or no. If yes, please give realistic and practical proposals for their future use and indicate if possible which specific institution they might go to.
  3. Reburial: Should these remains be reburied? Yes or no. If yes, please answer the following additional questions:
  • Why do you consider reburial to be the best option?
  • Should the remains, after reburial, be accessible for future examination or not? Please give reasons for your choice.
  • Should they be reburied in Manchester or near their place or origin (if identified)? If the original place of burial cannot be identified, where should they be reburied?

If you wish to contribute to or comment on this consultation please use the link below.

The consultation period runs until 29th January 2010.

Consultation Response

HAD’s Consultation Response (Manc Museum HR Consultation)

The British Druid Order’s Response (BDO Manchester Museum response)


The Museum’s decisions and any further actions taken by HAD will be added to this page as soon as we have them.

External Link: The Manchester Museum Webpage