Updated Guidelines to the Standards for Recording Human Remains - December 2017

This BABAO guidance, produced as part of the CIfA professional practice series, is primarily targeted towards the needs of osteoarchaeologists in Britain, and also of use to those excavating and analysing human skeletal remains across the world.

The guidelines support those working in the field and when compiling skeletal reports for their clients, as well as being of great use to researchers in an academic environment and to museum curators. They assist practitioners to ensure their professional activities meet the BABAO Code of Ethics and Code of Practice and Principles 3 and 4 of the CIfA Code of conduct regarding the quality of their work, and the various standards and guidance documents published by CIfA (www.archaeologists.net/codes/cifa).

Having guidelines that specify what should be included in a skeletal report helps to ensure that sufficient time and funding is allocated by clients engaging the services of a commercial archaeological service.

This updated guidance replaces the 2004 guidelines (CIfA paper no 7). Over the last 14 years there have been advances in research methodology and changes in ideas and is a refresher on all that is cutting edge in the field. It also includes an additional chapter on the topic of sampling human burials for the eggs of parasitic worms that caused gastrointestinal infection when the individual was alive.

The volume has passed through an intensive peer review process. Every chapter has been reviewed by at least 15 experts, some based in Britain and others internationally. This will ensure that the views expressed in the guidelines represent a broad spectrum of opinions in the field.


  1. We would like to thank Piers Mitchell, Megan Brickley and the other authors involved in updating this Practice Paper.
  2. A PDF version of the Practice Paper is available free of charge on the CIfA website (www.archaeologists.net/publications/papers).
  3. Hard copies are available on request from admin [at] archaeologists.net. These are free of charge to CIfA and BABAO members. Non-members can purchase a hard copy for £10 by completing payment below or by sending us a cheque.
  4. For more information about this Practice Paper and other CIfA papers please contact admin [at] archaeologists.net

Human Remains paper

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