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Archaeologists and Rabbis Clash Over Human Remains

Science  07 Jan 2000:
Vol. 287, Issue 5450, pp. 34-35
DOI: 10.1126/science.287.5450.34

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Summary

JERUSALEM AND TEL AVIV-- In 1994, in the wake of protests by ultra-Orthodox Jewish leaders against disturbing ancient graves, Israel's attorney general ruled that any human remains must immediately be handed over to the ministry of religious affairs for reburial. But even this measure has not satisfied some ultra-Orthodox groups, which today continue to mount violent demonstrations against digs that might uncover human bones, even when they are unlikely to be the remains of Jews or Israelites. As a result, physical anthropology is no longer carried out at Israeli excavations, resulting in a great loss of important information.

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