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Knives cost lives: ethical issues relating to the conservation of a group of weapons at the Museum of Criminology

SAKKI, Z., KARYDIS, C., SPILIOPOULOU, C., and MARAVELIAS C. 2007. Knives cost lives: ethical issues relating to the conservation of a group of weapons at the Museum of Criminology of the Medical School –University of Athens, In: V., ARGYROPOULOS, A., HEIN, and M.A., HARITH (Eds.), Strategies for Saving our Cultural Heritage, International Conference, Cairo, Egypt, 25 Feb. - 1 Mar. 2007, TEI of Athens, p.244-250.

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The Museum of Criminology at the University of Athens provides a concise picture of the criminal actions committed during the late 19th and the early 20th century in Greece. The Museum houses among others, a small group of forty knives with improvised handles, made mostly of textile. This paper briefly report the problems encountered during the conservation of the metal and textile surfaces. In addition, legal and ethical issues concerning the conservation of these knives are discussed. Some surfaces have blood stains and other deposits, removal of which may disturb important historical elements of the original manufacturing and use of the object, including human genetic material (DNA).

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