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'What Does It Mean To Be Human?' Curating Heads at UCL

At a glance
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Time 10:00
Date 11/12/17
Price Free
  • Produced by UCL
  • Price Free
  • Get ready to consider the remains of some influential men
  • Bring along a strong stomach
  • Surf to UCL
  • See you at UCL

What does the scientific interrogation of our dead bodies tell us about how we think about ourselves?

For several decades, the preserved heads of Jeremy Bentham and Flinders Petrie – two intellectuals related to UCL – have been hidden from view. Following on from a project to extract their DNA, this exhibition is filled with thought-provoking objects that question who we are and how we see ourselves. These include a 3,000 year-old papyrus documenting a will, a mammoth tusk, a cast of a Neanderthal skull, and cutting-edge scientific research to extract DNA from Bentham's tissue. We look at Flinders Petrie who also left his head to science, and examine his contributions towards the study of human remains. The exhibition takes a cross-disciplinary approach exploring history, archaeology and philosophy to dissect our ideas of what it means to be human.