A group of year 10 students visited the Archaeology Department at Newcastle University yesterday to study human remains.

Dr Jane Webster led us around the Great North Museum, looking at how human bodies have been displayed there. We looked at Ancient Egyptian mummies and asked ourselves about the ethics of using real people as entertainment or shock spectacle – did the educational benefits outweigh the wishes of the dead?

Later, in the lab, we handled bones and remains from a leper burial site at Haymarket. These dated from the medieval period and our students had the chance to learn how archaeologists determine the sex, age and manner of death.

We learned a great deal and had a lot of arguments on the way home about whether the dead have rights and whether it is right to use human remains this way.

We’d like to thank Dr Webster and Newcastle University for the opportunity!