Heads will roll! Museum and relatives fight over family remains
Wednesday, February 06, 2013 - 01:05
Feb. 6 - An Italian museum crammed full of skulls, brains and skeletons of 19th century criminals is facing calls from descendants to return their relatives’ body parts. Tara Cleary reports.
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Bones are rattling at the Cesare Lombroso Museum of Criminal Anthropology in Turin.
Descendants of some of these offenders - whose remains were taken without permission - want their relatives back.
The museum's director, Silvano Montaldo believes the bones should stay.
SOUNDBITE: Silvano Montaldo director, Lombroso Museum of Criminal Anthropology, saying (Italian):
"This is an important testimony for scientific history because these are human remains that were used to develop a scientific theory that reverberated around the world."
Cesare Lombroso was a physician and psychiatrist who researched the nature of criminal behavior in the 19th century.
He believed delinquency was physically identifiable, via telltale skull and facial features.
To try and prove his theory, Lombroso collected hundreds of skulls, skeletons and inmates' possessions from prisons.
And even though much of his research has since been discredited, Lombroso donated his own body for display in the museum.
A century down the line, well preserved, Lombroso is neither gone, nor forgotten.
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