Asian Journal of Paleopathology Vol.1, 5–11, 2017
Received: November 30, 2016
Accepted: January 24, 2017
DOI: 10.32247/ajp2017.1.1

The scientific and ethical background of the invasive studies on the Korean mummies of the Joseon Dynasty

Yi-Suk Kim, Myeung Ju Kim, Jong Ha Hong, Chang Seok Oh, Raffaella Bianucci, Dong Hoon Shin

 In mummy studies of South Korea, the condition typically required by descendants and generally accepted by scientists is that mummies be immediately cremated upon completion of a relatively quick pathological investigation. Following the initial computed tomography (CT) scan, autopsies thus have been resorted in order to obtain as much information from Korean mummies as possible in the shortest time. In fact, judicious utilization of accumulated autopsy-derived data improves the accuracy of radiological diagnosis, reducing the risk of CT-data misinterpretation. Tissue samples that could be invaluable to our future studies were also taken from mummified organs during autopsy. Although the preferential use of noninvasive techniques is also taken for granted in South Korea, invasive autopsy unavoidably takes precedence in special circumstances. At every juncture in mummy study of this country, we are obliged to select the best option that is consistent with research ethics and efficiency.

Key words
Paleopathology, Joseon dynasty, mummy, CT radiography, non-invasive study