on 12/1/04 9:09 pm, Chris Cumberpatch at [log in to unmask]
> Posted on the CBA Weblog (and also mentioned on Explorator on Sunday):
> Most of a Museum of London collection of 20,000 skeletons should be reburied
> after being properly studied, the museum director said yesterday. The
> skeletons' fate has prompted debate among academics. Many of whom have
> previously said they should be held back for research into human origins and
> history. But Jack Lohman, the museum's director, said it was an "ethical
> issue" and that artefacts found alongside them suggested 70% of the skeletons
> unearthed in London in the past three decades had received Christian burials.
> Some were dug up at monastery sites.
> Am I alone in having serious concerns regarding this apparent unilateral
> declaration of intent and upon its basis? I have not read the complete
> article in The Times but from the summaries on the BBC and Guardian websites
> it seems that the term 'ethical' is being applied in a very restricted manner.
> Are only those who wish to see skeletal material reburied considered to have
> an 'ethical' standpoint? Can no other perspectives be considered as
. . .
If Chris had seen Martin Henig's letter in the Times this morning he would
have been even longer, and much, much angrier. Dr Henig seemed to be
extending the ethical case for re-burial (or perhaps for not excavating in
the first place) beyond human remains to all grave goods. I spent some time
mentally trying to compose a response, but abandoned it. I very much hope
that someone will write to the Times disagreeing. I also hope that some of
the Museum of London people who are Britarch participants will explain the
position the Museum seems to be adopting.
Actually, I think the Church of England is much more reasonable in this
matter (and others) than many other religious organisations, and I hope it
will not, as so often, be the scapegoat just because its adherents are, by
and large, not fanatical.