Archeology or voyeurism?

Unable to link, on IPad .

BBC reporting new ancient Egyptian sarcophogi being discovered. Lots of excitement.
footage showing them being lifted out and opened.

Where is the line drawn? History interests me but, I think there is something not quite right about actively seeking to find bodies, and then publicising it.

How would people think if Henry VIII’s tomb was opened, or of The Croydon Chronicle unearthing Edith Smith who perished during the luftwaffe’s area rejuvenation plans, from under the bottle bank area of Morrison’s car park?

I think there’s something rather distasteful about it all.
 
Interesting concept, not sure it's strictly relevant to SDSR and the MoD budget though ;)
 
Unable to link, on IPad .

BBC reporting new ancient Egyptian sarcophogi being discovered. Lots of excitement.
footage showing them being lifted out and opened.

Where is the line drawn? History interests me but, I think there is something not quite right about actively seeking to find bodies, and then publicising it.

How would people think if Henry VIII’s tomb was opened, or of The Croydon Chronicle unearthing Edith Smith who perished during the luftwaffe’s area rejuvenation plans, from under the bottle bank area of Morrison’s car park?

I think there’s something rather distasteful about it all.

Mrs. Specop is currently writing an essay as part of her archæology course on the morality of entering graves (and the rights/wrongs of keeping stuff from other countries).

As her spellchecker, l read this stuff with interest.

She (and l help!) is on a long term dig near Chester, where there's Paleolithic, Iron Age, Roman and Mediæval remains on one site. The changing water table means tbe 12thC-16thC cemetery needs digging in the next few years; these are Christian burials of people with identifiable descendants (a few...just) locally.

Interesting question.
 
Unable to link, on IPad .

BBC reporting new ancient Egyptian sarcophogi being discovered. Lots of excitement.
footage showing them being lifted out and opened.

Where is the line drawn? History interests me but, I think there is something not quite right about actively seeking to find bodies, and then publicising it.

How would people think if Henry VIII’s tomb was opened, or of The Croydon Chronicle unearthing Edith Smith who perished during the luftwaffe’s area rejuvenation plans, from under the bottle bank area of Morrison’s car park?

I think there’s something rather distasteful about it all.
Very interesting.

Now tell me about the voyeurism.
 
Feck...mods, please move to appropriate section.
/delete
Thought I posted it in int cell.
 
Last edited:

Fang_Farrier

LE
Kit Reviewer
Book Reviewer
Mrs. Specop is currently writing an essay as part of her archæology course on the morality of entering graves (and the rights/wrongs of keeping stuff from other countries).

As her spellchecker, l read this stuff with interest.

She (and l help!) is on a long term dig near Chester, where there's Paleolithic, Iron Age, Roman and Mediæval remains on one site. The changing water table means tbe 12thC-16thC cemetery needs digging in the next few years; these are Christian burials of people with identifiable descendants (a few...just) locally.

Interesting question.
There was a old cemetary on Orkney which was exposed by sea action, old skeletal remains were often visible, especially after a storm.

There was no church as such, but an interesting debate was who was actually responsible for them.
 
Well they cheerfully dug up Richard III and re-interred him after they'd worked out it was really him. They had a lot of bodies from the Mary Rose, Henry VIII's flagship, which if I remember rightly they originally said were going to be buried but aren't; because there was a TV prog not long ago studying them to work out how may of the crew were foreign/coloured etc. So it appears clear that the professionals don't care much upto ~ 1550.

Personally, and I'm unlikely to be buried, but assuming I was, I wouldn't give a hoot, but that's me. My view on other people bodies is that if there are surviving identifiable relatives as with the Chester cemetery Spec-Ops mentioned they should have a say and if they want to organise a reburial that would be their call.

It's worth remembering that there were periods, not that long ago, when bodies were buried to remove the flesh and then the bones were dug back up and stored. As an obscure example I've come across recently, a lot of the bones of the war dead from the battle of Wagram in 1809 are in the crypt of the church at Markgragneusiedl. They're in a huge heap, no ID , no segregation.
 
Personally, and I'm unlikely to be buried, but assuming I was, I wouldn't give a hoot, but that's me. My view on other people bodies is that if there are surviving identifiable relatives as with the Chester cemetery Spec-Ops mentioned they should have a say and if they want to organise a reburial that would be their call.

It's worth remembering that there were periods, not that long ago, when bodies were buried to remove the flesh and then the bones were dug back up and stored. As an obscure example I've come across recently, a lot of the bones of the war dead from the battle of Wagram in 1809 are in the crypt of the church at Markgragneusiedl. They're in a huge heap, no ID , no segregation.
I know we've covered this a number of times previously, but 'Waterloo teeth'.


'Mr Pollard said the bone finds were exceptionally rare, as many of the mass graves were plundered and bones ground to be used as fertiliser in the mid- to late-19th century. English fertiliser companies collected the ground bones, shipped them to Hull and spread them across British fields. The teeth of the soldiers of Waterloo were also scavenged, and were made into extremely popular "Waterloo dentures" - false teeth.'

 

Chalkster69

Old-Salt
I remember feeling uncomfortable when they exhumed the bodies of the Franklin Arctic Expedition sailors. They died in 1846.

John Torrington

This was done under the guise of looking for the cause of death, but they still put pictures of the bodies all over the web. Seemed disrespectful to me....
 
I remember feeling uncomfortable when they exhumed the bodies of the Franklin Arctic Expedition sailors. They died in 1846.

John Torrington

This was done under the guise of looking for the cause of death, but they still put pictures of the bodies all over the web. Seemed disrespectful to me....
So you post a link to those pictures? Interdesting.
 
I'd have thought that the Egyptians would have wanted their ancestors treated with a little more reverence, clearly tourist dollars speak more loudly.
Given that most of the tombs were looted within years of being filled that would be the rich tomb owning Egyptians, but not their poorer classes.
 
Why dont we dig up all the jews so we can put this whole holocaust thing to bed?
To give a sensible answer those bodies were (mainly) burnt. Go visit a camp like Bergen Belsen and see the marker mounds 10,000 here, 5,000 here and so on.
 

4(T)

LE
Makes you wonder what the Egyptian antiquities department intend to do with the coffins and bodies - they must have whole warehouses filled with them by now. Must cost millions to try and conserve them all - or perhaps they just crumble to dust and get chucked in a skip.
 

Chalkster69

Old-Salt
So you post a link to those pictures? Interdesting.
I'm not that bothered!! :)

It was a link to the article - unfortunately I wasn't willing to go to the trouble of writing my own article & posting it online with no pictures.
 
Makes you wonder what the Egyptian antiquities department intend to do with the coffins and bodies - they must have whole warehouses filled with them by now. Must cost millions to try and conserve them all - or perhaps they just crumble to dust and get chucked in a skip.
Maybe they'll do what they did with the thousands of mummified cats which were shipped to Liverpool and used as fertiliser:
On Monday, at the saleroom of Msssrs. Gordon and Co., Rumford-street, Liverpool, a consignment of about nine tons of fragments of embalmed cats from the Beni-Hassan pit were offered for sale by Mr. J. Gordon. Owing to the announcement that had been made respecting the great antiquity of the mummy cats, which had been recently discovered in Egypt; a large number of merchants and brokers crowded the saleroom. There was very little amusement, the company being too much in the buying mood to allow time to be wasted. The auctioneers first disposed of the bones, which were eventually purchased Oy Messrs. Leventon and Co. at £5 17s. 6d. per ton. Messrs. Leventon, it will be remembered, are the holders of the first cargo that was imported from the same place.

 
Maybe they'll do what they did with the thousands of mummified cats which were shipped to Liverpool and used as fertiliser:
On Monday, at the saleroom of Msssrs. Gordon and Co., Rumford-street, Liverpool, a consignment of about nine tons of fragments of embalmed cats from the Beni-Hassan pit were offered for sale by Mr. J. Gordon. Owing to the announcement that had been made respecting the great antiquity of the mummy cats, which had been recently discovered in Egypt; a large number of merchants and brokers crowded the saleroom. There was very little amusement, the company being too much in the buying mood to allow time to be wasted. The auctioneers first disposed of the bones, which were eventually purchased Oy Messrs. Leventon and Co. at £5 17s. 6d. per ton. Messrs. Leventon, it will be remembered, are the holders of the first cargo that was imported from the same place.

Cats: meh.

'The act of mummifying a dead body is intended to preserve it so it does not decay further. In many ancient cultures this act was steeped in ritual, and mummified bodies have been found on every continent in the world. However, through histories these mummified remains have been used in a variety of bizarre and peculiar ways.

'Although it is not confirmed, Mummy paper is believed to be paper made from the linen wrappings of mummies imported into the United States in 1855. In the 1850s, the US was suffering a shortage of paper, producing more than England and France combined. To combat this, the papermakers utilised the wrappings from mummies that were found in huge burial sites known as “mummy pits” in Egypt. Mummies were also ground up and used in medicine and there are even reports of mummies being used to fuel locomotives. Ground up mummies were also used to paint with, in a pigment known as “mummy brown”, and they were even used to make oils, soaps and incense.'


 
I think this depends on your moral standpoint but also how you view mortal remains. If you are religious then the disturbance of the physical remains shouldn't matter one jot as it is the Spirit that lives on. For those that think that once you go that is it and you are nowt but worm food then again does it matter, you are not hurting the dead as they don't care, sensitivities around relatives and how recent those burials took place should be the over riding factor.

A body that is 1-3k years old is hardly going to have living direct relatives, but an airman from WW2 is. So different considerations need to be taken when exhuming the remains.
 

Latest Threads

Top