Archeology or voyeurism?

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.
If it's below the high water mark, it's the Navy!

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FORMER_FYRDMAN

LE
Book Reviewer
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.
Or not... :wink:

 

Bluenose2

Old-Salt
Rule no.1 of Archaeology is that 'excavation is destruction'.

But excavation of human remains does serve a purpose if the research objective is strong enough and that the excavation is conducted and recorded properly.

A huge percentage of false truths and accepted histories have been proven wrong by proper, data-driven archaeology. A significant amount of that is down thorough analysis of what has been found in graves by bearded nose-ring wearing students paying for the privilege of making their professor's name for them.

Discoveries in the last 30 years of how British society progressed from the Roman to Saxon eras being a prime example. There was no catastrophic Gibbon-esque 'Fall of the Roman Empire' in the UK as Saxon mercenaries made their bid for power in the vacuum. People got bored with the former, slowly adopted the practices of the latter and most people got on very well for decades - to the point many ended up buried next to each other, often wearing each other's jewellery styles etc (i've excavated early Romano-Christian burials right next to traditional cremation urns, people rarely acted to type, even in death).

Opening Egyptian tombs on camera, usually with this (link) bloke's sweaty face taking credit for it (often practically elbowing the female excavation team out of the way) is quite another thing. That's glory hunting masquerading as treasure hunting whilst pretending to be archaeology.
 
I think there ought to be a distinction though. What we have now is ‘archeology’ with a primary role to feed a niche that has developed in reality television.
Is much of it really about learning (New things)how people lived in the past- or is it just an endless production line, of bearded ring through the nose types, scraping away at yet another location thought to have bodies?
I can't comment really, i only watch about an hour of TV a month and none of it's reality TV.
 
Rule no.1 of Archaeology is that 'excavation is destruction'.

But excavation of human remains does serve a purpose if the research objective is strong enough and that the excavation is conducted and recorded properly.

A huge percentage of false truths and accepted histories have been proven wrong by proper, data-driven archaeology. A significant amount of that is down thorough analysis of what has been found in graves by bearded nose-ring wearing students paying for the privilege of making their professor's name for them.

Discoveries in the last 30 years of how British society progressed from the Roman to Saxon eras being a prime example. There was no catastrophic Gibbon-esque 'Fall of the Roman Empire' in the UK as Saxon mercenaries made their bid for power in the vacuum. People got bored with the former, slowly adopted the practices of the latter and most people got on very well for decades - to the point many ended up buried next to each other, often wearing each other's jewellery styles etc (i've excavated early Romano-Christian burials right next to traditional cremation urns, people rarely acted to type, even in death).

Opening Egyptian tombs on camera, usually with this (link) bloke's sweaty face taking credit for it (often practically elbowing the female excavation team out of the way) is quite another thing. That's glory hunting masquerading as treasure hunting whilst pretending to be archaeology.
I met a female archeologist there in 2011. She told me the story of the gift shop scam.

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.......
A huge percentage of false truths and accepted histories have been proven wrong by proper, data-driven archaeology. ......

Discoveries in the last 30 years of how British society progressed from the Roman to Saxon eras being a prime example. There was no catastrophic Gibbon-esque 'Fall of the Roman Empire' in the UK as Saxon mercenaries made their bid for power in the vacuum. People got bored with the former, slowly adopted the practices of the latter and most people got on very well for decades - to the point many ended up buried next to each other, often wearing each other's jewellery styles etc (i've excavated early Romano-Christian burials right next to traditional cremation urns, people rarely acted to type......

As with the Anglo-Saxon Invasion and the largely fictional nationalist Welsh/Scottish/Cornish myths of lost glory.

What invasion?

It's not that long (well...30+ years ...) since i was being told in good faith at A level about the marauders from those tribes and how they ethnically cleansed the native Britons.

Turns out Bede was basically making it up as a religious bogeyman story.

Again, archæologists with nose rings in their beards, thanks lads. And lasses.

Slightly OT have you noticed how archæologists over about 35 years old all dress like especially socially-inept Christians?
 
I think there ought to be a distinction though. What we have now is ‘archeology’ with a primary role to feed a niche that has developed in reality television.
That said, you're never ever ever going to make money with History. You'll not even make enough to live on most of the time. Unless you get lucky and get some fame in.*

So when a TV show slaps down a large sum of money for some footage of you doing something, its bloody hard to resists.

*Ok, I'll admit I'm going from my own experiences here.
 

Unremarkable

Old-Salt
This talk of Archaeology brings back memories. My closest friend, a field archaeologist, I used to call 'Infidel Defiler' from time to time (before excavating my tongue from my cheek, as it were, in order to appreciate the beer and cheese we were about to consume).
As my best Man, he was unable to make a speech so was Ring and Sword Bearer, another friend speaking as Maid of Honour - odd, since he wore Roman armour once a week volunteering in a Museum. He once told me he'd stabbed someone through the eye with his trowel - but the victim had already died in the Middle Ages, before being buried in a grave cut through the wall of an already ruined Roman building. He kept me up to date on relevant discoveries for some of the units in my Theology degree, such as background information on the Roman Empire during the early years of the Christian faith, and on Celtic Religion when I studied that. I quoted him in my finals. Those of you in his trade might have met him (he mentioned working with a few ex-military gentlemen, one of whom IIRC worked in or on Scimitars).
We lost touch when my health began to fail; unbeknownst to me, so did his, and he now awaits the irony of being dug up by his professional descendants. Archaeology; a potentially dusty pursuit, but I've no idea where the dust now in my study came from... Perhaps it's late Hay Fever...
 
Mrs. Specop is a little distant with me as I'm currently working in energy from waste.

Her view is that if we burn ever, as is the plan from around 2030, future archæologists will be faced with pretty much a blank slate.
 

Auld-Yin

ADC
Kit Reviewer
Book Reviewer
Reviews Editor
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.
I like it when archaeologists complain about grave robbers when that is exactly what they are doing.
 

Unremarkable

Old-Salt
Mrs. Specop is a little distant with me as I'm currently working in energy from waste.

Her view is that if we burn ever, as is the plan from around 2030, future archæologists will be faced with pretty much a blank slate.
Yes, I had a similar thought a while ago when considering the possible decline in printed materials, and the low quality paper currently in wide use.
 
I visited an Egyptian museum of the Pharoes once.
The sign outside the carpark said TOOT AN COME IN.
Sorry had to be done.
 

Fang_Farrier

LE
Kit Reviewer
Book Reviewer
I don't mind donating all of my organs etc. but I feel a bit queasy if my body is gonna be poked and prodded for years. Have a cousin who is a dentist and each student was 'given' a cadaver which they used over a period of about 2 years. I don't fancy that and I cannot explain why as I know, logically, that I'm dead, it's just.............
We were 4 to a cadaver, did, inner elbow (at that stage rules on GA were different), heart and head and neck. Took first couple of terms, so 20 weeks.
After that the medics got them, so they could go from 6 to a body down to 4 for the abdomen and limbs
If it's below the high water mark, it's the Navy!

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Orkney (and Shetland for that matter) can often operate on slightly different legal framework based on Udal law.

One of the main variants is around shorelines
 

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