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Burials
#1
Is it ok to excavated any burials?
What are the positives for doing this, as the moral implications have being bugging me for a while.
Thank you.
#2
http://www.bajr.org/BAJRForum/topic.asp?TOPIC_ID=227

I refer the honourable gentleman to the topic above.

it all depends is the final answer.... do tell

Another day another WSI?
#3
Well I'm not ever happy with it, there can't be too much left to learn, can there?

deep
#4
The thread above demonstrates that it is an issue that all of us have to face at some point; it comes down to the fact that it is the excavators responsibilty to decide if it is acceptable. If it goes against your beliefs or ethics then the descision is made. The way I deal with it is to show the upmost respect to the individual and accept responsibilty for the way in which the remains are treated post ex. by finding out where they are going, what will happen and where they will stored and perhaps finally rebuired.I am going to a church service for the re-internment of some individuals later this week. I dont share the faith but I see it as part of my responsibilty to make sure that they are treated respectfully throughout the proccess. It also helps me deal with the whole proccess on a personal level.Richard, you are right to think about it all, its a personal choice which you may find changes over time.
#5
Thanks everyone for replying, much appreciated.
I think that for research it is ok, however I think that I would give the upmost respect for the dead, e.g. in post excavtion analysis.
Regards,
Richard
#6
I think it is better that human remains are removed in a methodical and respectful manner than some developer going through a graveyard with a JCB which in some cases is what the alternative would be.

Lucy
#7
True.... I feel strongly about this... and damned if a JCB... body bag ... skull counting company will dig up bodies if archaeologists will do it with respect. (I have dug up over 400 people and treat each as individuals)

Another day another WSI?
#8
This subject is debated regularly on both BAJR and Britarch and I have to say I disagree with what is being said.

New guidelines have been published by the CofE and English Heritage earliet this year. Reading this comprehensive review of the situation is the first step.

In short - is it OK to excavate burials for research - rareley and only with some specific in mind.

Is it better that "human remains are removed in a methodical and respectful manner than some developer going through a graveyard with a JCB". This is actually a difficult question. Current thinking is that it is not worth while monitoring for example the insertion of shallow service trenches through grave yards.

Similarly if we are going to have to remove all human remains from a graveyard before it is disturbed how small to the bones have to be. 0.00001,.0001,0.001,0.01, .1 or 1m before they are disregarded.

The issues are complex.

Peter


#9
Quote:quote:Originally posted by drpeterwardle


In short - is it OK to excavate burials for research - rareley and only with some specific in mind.

Is it better that "human remains are removed in a methodical and respectful manner than some developer going through a graveyard with a JCB". This is actually a difficult question. Current thinking is that it is not worth while monitoring for example the insertion of shallow service trenches through grave yards.

Similarly if we are going to have to remove all human remains from a graveyard before it is disturbed how small to the bones have to be. 0.00001,.0001,0.001,0.01, .1 or 1m before they are disregarded.

The issues are complex.
While I agree that the issues are complex, I have to say that I disagree with your basic premise regarding research. I would say that it is OK as long as you have clearly defined research goals. Much like Deepdigger's comment that there is nothing more to learn from human burials, it misses the point. There is still a lot to be learnt from excavation of cemeteries, not necessarily on the individual level but certainly on the group level. All you need to do is look at regional research agendas to see how little we really know about anything.

With regard to your second point, it fails to address the issue of the wholesale removal of recently disused cemeteries in places like London by chaps with JCBs. I might be inclined to agree with your example but it is somewhat disingenuous to give an example like this as if it answers the question.

IMO the answer to the third point is that standard sampling techniques to recover the small bones should be used and that standard excavation techniques should be used to recover the rest. Personally, I see the question as more of a non-question because the commercial reality of the work will ensure that there will be limitations on the level of recording that can be done. BUT, it is still more respectful than hoiking them out of the ground with a JCB.

Regards,
Eggbasket

Preternatural eventuation is an amaranthine potentiality
#10
To clarify the two points.

To excavate in situ articulated burials with a machine is not the correct treatment. The BAJR code prevents me from commenting on the well known London example.

As for the second point what size bone do you remove. Again about to fall through fowl of the BAJR code. The realities of excavating a churchyard say are that there has been continual burial and reburial resulting in a lot of disrticulated bone. To remove all bone less than 10mm across means requiring huge quantities of soil to be removed. Should this be specified.

Peter


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