Thread Rating:
  • 0 Vote(s) - 0 Average
  • 1
  • 2
  • 3
  • 4
  • 5
Burial law is threatening archaeological research
#1
http://www.guardian.co.uk/science/2010/o...stonehenge


Oh yes the MoJ continue to muddy the waters... I thought this was all sorted!

Quote:Severe restrictions on scientists' freedom to study bones and skulls from ancient graves are putting archaeological research in Britain at risk, according to experts.
The growing dispute relates to controversial legislation introduced by the Ministry of Justice in 2008, which decreed that all human remains found during digs in Britain must be reburied within two years.

Fer Fecks Sake... get it sorted! I want to see clear guidance... 2 years of course should be plenty of time to get the blddy job done the samples taken the measurements etc... IF you cost for it at the start..! Human remains... get it sorted !
Reply
#2
Have seen a recent licence granted by the Dept of Justice.......states that reburial within two years is expected but can be extended. Also states that the foggy state of current "legislation" is under review. I would argue on a couple of points here:

1. Are the Dept of Justice in a position to dictate what form the "reburial" should take? Whatever the form they determine-it`s likely to be so far removed from the belief systems of the communities that buried the individuals in the first place to be offensive. Most excavation of Human remains (with the exception of university and research excavations) is undertaken only when the remains are under imminent threat through development. As a result-the ground the individuals were interred in will no longer exist. Just where do the men in suits suggest the "reburials" take place?
2. Not all Human remains are subjected to competent professional examination in the first instance. Reburial after such would ultimately result in an incomplete or indeed utterly skewed archive that cannot then be calibrated through re-assessment by competent practitioners. Further research that aims to investigate elements of osteology and palaeopathology not covered by the initial examination would be impossible. New scientific approaches as they come along could not then be applied either. If this is to be the case-then don`t exhume Human remains at all.

The new "legislation" as outlined by the Dept of Justice is simply nonsense. Clearly-the Dept has not consulted with professionals on this matter and it`s high time that they did. Yet another example of shiney assed office workers indulging in grand gestures without engaging the neural pathways.Oh, and by the way, if the Dept are intent upon enforcing these new rules-they can fund the proper examination and subsequent publications relating to the hundreds(if not thousands) of individuals excavated donkeys years ago by emminent archaeologists who have simply left the remains to fester in boxes for decades because they can`t be bothered.:face-stir:
:face-stir:
Reply
#3
I heard a while back that at least one archaeological unit was investigating the possibility of taking over the crypt of a disused church in which to rebury (but in reality store) human remains...Anyone else heard of any moves along these lines....

That said, in response to the piece in the Observer...I thought both archaeologists interviewed missed the opportunity to suggest that in the light of the MoJ interpretation of the law, much greater resources would be needed, given the short time available for the study of the material. Maybe that is one way to concentrate the minds of the legislators i.e suggest that a shortened time span involves greater upfront cost.....
With peace and consolation hath dismist, And calm of mind all passion spent...
Reply
#4
BAJR Wrote:... 2 years of course should be plenty of time to get the blddy job done the samples taken the measurements etc...


2 years? Try getting 10,000 skeletons excavated, assessed and analysed within 2 years!:face-stir:
Reply
#5
That was my point Chiz...if we only have 2 years then huge resources would be required to get the work done in that time...
With peace and consolation hath dismist, And calm of mind all passion spent...
Reply
#6
agreed, plus in my experience (of both small, medium, large and hyper-large assemblages), piling on more processors and osteologists is no more a practicable or desirable method than trying to squeeze ever more diggers onto a site.

A medium scale cemetery /crypt clearance may take several months to excavate all the phases, this is followed by a PX-assessment which must wait for the longest task to be completed before it can be written, and only then can the sample be selected and any analysis carried out with any appropriate scientific tests. It doesn't take long for this to push to two years. This is above and beyond any issues concerning wider regional research aims and archived assemblages being re-assessed or new techniques being applied which is a whole separate can of worms.

BUT, reading the article I can't actually see what actually triggered this article? The current licences allow for longer retention, as did the old ones, so apart from repeat paperwork what is the change? It almost reads to me like a press release from the Stonehenge Project which has led to the journalist pursuing a slight tangent?

And as for objecting to screening burials, I personally believe they should be screened, although visitors should be welcome where possible. Just where do you draw the line on screening? Do you screen a waterlogged burial ground where there is skin and muscle and body liquor floating about? Post med burial sites with surviving hair and skin and fatty deposits? Not all burial sites are nice dry bones.
Reply
#7
chiz Wrote:And as for objecting to screening burials, I personally believe they should be screened, although visitors should be welcome where possible. Just where do you draw the line on screening? Do you screen a waterlogged burial ground where there is skin and muscle and body liquor floating about? Post med burial sites with surviving hair and skin and fatty deposits? Not all burial sites are nice dry bones.

When EH were digging a cemetery at Whitby Abbey a few years back they put up a huge scaffolding viewing gantry for the public...... :0
Reply
#8
They also put up warning signs so the public could choose to view or not and though there were many graves the bone preservation was very poor. The public were more interested in the process and watching the archaeologists at work, but the Have You Found Dracula yet got a bit tedious
Reply
#9
Do you think this could mean an increase in px jobs for osteoarchaeologists?
Reply
#10
Has anyone actually had a license extension turned down? The article seemed based on the worst case scenario, and I haven't heard of anyone having to rebury before they were ready.

Screens are fine for gooey bodies, but I think the public should be allowed to watch the drier ones - surely this is all done for public benefit anyway?
Did a cemetery job internationally a few years ago that had a lot of negative comments when we startedm, we simply weren't wanted and it was thought we were disturing the dead (better us than someone with a grading bucket!) After a big open day we had, everyone was really supportive of having us there.:face-approve:
Reply


Possibly Related Threads...
Thread Author Replies Views Last Post
  Gwynedd Archaeological Trust changes... BAJR 5 5,290 18th March 2016, 02:46 PM
Last Post: GnomeKing
  New Survey on Community Research BAJR 1 2,382 3rd July 2015, 09:12 AM
Last Post: BAJR
  10 best Archaeological Walks in the UK? Joey 12 8,030 12th July 2014, 04:18 PM
Last Post: Dinosaur
  Research Beyond Mitigation and Universities: Maximising the Impact of Community Doug 28 15,474 19th June 2014, 09:39 PM
Last Post: Marc Berger
  Co-Creation, the Public, and the Archaeological Record BAJR 17 10,741 22nd April 2014, 02:17 PM
Last Post: Boxoffrogs
  Landscape Perspectives: new approaches in archaeological survey BAJR 1 3,401 4th April 2014, 06:18 PM
Last Post: BAJR
  Archaeological Research Framework for Wales. BAJR 1 1,984 3rd April 2014, 10:24 AM
Last Post: BAJR
  Archaeological bloggers - blog carnival Martin Locock 5 5,115 6th February 2014, 08:45 PM
Last Post: Doug
  Oriens Roman burial - did she eat mince pies? BAJR 3 2,660 3rd January 2014, 02:33 PM
Last Post: P Prentice
  Review of Research Framework in the Historic Enviroment BAJR 1 1,792 20th December 2013, 12:44 PM
Last Post: BAJR

Forum Jump:


Users browsing this thread: 1 Guest(s)