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Pele
Pele

the henna lady
Location: WNY, USA
Member Since: 15th Dec 2000
Total posts: 6193
Posted:This has sparked my thoughts this morning.

I love archeology for finding stuff like this, for uncovering history, and peoples and cultures.

I hate archeology for disturbing graves and essentially grave robbing.

I am extremely split on the entire topic. I always have been. Sometimes I see the entire thing as no better than any money grubbing grave robber in history.

But then sometimes something turns up..like Pompeii or this..and I appreciate it, until they start talking about testing them for this and that, then I get a bit grrrr about it again.

Any thoughts?


Pele
Higher, higher burning fire...making music like a choir
"Oooh look! A pub!" -exclaimed after recovering from a stupid fall
"And for the decadence of art, nothing beats a roaring fire." -TMK

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fNi
fNi

master of disaster
Location: New York
Member Since: 8th Mar 2004
Total posts: 3354
Posted:well by nature archaeology is destructive. that's just the way it is. but to call it grave robbing is a slight against the field. an interesting read is "The Medici Conspiracy" which details how grave goods were illegally taken out of the ground and moved to museums around the world.



oh and to test for age requires bone measuring, and as for how long they've been down there, not sure how they'd do it



-*waits for others to chime in*


kyrian: I've felt your finger connect with me many times
lou kitten: sneaky little meatball..
ezz: please corrupt me more

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Durbs
Durbs

Classically British
Location: Epsom, Surrey, England
Member Since: 23rd Sep 2001
Total posts: 5688
Posted:I can't say I've ever considered it grave robbing, which to my mind conjures images of pilfering tombs for personal gain or disturbing graves for body parts...



Religions , with regards to burial rites, change throughout the ages... Personally I don't see any moral issue with disturbing a grave from 1000s of years ago. Chances are that their religion is dead/dramatically changed so no-one is around to be morally outraged at the percieved desecration. But this is speaking as an atheist who sees that physical death leads to nothing but good compost.



Obvisouly this viewpoint raises the issue of whether there's a timeline at which stage disenterrment becomes "ok". For example the Inca culture is very recent, having finished only around 500 years ago. Yet it's such a mystery that archaeology is the only option of discovering more about them (having no written records and very little in hyroglyphs or illustrated documents).



I really don't see how discovering a couple of bodies embracing 5000 years after they died is contentious. If they had souls, they'd probably be more outraged at the city that'd been built over them (in Rome for example).


Burner of Toast
Spinner of poi
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jeff(fake)
jeff(fake)

Scientist of Fortune
Location: Edinburgh
Member Since: 15th Apr 2005
Total posts: 1189
Posted:I see no reason to object to anything they've done or plan to do in this article.

According to Heisenberg's Uncertainty Principle of Quantum Dynamics, we may already be making love right now...

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MikefromGlos
MikefromGlos

Hitman
Location: Gloucester England
Member Since: 10th Jul 2006
Total posts: 985
Posted:well coming from a history student who wants to be archelogist my view is going to be slightly biased but to be honest i would feel specail if i knew my grave was being dug up so that we can remember as it where what was going on before us and not make the same mistake again. Prehaps its just me but isnt that what life is about learning!!!

he he i am mike the amazing gloscircus person who is mike.

Officaly an exception to the Poi Boys are Girls Thing

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Durbs
Durbs

Classically British
Location: Epsom, Surrey, England
Member Since: 23rd Sep 2001
Total posts: 5688
Posted:learning and playing with fire - yes wink

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Pele
Pele

the henna lady
Location: WNY, USA
Member Since: 15th Dec 2000
Total posts: 6193
Posted: Written by: Durbs


I can't say I've ever considered it grave robbing, which to my mind conjures images of pilfering tombs for personal gain or disturbing graves for body parts...

Religions , with regards to burial rites, change throughout the ages... Personally I don't see any moral issue with disturbing a grave from 1000s of years ago. Chances are that their religion is dead/dramatically changed so no-one is around to be morally outraged at the percieved desecration. But this is speaking as an atheist who sees that physical death leads to nothing but good compost.

Obvisouly this viewpoint raises the issue of whether there's a timeline at which stage disenterrment becomes "ok". For example the Inca culture is very recent, having finished only around 500 years ago. Yet it's such a mystery that archaeology is the only option of discovering more about them (having no written records and very little in hyroglyphs or illustrated documents).

I really don't see how discovering a couple of bodies embracing 5000 years after they died is contentious. If they had souls, they'd probably be more outraged at the city that'd been built over them (in Rome for example).




But then there are ones that we *do*, in fact, know about. I doubt highly that an ancient pharoah would be happy to find his belongings that were to remain buried with him, to be scattered to museums around the globe, along with his own mummy.

Pieces of pottery or homes, etc, I have no problem with.
Going into tombs and disturbing it, especially for cultures where we do know the death rites were a large part of it, I have a problem with.

I say just burn me the old fashioned way...on a raft and wave goodbye. wink


Pele
Higher, higher burning fire...making music like a choir
"Oooh look! A pub!" -exclaimed after recovering from a stupid fall
"And for the decadence of art, nothing beats a roaring fire." -TMK

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MikefromGlos
MikefromGlos

Hitman
Location: Gloucester England
Member Since: 10th Jul 2006
Total posts: 985
Posted:but had they knowen what we know today wouldnt they be doing the same

he he i am mike the amazing gloscircus person who is mike.

Officaly an exception to the Poi Boys are Girls Thing

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fNi
fNi

master of disaster
Location: New York
Member Since: 8th Mar 2004
Total posts: 3354
Posted: Written by: Pele



But then there are ones that we *do*, in fact, know about. I doubt highly that an ancient pharoah would be happy to find his belongings that were to remain buried with him, to be scattered to museums around the globe, along with his own mummy.





Most of which were robbed my grave vandals several years after they were put up. Which is why pharaohs stopped building pyramids which were essentially saying "Come, loot me". You're view isn't addressing modern archaeology, because otherwise the relics would not be leaving the country. In a proper dig everything is recorded and cataloged and I know that Egypt has some of the strictest antiquities laws in the world. What you seem to be talking about is from the turn of the century to pre-WWII, when archaeology was in the hands of the wealthy who could afford to excavate.



<sorry if its a bit incoherent, it is 6am after all tongue>


kyrian: I've felt your finger connect with me many times
lou kitten: sneaky little meatball..
ezz: please corrupt me more

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MikefromGlos
MikefromGlos

Hitman
Location: Gloucester England
Member Since: 10th Jul 2006
Total posts: 985
Posted:lol.... ahhh but what you got to remember is that before the 20th centary people didnt even know what it was so you got to give humans a chance to borden there horizans

he he i am mike the amazing gloscircus person who is mike.

Officaly an exception to the Poi Boys are Girls Thing

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Mynci
Mynci

Macaque of all trades
Location: wombling free...
Member Since: 27th Apr 2005
Total posts: 8737
Posted:looking at it, I reckon they may not have even been "buried"...

That long ago I reckon they could have died from the cold possibly a snow storm... hugging for warmth...



I don't have a problem with Archeology personally I find it fascinating, and agree with fNi about how now Archeology is a leanring experience and not a grave robbing financial gain.


A couple of balls short of a full cascade... or maybe a few cards short of a deck... we'll see how this all fans out.

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BrokenLeaves
member

Member Since: 26th May 2006
Total posts: 48
Posted:My veiw is generally if a grave has been there long enough for noone to care about it anymore then I fail to see the problem. I am against digging up modern graveyards for supermarkets ect...but....once your dead..well..you are dead. You wont care if someone disturbs your grave, you won't even know and as long as there is noone left to get upset about it I don't think we should miss out on learning things becuase someone who died hundreds of years ago is buried there.

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Spanner
Spanner

remembers when it was all fields round here
Location: in the works... somewhere...
Member Since: 27th Feb 2003
Total posts: 2790
Posted: Written by: Pele


I love archeology for finding stuff like this, for uncovering history, and peoples and cultures.

I hate archeology for disturbing graves and essentially grave robbing.



That sums up my own opinion well. I don't think that purposefully disturbing graves or robbing them are right, no matter how old they are.

My opinion has probably been formed from work experience in a county council archaeloogy department, with the emphasis on identifying and scheduling ancient monuments for their protection. This was in Wiltshire, where I saw the effects of burial mounds being used for driving tanks over during training on Salisbury Plain frown

I've never learned anything more from seeing mummies or grave artefacts than I would have done from seeing images of them, espeically as I can't focus on their significance because being out of their intended context distracts me, so I think they might as well be photographed and covered up again.

I wonder if the perceived lack of foresight could tell us something about previous civilisations and also ours. Despite how comparatively brutal some eras of mankind have been, maybe it was unthinkable in some cultures that anyone would be disrespectful enough to interfere with the final resting places of the dead.

Relatives from my mum's side of the family who have passed on have usually been cremated and I'd like to go the same way. It may be upsetting for others in the short term but, with hindsight, easier for them in the long term than having a Tescos built over me.

(Plus, if I am buried, I will haunt those responsible biggrin )


"I thought you are man, but
you are nice woman.

yay,

:R"

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Durbs
Durbs

Classically British
Location: Epsom, Surrey, England
Member Since: 23rd Sep 2001
Total posts: 5688
Posted: Written by: Pele


But then there are ones that we *do*, in fact, know about. I doubt highly that an ancient pharoah would be happy to find his belongings that were to remain buried with him, to be scattered to museums around the globe, along with his own mummy.

Pieces of pottery or homes, etc, I have no problem with.
Going into tombs and disturbing it, especially for cultures where we do know the death rites were a large part of it, I have a problem with.




a) The pharoah's dead...he's not going to mind that much. Unless the Egyptians got it right (about the afterlife), in which case 1000's of years worth of dead people must really be clogging up the netherworld.

b) Often it's only in the tombs where you find alot of the pieces of pottery (and infact models of homes continuing with the Egypt theme) - and especially the more dazzling piece of craftmanship. Some of the Saxon goldwork is jaw-dropping, but we only know how good they were at it because they left the best pieces with their kings/queens in the tombs.


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faith enfire
faith enfire

wandering thru the woods of WI
Location: Wisconsin
Member Since: 27th Jan 2006
Total posts: 3556
Posted:one problem with studying the pottery and such is that with limited knowledge of a community that jar that looks inconspicuous may in fact have religious significance, as an urn or symbolic soul of the household
imo you can't have it both ways leave the grave but other stuff is ok


Faith
Nay, whatever comes one hour was sunlit and the most high gods may not make boast of any better thing than to have watched that hour as it passed

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fNi
fNi

master of disaster
Location: New York
Member Since: 8th Mar 2004
Total posts: 3354
Posted:pele, as far as the US goes, there's legislation called NAGPRA (native american grave repatriation act) which if a tribe claims the bones as those of an ancestor, the (native american) nation then has the choice as to what to do with them. I worked with NAGPRA bones in one of my classes (on osteology) and the tribe actually wanted us to count them, handle them, because all they were were burnt bones.

kyrian: I've felt your finger connect with me many times
lou kitten: sneaky little meatball..
ezz: please corrupt me more

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Cdawg
newbie

Member Since: 22nd Sep 2006
Total posts: 4
Posted:I would like to commend fNi on his excellent wikipedia work. He does touch lightly on certain relevant points. However he is clearly a student and as well all know, students dont know [censored] about reality wink . As a professional having spent nearly a third of my life in the field, I can tell you that graverobbing an aspect of the job, its a perk!. fNI seems like the kind of guy who wears a rock necklace and thinks he knows the reality of our profession. Most of us are dirt poor, digging through, dirt and excrement for that next fragment. Professionals pocket trophies all the time. For those of us lucky enough to have a home to come back to, you'll find plenty of little trophies that we havent let slip into some collector's posession for some extra pocket money. Don't be fooled, we're as thieving a bunch as a pack of gypsies and damned proud of it. Whine all you like. Dead people pay the bills biggrin

Hugs
-C


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