Wednesday, February 9, 2011

Reburying the dead

[Via BLDGBLOG]  The British government has given their archaeologists a very difficult condition to work with: all human remains must be reburied within 2 years of being excavated:

The dispute centres on legislation introduced by the Ministry of Justice in 2008 which requires all human remains excavated at digs in England and Wales to be reburied within two years, regardless of their age. The decision, which amounts to a reinterpretation of law previously administered by the Home Office, means scientists have too little time to study bones and other human remains of national and cultural significance, the academics say.

The ruling applies to any pieces of bone uncovered at around 400 dig sites, including the remains of 60 or so bodies found at Stonehenge in 2008 that date back to 3,000BC. Archaeologists have been granted a temporary extension to give them more time, but ultimately the bones will have to be returned to the ground.

[from The Guardian]

No doubt the government has reasons for this imposition that they aren’t prepared to reveal!  Is it that they want to restrict how long the scientists may study these early remains so that they cannot learn some shocking truth (such as that they are really white apes)?  Or is it that the bodies must be returned to the earth to prevent something from happening?  Or even that someone with influence over the government requires the bodies to return to Stonehenge soon so that some ritual may be completed?

And the law covers all digs in England and Wales, but not Scotland.  What’s going on there – are they trying to encourage more activity in the north?  Could there be something that someone wants uncovered that isn’t getting sufficient attention?

Another thought occurs to me, it would be an interesting purpose in life for a priestly character in a fantasy game not just to be a foe of the undead, but to give these misused corpses a proper burial.

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