Monday, November 20, 2006

respect conference

On Friday I attended the Respect for Ancient British Human Remains: Philosophy and Practice conference at Manchester Museum.

It was very interesting, and I got some new angles on the whole issue, including more insight into what makes archaeologists want to excavate (many of them want to reveal the stories of the downtrodden and marginalised, as I thought) and the range of alternatives being proposed by HAD (Honouring the Ancient Dead), which are very sensible and practical. There was also a fascinating presentation showing ways in which scientific data from bones can be used, and a wonderful paper from Leicester Museums Service on how they involve all the different communities in Leicester, including Pagans, in their projects. Jenny Blain and Robert Wallis presented an excellent paper pointing out the range of views within Paganisms. Emma Restall Orr's paper was very poetic as well as practical. I really enjoyed the paper by Melanie Giles about bog bodies, which included several quotations from Seamus Heaney's poems about them. All in all a most enjoyable and thought-provoking event. I was hoping to get some interviews for my mini-project, but as the only Pagans there were Emma, Robert, and Jenny, all of whom are massively well-informed on the subject, they don't quite fit the profile of interviewee that I am looking for. Also I am thinking about the possibility of only interviewing witches and Wiccans, since the majority of my sample will be in that category.

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