"It is not about claims for reburial or repatriation," said Emma Restall Orr, of Honouring the Ancient Dead, which recognises the value of some research. "We are talking to them to see what is possible rather than standing up with banners." Her group recognises that information from scientific work can be valuable, but she wants to see bones with the least potential for study returned.I think there is a case for reviewing human remains held by museums, and perhaps improving some displays. The archaeological value of these remains should be paramount, however, in any negotiations, because many Pagans are very interested in archaeology, in the stories of the ancient dead, and much of modern Pagan practice (especially reconstructionists) is informed by archaeological insights into the past - even if only indirectly in the form of raised awareness that our ancestors were not "primitive". Indeed, Davies' claim that "Any story that is reconstructed from that data will be an imagined past, which usually turns out to be a blueprint of the present imposed upon the past," is pretty rich coming from him, a past-master at imposing his own blueprint of the present on the past (see a 1998 article written by him for a sample).
Monday, February 12, 2007
the storm breaks...
Interesting post at archaeology blog Cronaca about the British reburial issue, commenting on the recent Guardian article about it. At least the Guardian article also mentioned the more moderate response by Honouring the Ancient Dead to the issue, and quoted Emma Restall-Orr: