Thursday, June 14, 2007

What do we mean by "respect"?

The text of the talk I gave at the APT conference (26 May 2007: Gods and Sacred Places) is up at my other blog.

What does "respect" mean? A discussion of responses to the reburial question
Yvonne Aburrow

Not all Pagans feel strongly that ancient human remains should be reburied. Yet those who do not feel that way do not lack respect for their ancestors, they just show that respect differently. This paper will examine what different groups mean by respect, and look at the discourses from which these meanings emerge; on the one hand, a 'timeless' and holistic concept of landscape and a view of archaeologists as rationalist scientists, and on the other, a sense of landscape as a historical construct, and of archaeologists as restoring connections with our ancestors, and a range of positions in between. Further, it will suggest a selection of possible compromises on the treatment of human remains.

  • What happens to the body and consciousness after death?
  • What is the ontological status of human remains?
  • How did Ancient Britons treat their dead?
  • Whose ancestors?
  • Respect as reburial - the 'holistic' / animist discourse
  • Respect as remembering - the 'memory' discourse
  • The Hávamál and the Popol Vuh
  • The discourse of scientific materialism
  • Implications for ancient human remains
  • Compromise options

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