Friday, June 06, 2008

Here we go again

The exhibition of Lindow Man at the Manchester Museum has prompted an article in British Archaeology's Spoilheap column complaining about the way the exhibition was planned, and how it has ended up with hardly any educational content about Iron Age people, or interpretation around the different theories of how and why Lindow Man died; instead the exhibition focuses on the reburial controversy.

The article complains that 12 Pagans were involved in the discussions around the exhibition, because it says Pagans are only a small group. On the other hand, several archaeologists and museum curators were involved, and the article claims that they represent everybody. I'm not sure that they do "represent everybody", as not everyone subscribes to the Enlightenment discourse that they represent. My main complaint is this, however: why weren't Pagans who DON'T want remains reburied consulted? Manchester Museum is aware that we exist (I hope I left them in no doubt about that when I attended the Respect conference there) so why weren't we included?

When I wrote to British Archaeology about this issue in 2004, my letter was edited so that it was not apparent that I am a Wiccan. Thus somewhat negating the point I was trying to make, that not all Pagans agree with Emma Restall-Orr et al, and many, if not most, completely support archaeological and historical understanding and investigation of the past.

Why is my position, which is that of a reasonable Pagan, being ignored by British Archaeology? Is it because representing Pagans as irrational sells more magazines?

I completely disagree with reburying remains, and want them to be available for archaeologists to study, so that the ancestors of all of us can be remembered and memorialised by recovering their stories, to the benefit of everyone who wants their identity rooted in the past.

Besides, surely Pagans have got better things to worry about, like the destruction of wildlife habitats, war, death, famine, environmental degradation, etc?

4 comments:

Bo said...

Yes!! Yes! My feelings exactly.

Yvonne said...

Bo, you really are a splendid chap.

Yvonne said...

Just received an email from Emma of HAD to say that a broad range of Pagan views were represented at the consultation.

Lee said...

standing ovation :)