I was going to do my awards today but something is on my mind?
I have spent the morning watching Discovery Channel. Now I am fascinated by ancient history I never questioned the value of excavations of ancient sites in order that we could learn more about how our ancestors lived and died.
But this morning for some reason it is bugging me. While the people concerned my have no knowledge of their lineage the chances are the people who archeologists pull out of the ground have living ancestors somewhere. And even if their bloodline died out is it still okay?
If somone went into our local graveyard and started digging up bodies buried twenty years ago we would scream in protest we would be horrified yet when it is done to bodies buried two thousand years ago we are fascinated. I count myself as guilty in this I just never stopped to questions it before. In my parents local churchyard they have been moving graves a couple of hundred years old. Now in part it was a result of subsidence there the ground had dropped as coffins had decomposed. While this may have created safety issues it would have been easy fill the holes and replace the headstones yet some either lost their headstones or were reinterred in different parts of the churchyard.
So as the title asks how long does someone need to be dead before we stop respecting them as a person and they become a specimen?
While there is no doubt over the years we have learnt so much about the past not only from actual bodies but also the grave goods buried with them but how much more can we learn. Even with new technology we reach a point where all new information only confirms what was already known or leads to further speculation.
I cannot say I have a fixed opinion on this at the minute. Maybe it is time unless there is some pressing reason for investigating a particular body we should stick to excavating the buildings and leave those who have passed before to rest in peace no matter how old their graves.
What do you think?