Tuesday, 29 September 2009

Human remains at Stonehenge

The government has issued a response to an e-petition requesting the reburial of remains from the Aubrey Holes at Stonehenge.

Apparently the Ministry of Justice licence for exhuming the bones stipulated that they must be reburied after two years anyway.

Is two years actually long enough for studying human remains? How will the remains be protected from decay once they are returned to the ground? What if better techniques are devised for studying them in the future?

9 comments:

Lee said...

it seems an extension can be applied for if needed.

most heartening to hear that:

The Government recognises that some people have strongly held beliefs with regards to human remains, but believes that these need to be balanced against the legitimate public interest in the scientific study of ancient human remains and the educational and historic value that such remains can provide. The Ministry of Justice is currently reviewing burial law and looking at possible changes in order to reflect contemporary attitudes and sensibilities towards human remains. We expect to consult on any proposals in due course.

Lee said...

i should also have added in to the end of that comment that it would be a fine idea for PFA and other supportive groups to prepare a well thoguht out, well written and well supported statement supporting the continued protocols of allowing excavation, study and in some cases display of human remains.

we can be sure ERO will be knokcing one out and should present a complementary braodside.

Yewtree said...

Do you have time to draft one?

Lee said...

me again!

they got 230 odd signatures for this petition. perhaps getting more than this to undersign the statement from PFA in the upcoming consultation would be easy

Lee said...

yeah i can prepare one. i will have a chat with the human remains officer here at the NHM too and see if she will be willing to contribute.

i will hang on to see what the proposals are from the Govt. first and work from there.

Yewtree said...

Brilliant, thanks Lee!

Snoozepossum said...

All for the idea of an alternative view petition - and we could even have correct spelling and grammar! We could also refrain from the (IMO) sensationalist comparison of excavating and studying prehistoric remains to digging up already perfectly well-documented Popes and Grandmothers.

Manradnemess said...

It is true that an extension to the two years allowed under the Disused Burial Grounds (Ammendment) Act 1981 for the scientific study of excavated human remains can be applied for. What is of greater concern is the effects of the CrossRail Act of July 2008 which sets a limit of only TWO MONTHS before mandatory reinterment or cremation of any bodies discovered in an area of London likely to reveal Neolithic,Iron Age or Anglo-Saxon remains.

Yewtree said...

That is very worrying.