Thursday, 23 July 2009

Who does PfA represent?

There is a spectrum of views about archaeology and human remains among Pagans. Paganisms are not dogmatic, so individual Pagans are free to make up their own minds about issues. It is possible to generalise about some Pagan beliefs, but even then one can only safely say, "Most Pagans believe..." (and Pagans are uncomfortable with the word "belief" as it implies dogmatism and an unwillingness to change one's mind in the face of new evidence).

Pagans for Archaeology is a group of people who have signed up to this statement. Whatever I write that is additional to that statement can only be taken as my personal view; it does not represent the views of all members, and certainly not all Pagans. In practice, I find that most members of PfA, and many other Pagans, do agree with the stuff I write; but that cannot be taken for granted unless they have explicitly assented to it.

That is why, when I am asked for the views of Pagans for Archaeology on a particular topic, I write to the members to ask them for their views on it; and when there is a consultation on an archaeological matter, I inform members so that they can respond to it personally.

The other parts of the spectrum are represented by HAD and CoBDO.

CoBDO want all remains reburied after they have been studied.

HAD is an attempt to build a consensus around the issue of human remains. Many of its members want reburial, but they are about compromise and negotiation, and want to be able to perform ritual around the disinterment and re-interment of remains, and to be consulted about museum displays of remains.

Pagans for Archaeology is opposed to reburial (this opposition was part of the statement signed up to by members) but many of its members want to see better displays in museums.

The other aim in setting up PfA was to make links with archaeologists and heritage and help them understand that not all Pagans want reburial and there is a spectrum of opinion, of which CoBDO is definitely not representative.


Bo said...

Hear, hear.

Lee said...

hear, hear, hear.

Gill Smith said...

I'm a research archaeologist and I totally disagree . Human remains should be reburied with respect .