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Actually, it’s kind of an interesting question…is there some point at which your body becomes “public domain”, so to speak? Is there an inherent moral code or principal that would prevent grave-digging? Or is it primarily to avoid any sort of robbery (which apparently if everything goes into a museum it’s not robbery any more, eh)?
I tend to feel that archeological interest justifies the search for ancient graves, but at the same time is it not intensely disrespectful? And what about their religion? What if they were right and our grave robbing is ruining their eternal soul?
I think there was some controversy a while back when the Egyptian government demanded that the British Museum return some mummies that had been removed without permission in the 30s.
And yeah it’s not ‘perfectly legal’, I’d imagine you have to get a permit and log everything you remove from the tombs etc. It’s legal to dig up a grave in Britain with a permit as well, if there’s some doubt over how the person died. But just heaving in with a shovel and digging up a dead body is just as illegal in Egypt as it is here.
I guess the interest and value of the relics they were buried with outweighs the concern over their right to rest in peace.
I think the reason for it is ethnocentrism. They didn’t live the same way as us, therefore they are lesser beings. We can do what we want to them. Its the same thing that causes wars and discrimination. If they’re not like us, they aren’t equals.
> I think the reason for it is ethnocentrism. They didn’t live the same way as us, therefore they are lesser beings. We can do what we want to them. Its the same thing that causes wars and discrimination. If they’re not like us, they aren’t equals.
I dunno. Haven’t we exhumed people of our own culture to study them with new techniques? I guess the difference is that we eventually put them back.
The reason behind it is different though isn’t it? Isn’t that usually done to confirm a cause of death? To care so much about them that we’d want to ensure we’ve made the right assumptions and told the right story seems to be giving them more respect. Like you said, we also put them back. The archaeologists take the bones from the ground and study them, put them in museums and such.
Has anyone considered the obvious fact that not only is the Pharoah dead, but all his family and friends are long gone, so no one really remains to be offended by digging him up. Except us, who are making objective observations based on how we THINK we would feel NOW about people digging up our remains, and are not personal friends or defenders of king Tut (or any other old mummy)
This is a famous controversy. I read a boring research essay for English and it was about Native Americans’ graves being dug up. Although it can be beneficial to social studies, it is not respectful to the Native Americans. I’m in the neutral for this because archaeology is not my forte, sleeping is :)
actually you have to have an archaeology permit and it has to be approved, so if they approve it they are LETTING you dig up their ancestors graves. its digging them up with out a permit or permission that its illegal.
I dug up a Native American burial ground before. It was purely for research though, and we even did a traditional ritual that fends of the spirits, and helps them be at peace. I don’t really believe in all that stuff, but come on, those guys at least deserved some respect.