Sunday, December 16, 2007

Graverobbing or Archaeology?

Archaeologists have been digging up the graves of some medieval Scottish bishops. Once again (last time I mentioned it was when they found St Paul's coffin) this raises the question of what the difference is between archaeology and just digging up corpses to put on display.

One of my housemates knows his ancestry back at least that far. Would he be happy if it was his great-great...-grandfather being dug up?

At the time (IIRC), bishops were theoretically meant to be single and celibate, but in practice there was often a system where they could effectively pay for the right to have a mistress and children. So some of these guys might have relatives still alive. Did they give their permission?

Do you think that medieval Scottish bishops would be in favour of having their remains dug out of the ground and examined by scientists for no good reason? I don't.

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