RESPECT YOUR ANCESTORS AND THEIR REMAINS. ARCHAEOLOGISTS, NEOPAGANS AND THE 'REBURIAL ISSUE' IN ACTION IN BRITAIN (Szanuj swych przodków... Archeolodzy ... wobec..obchodzenia sie ze szczatkami zmarlych...'reburial issue' w W. Brytanii)
In this paper the author examines a recent debate about 'reburial issue' in Britain. Reburial and repatriation debates have been a central issue for archaeologists and anthropologists in the USA in the last decades. Within the United Kingdom pressures for these issues have mainly arisen from Pagan communities. Pagans interested in sacred sites and ancestor welfare have been increasingly campaigning for the reburial of pagan human remains held in museum and university collections, and express concern for welfare of excavated remains. Their claims, however, are met with suspicion and often rejected by professional archaeologists and heritage managers. Having placed these issues in the context of postmodern condition of contemporary world, the author specifically focuses on tensions between pagan communities vis-a-vis professional archaeologists and heritage managers, comparing the different and often contradictory discourses. Specifically, he considers how conservation and academic views and pagan views differ and about how human remains are excavated and curated. It is suggested that respectful treatment of human remains as voiced by Pagans can only be ensured through proper consultation with all interested parties at all stages of excavation, within the museum, and when contemplating and carrying out reburials. Finally, it is argued that archaeology must not reject Pagan interpretations as fringe, but, in era of community archaeology and collaboration, respond to them dialogically.
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