This article has a very interesting discussion of a relatively new mandate in the UK requiring that all excavated human remains be reburied within two years. Apparently, the regulation of archaeology was transferred to the Ministry of Justice in 2008 (the article doesn't say why). The Ministry decided that archaeologists should be subject to a Victorian-era law that covered the excavation of old graveyards during suburban development.
I've written before about my strong views on NAGPRA; I'm not generally opposed to quick reburial for human remains. That said, I fail to see the purpose for this mandate. I may be wrong (please correct me if I am), but I'm not aware that Britian has a significant problem with power differential between those-that-dig and those-that-are-studied. Perhaps most archaeologists are ethnically English, and they're running roughshod over the pasts of the Welsh, Scotts, and Irish, but I've never gotten that impression. So what is the purpose of the law? Have there been any actual complaints from local communities?
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