Thursday 7 February 2019

Profiting From Disturbing the Dead: UK Grave Robbers and a Skull Called "Charlie"

This blog does not show skellie-
porn unlike certain auctioneers

There are it seems no bounds to human indecency, Muriel Taylor, the widow of a UK amateur archaeologist/artefact hunter who dug up a load of graves at Welbeck 'Anglo-Saxon ' cemetery, stored human remains in a wardrobe in her home for years and now is selling them off. She's expecting between fifty and eighty thousand quid for a group of objects her husband dug up and kept at home. She says the skull is called "Charlie".

Hanson's has no qualms about shouting it from the rooftops, no doubt posting a full frontal picture of a naked human skull is intended to get people talking about the material and then somebody will set up a crowd-sourcing page so he can get his money and the objects get in a museum. Oh yes, let's talk about it then.

1) Who gave anyone the right to dig up these remains out of curiosity and put them in a cupboard at home? Where is the publication? What documentation is there, and what state is it in? Why were the objects not deposited in a museum right away instead of forming a private collection? Here is a very good argument for a permit system in the UK.

2) But if the body called by Mrs Taylor "Charlie" (why? Who gave anyone that right?) was buried with the Square headed brooch, it was a woman anyway,.

3) If the objects are sold off for fifth to eighty thousand, how much of a cut will the landowner get?

4) Has Muriel Taylor a document from the landowner confirming transfer of title (and under what conditions) that has been deposited with the collection being handled with such gay abandon by Hanson's ? 

5) What ethical code governs the treatment of human remains by the British antiquities trade? Is publishing disrespectful skellie-porn photos of naked ancestral human remains in accordance with that ethical code or a breach of it?

And actually, once the objects and their labels are mixed up by the collector or his wife when she decided to profit from the past by flogging off her dead husband's artefact collection, is the 'project archive of this amateur excavation not now just a few boxes of loose artefacts?

What a disgrace.


Honesty said...

You are a disgrace, any archaeologist with any integrity would know that the skull was part of the excavation and was Not being sold .Williamson's blog and false remarks had no impact apart from nearly breaking up the collection. The excavation is now with scunthorpe museum so yourself and William's will be able to view the excavation , fully archived , with Gordon's book "Teach yourself archaeology " you will both benefit

Paul Barford said...

"Honesty" calls me (and Professor Howard Williams) a disgrace and "lacking integrity" for calling out "Profiting From Disturbing the Dead". How symptomatic that they do not identify themselves more closely. Just "Honesty", whose profile announces they've been on blogger since ... November 2020, but intriguingly has just started a Welbeck Hill blog ( but "there's nothing here" is the only content it has this evening. Hmm.

Frankly, I fail to see that it is me that is disgraced by the fact that "Honesty" cant read, or understand what he or she is reading. Zoom into the picture of the skull in Hanson's auction room (check it out) downloaded from the auctioneer's own twitter feed where the caption says the VENDOR (of the skull) calls it "Charlie" and below says "he" was wearing this square-headed brooch. The tweet is still there for Honesty" to check it out - Ï presume they did check before writing so insultingly...

The skull was very much being sold until we "disgraceful" archaeologists "lacking in integrity" called out the auctioneer for offering such goods, at which point it was removed from the sale (and what happened to these human remains?) and Mr Hanson was forced to publish a correction still visible on his website: "IMPORTANT: Hansons Auctioneers wish to make it clear that no human remains are to be sold from the Anglo Saxon Collection" - but the objects piously deposited with the body were sold. Somebody is profiting from disturbing - and robbing - the dead (and as we saw muddling the finds up).

yet the tweets of Feb 2019 give a version different from what "Honesty"says was the intention:

At least a FLO got the point of what I as saying.

"Honesty"claims that "The excavation is now with scunthorpe museum"
- what does that even mean?

"so yourself and William's [sic] will be able to view the excavation, fully archived, with Gordon's book "Teach yourself archaeology" you will both benefit", who is William, who is Gordon? What "book"did this "Gordon"write that I'd benefit from "seeing"? And how is that in any way an answer to the points raised in the post above?

Honestly, "Honesty", I think you owe me an apology.

Paul Barford said...

Just a reminder, Howard Williams'blog post is here:

"Honesty", it seems, did not send him a comment.

Paul Barford said...

Abby Ruston "The amazing skull and treasure found in a field and being sold for up to £80,000" Grimsby Telegraph 10 FEB 2019

"Amazing" skull being sold... Really, "Honesty".

You owe me an apology.

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