Almost exactly two years ago (March 2011) HAD was invited to contribute to the APABE consultation on ‘sampling human remains for ancient DNA analysis.
APABE (Advisory Panel on the Archaeology of Burials in England) has now published the resulting report ‘Science and the Dead. A guideline for the destructive sampling of archaeological human remains for scientific analysis‘.
HAD’s response has been comprehensively ignored in the preparation of this document. The only nod to consent is given in the short section on ethics where ‘the requests to the clergy for exhumations of skeletal remains from churchyards for research purposes will also need to be weighed against the Church’s presumption against disturbance of remains.’
We would like to see such a consideration being given to our presumption against similar disturbance of pre-Christian ancestors whose personhood and rights to rest in peace should be equally honoured.