Friday, 19 June 2015

#PeaceforFriedrichBrandt and the debate on displaying human remains

The remains of a soldier, widely believed to be 23-year-old hunchback, Private Friedrich Brandt from Hanover, Germany, have been the centre of debate amongst historians lately.

The skeleton of the man who died during the Battle of Waterloo 200 years ago is currently on display in a Belgium museum as part of a commemorative exhibition after having been found under a car park near the battlefield in 2012.

Campaigners, including many military historians and archaeologists, are calling for the remains to be reinterred with the “dignity and respect [of a] proper burial that has been denied him for so long.” German historian, Rob Schäfer, who has created a Facebook and a page in order to petition and raise awareness about the controversy surrounding Private Brandt’s remains, has stated that: “It is accepted that his remains should be studied for serious archaeological purposes but, after the data has been collected, the man should be allowed to rest in peace, instead of being viewed as a morbid object of curiosity by thousands of paying tourists - particularly when in an enlightened and technologically advanced world it is perfectly possible to laser scan the remains and produce a 3D replica for display.”

Tony Pollard, historian, archaeologist and Editor of Journal of Conflict Archaeology, tweeted: “He was a soldier. He died in battle. He deserves a grave. End of.” Comedian and keen historian, Al Murray, also contributed to the debate by tweeting: “#PeaceforFriedrichBrandt this soldier's bones shouldn't be on display, he should be at rest.”

Those in opposition to this campaign have made reference to the display of Egyptian Mummies and Bog Bodies to support the exhibition of Private Brandt’s remains. The Memorial has defended the exhibit, stating that “ultimately, it seemed to everybody that the greatest homage that could be paid to him was to consider him, with the respect to which he is entitled and that the museum exhibit has sought to ensure.”  

Should the remains of Friedrich Brandt be given a proper burial? Is there a gain to keeping his bones as part of a commemorative exhibition? Let us know your thoughts.

Read more about the human remains in museum collections in these two free articles from Public Archaeology:

Wednesday, 3 June 2015

Guest Post: Speaking up for Archaeology

In this special guest post, Dave Moore, Communications Officer of The Council for British Archaeology discusses the Council's important mission, and explains how you can get involved and receive a special offer for British Archaeology Magazine. 

"The Council for British Archaeology (CBA) has been the independent champion for archaeology in the UK for over 70 years, speaking up for archaeology in public debates and bringing the excitement of the subject to an increasingly large and enthusiastic audience including young people.

In fact it is hard to imagine archaeology in the UK today without the CBA. Since its founding in 1944, the CBA has led the way with ground breaking projects and innovative resources, sharing research, knowledge, and opening up archaeology to new generations and new audiences. Above all, the CBA and its partners have worked tirelessly to represent the interests of everyone who cares about the UK’s rich archaeology heritage and the future of our discipline.

The CBA’s campaigning role is more vital now than ever, with increasing threats to our archaeological heritage from development pressures and the effects of funding cuts on archaeology practice in the UK. Many archaeologists argue that we are at risk of losing all that we have gained over the past 70 years.

You can help us continue our vital programmes to safeguard the UK’s archaeology and provide Archaeology for All next year and in years to come by becoming a member of the CBA. In return our members receive British Archaeology Magazine 6 times per year, plus our regular newsletter and e-news, keeping you up to date with archaeology projects, events and campaigns. As a specialist interest group, we negotiate special offers for our members such as discounts on outdoor gear and archaeology publications. Most importantly, we offer great opportunities to experience archaeology through our networks, local CBA Groups and Young Archaeologists’ Clubs.

Maney subscribers also benefit from an extra copy of British Archaeology Magazine
 in your first year when you join the CBA (that’s 7 copies for the price of 6). To benefit from this special offer, join now online or call the CBA team on 01904 671 417 quoting 'Maney0315'. 

Find out more about how the CBA is supporting Britain’s archaeology at:"