Posh resurrection men

Charles Cowling


Posted by Charles


The remains of horses and wooden chariots have been unearthed from a Zhou Dynasty tomb in Luoyang, Henan Province, China that dates back almost 3,000-years.

The completed excavation unearthed four horse-and-chariot pits, dating back to as far as 770BC, and the pits have well-preserved evidence of bronze ware and ceramics from the Early Western Zhou dynasty.

Whole article here.

Is it extraordinary in these times that, in the name of archaeology, it’s reckoned perfectly okay to dig up long-dead people interred with all due solemnity according to sacred rites, etc, along with their bits and bobs? Are archaeologists any more than grave robbers with A levels?

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Only recently, some Roman human remains were removed from a field near where I live, so that new houses could be built. I occurred to me at the time what a terrible breach of trust this is with those people – that their rites and rituals would be shown such disrespect, to be cleared away for strangers’ necessities. In the next breath it occurred to me that we also need new houses, and if we dig anywhere at all we are almost certain to disturb something sacred or historically important to our ancestors. Vale, that is the one thing of… Read more »


I draw a different lesson. If history teaches us anything it is that nothing persists. When the culture that created these tombs disappeared so did their significance and what remains is merely loot of one sort or another. Besides, (and this has just struck me) if artefacts, food, animals even servants are entombed together to make provision for the afterlife how long do they have to stay undisturbed to be efficaceous? Did people believe that the afterlife was centred in the tomb? Or that, when the horses throat was slit and the tomb sealed, rider and horse galloped of into… Read more »


If, as appears to be the case here and elsewhere, we consider evidence of ancient religious rites and cultural practices undeserving of our respect and reverence, there seems to be a belief that none of it matters now, and it’s all freely available for us to ransack because it has passed its use-by date. Or possibly because we can’t control our curiosity and there’s no-one with the power to object? Or perhaps we think these antiquated and rather quaint procedures are irrelevant in our more enlightened society, so it’s okay to dig up these artefacts and put them in a… Read more »