Burying Science

I would like to bring to your attention a problem that is halting the benefits of medical and anthropological research. It involves the “reburial” movement, which is quite strong in a number of states—for example, California, Oklahoma, and Iowa. A small number of activists, for financial, political, and religious reasons, are insisting that all prehistoric skeletons and artifacts be buried regardless of next-of-kin desires. Reburial in Califomia and several other states is now

E Neiburger
Mar 19, 1989

I would like to bring to your attention a problem that is halting the benefits of medical and anthropological research. It involves the “reburial” movement, which is quite strong in a number of states—for example, California, Oklahoma, and Iowa. A small number of activists, for financial, political, and religious reasons, are insisting that all prehistoric skeletons and artifacts be buried regardless of next-of-kin desires. Reburial in Califomia and several other states is now law, and some scientists studying remains have already been arrested and convicted for doing traditional research involving artifacts and skeletons. An example is the case of California vs. Van Horn.

Active efforts by the scientific community are needed to reverse this misguided antiscientific legislation and protect new discoveries and existing skeletal and artifact collections now in museums and universities, and also to ensure the rights of the direct next-of-kin who prefer study to destruction, of their heritage....

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